Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three Community Transit Drivers Drive 1 Million Miles Accident Free! (and get buses named after them)

I like this program, very cool, and great recognition for the people who make the wheels on transit systems go round and round!

Three Coach Operators Reach Million Mile Mark
Brown, Krause and Majkut honored for accident-free driving

Snohomish County, Wash. – It takes a lot of patience and hard work to drive a million miles without an accident. Doing it in a bus that often is almost as wide as the lanes of many roads, making frequent stops to pick up or let off passengers, is even more difficult. But recently three more Community Transit drivers achieved the feat: Ann Brown, Gary Krause and Pete Majkut. Each met the National Safety Council’s standard of 12½ years without a preventable accident to earn the honor.

Brown has been with Community Transit since March 1996. She has earned numerous commendations from customers, including six for ADA compliance. Talking with other coach operators has helped her succeed, she said.

“You should learn from others’ mistakes,” she said. “I’ve had some excellent mentors from the coach operators here. Keith McMillan and Jimmy Walker were excellent mentors.”

Brown mostly drives Routes 221 and 222 in Marysville, where she also lives.

“I get a bunch of kids from the neighborhood; I recognize them, but they don’t recognize me,” she said.

Krause joined Community Transit in August 1990 and has earned many commendations, including for driving during the World Trade Organization riots in downtown Seattle. He has received numerous thank-you letters, letters of commendation and appreciation during his career here. He jokes about how long it took him to reach the million mile mark.

“About eight years ago I figured it was possible, so I started to work at it,” he said.

Krause, of Everett, spends time talking with other drivers and thinking about situations he may encounter on the road, and how he would respond.

“It takes conditioned response to handle some things, so I practice in my mind and it becomes automatic,” he said. “I’ve got it in my head; nothing should be a surprise.”

Krause started driving for Community Transit in December 1995. He also has received numerous commendations.

Majkut, who splits his time between Everett and Concrete, uses the phrase “All Good Kids Like Milk” to remind him how to drive safely:

Aim high
Get the big picture
Keep your head and eyes moving
Leave yourself an out
Make sure they see you
Take the first letter of each bullet point, and they correspond to Majkut’s phrase.

“I’m always checking my mirrors three times,” he says.

It’s safety tips like that which have helped Brown, Krause and Majkut make it the equivalent of two round trips to the Moon without a preventable accident.

For reaching the million mile mark, each driver has a bus named for them. They also receive a special Million Mile Driver jacket and patches for their uniforms.

Since starting its program in 2001, more than 100 Community Transit coach operators have met the National Safety Council’s standard as Million Mile Drivers.

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