GENERAL VALLEY NEWS
This Man Is One Great Bus Driver
King County's Metro Transit Honors James Turner
August 18, 2017
(SEATTLE, WA.) -- We should all be so lucky to have people talk about us the way James Turner's bus riders talk about him. Metro transit has announced that James Turner has been named Transit Operator of the Year.
James Turner accepting his award at surprise ceremony Thursday Aug. 18. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Chosen for this honor by his peers, Turner represents the best of Metro’s 2,800 bus drivers who carry nearly 122 million riders each year.
At a surprise ceremony Thursday, Metro officials, Turner’s fellow bus drivers and his family shared stories of his kindness and kudos from riders spanning 35 years.
As he was praised for the thoughtful and considerate way he treats riders, Turner, 70, shared the same smile that many riders say brighten their day. Turner currently drives electric trolley bus Routes 2 and 12 through downtown Seattle.
Take a listen to what some of his riders say about him:
· “This gentleman is very gracious and expedient. His warm smile makes it a pleasure to ride this route. Please commend him for being a wonderful sage.”
· “He is friendly, polite, helpful and a credit to all of the drivers out there – is a master of Rt. 12 – the finicky electric trolley bus wire.”
· He is “always friendly, kind, patient, and efficient. A cheerful face and ‘good morning’ to make the start of the work day a little more pleasant.”
· He “is the most incredible driver” and “remembers his passengers, knows the route well, is very courteous, nice, and makes the ride enjoyable with his personality.”
· “This guy is a great driver. I walk 10 blocks each morning in hopes of getting him at the beginning of his run. He is always kind, courteous, and helpful. Makes all the difference in the world.”
· “I had one or two bags of groceries in my shopping cart.” The driver helped me with them “quick as a wink. I thought this was a great effort on his part.”
· “He is always courteous and professional. He is ever alert with a sense of mission.”
Mr. Turner was hired as a part-time transit operator in August 1982 and became a full-time driver in May 1986. He earned a 28-year safe driving award, received 29 commendations and was named operator of the month in June 2016, August 2007 and July 1992.
He was born in Shreveport, La., and moved to Seattle. He attended Horace Mann Elementary and Washington Junior High. He graduated from Garfield High School in 1965 where he played football and baseball. Turner attended Seattle Community College, Seattle University and University of Washington.
Turner’s advice for other operators is to “love what you do and do what you love. Life is short.”
“Like all our Metro operators, James takes public service seriously. But he goes a little bit farther, creating a community space on his bus that is friendly, inclusive, and relaxing. He shares his dedication to helping people get around the region with his family – eight relatives including his sister, son and daughter drive for Metro," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“Throughout his 35-year career, we’ve heard time and again how James respects the needs of riders of all ages and backgrounds. He is a shining example of the best customer service that Metro provides and we’re proud to honor him as Metro’s Top Driver and our Transit Operator of the Year," said Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon.
About the award
Since 1979, the Metro Transit operators have selected the best of their peers to hold the title of Metro Transit’s Operator of the Year. They are rated on excellence in safety, customer service, and service to their fellow operators. In order to receive the award, a driver must first be chosen Operator of the Month from one of the seven transit bases. At the end of the year, the Operator of the Year is selected by a vote of all fellow Operators of the Month. The annual ceremony is usually held the following summer.