What Can Bus Operators Teach Us? - TransitCenter

What Can Bus Operators Teach Us?

Click here to read a transcript of the event.

The job of a bus operator is demanding. While getting a bus from Point A to Point B safely and on-schedule is their primary focus, their responsibilities extend beyond what the job title suggests. Operators answer questions from passengers, assist with fare payment, and respond to emergencies and passenger issues that may arise during their run. They possess a wealth of knowledge about transit operations that agencies should pay close attention to. Bus operators’ day-to-day interactions with the riders and communities that their buses serve give them a unique perspective on transit service and how it is (or isn’t) meeting people’s needs.

What could agencies learn by listening to their bus operators? What don’t riders know about the difficulties of being an operator? And amidst nationwide transit operator shortages, what can agencies do to improve job quality and ensure that operators stay on the job? What can agencies do to better provide operators the opportunity to advance through the ranks? This panel will seek to answer these questions and recognize transit’s unsung heroes.


Dawn Distler, Executive Director at Akron Metro RTA

Keisha Farrell, Inreach Coordinator at Maryland Transit Administration

J.P. Patafio, Vice President at Transit Workers Union Local 100

Nathan Vass, author of The Lines that Make Us and bus operator at King County Metro


Chris Van Eyken, Senior Program Associate at TransitCenter

Event is free and open to the public. CART services will be present at the event.

Must RSVP to attend. An RSVP does not guarantee a seat.

Doors are at 6pm. The program begins at 6:30pm. We kindly request that you arrive no earlier than 6pm.

Light appetizers to be served.