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Public Transit Worker Appreciation Day: Saying Thanks

Public transportation agencies across North America invited their passengers to say thanks to their operators March 18 for Transit Worker (or Driver) Appreciation Day, including the Central Ohio Transit Authority in ­Columbus, Salem-Keizer Transit in Salem, OR, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in St. Petersburg, FL, Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority and IndyGo in Indianapolis.

Participating agencies invited their riders to compliment their operators while boarding or departing, wave or shake their hands, send tweets acknowledging their efforts or maybe give them a thank-you note. Some agencies provided printable cards on their websites and asked customers to post selfies of themselves with operators on Facebook.

A few agencies went a step farther, including:

In Tampa, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority invited customers to join system employees for a free lunch or dinner at its operations facility.

Knoxville (TN) Area Transit showcased more than 20 of its operators in a photography exhibit hosted by Mayor Madeline Rogero at the Knoxville Station Transit Center.

BC Transit, Victoria, BC, provided free coffee to all its operators.

The Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (Mountain Line) in Flagstaff delivered food to its offices and major transit hub and gave movie tickets to all drivers.

However, the celebration is not an organized effort. It began as a grassroots activity in 2009 in Seattle and Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) picked up on the day in 2012.

The Facebook page for “Transit Driver Appreciation Day” includes downloadable art that riders could give their operators and notices of congratulations and thanks from both riders and operators.

One driver posted this comment: “I love to provide a safe ride, try as hard as I can to be on time, and get you to where you need to go as comfortable as possible. We are more than bus drivers. We are counselors, GPS’s, mediators, negotiators, homeless providers, ambulance drivers, life savers, school bus drivers, and so much more. … Our job is far from easy. We try, and we are public servants trying our best to provide a good service. Thank you all for the appreciation!”

Another comment stated: “Thank you to all of our operators who keep the people moving and thank you to all the support personnel that keep the buses rolling, whether it be the mechanics that ensure they are in safe working order, the fuelers that keep them ready, the cleaners that make them a pleasure to ride or the people that keep our facilities clean. I appreciate all of you today and every day.”

Public transit enthusiasts chose March 18 to recognize bus and rail operators because, according to history, the first-ever (horse-drawn) bus service in the world began on March 18, 1662, in Paris.

More information is available here.


Examples of printable cards that public transit riders could give their operators on Transit Worker Appreciation Day.

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