While March 18th is 'Transit Operator and Worker Appreciation Day', it's important to recognize all the hard-working souls who keep public transit running year-round, and especially during the holiday season. In fact, many transit operators fill their hearts, and even their buses, with the spirit of the season.
Transit operators have, and contribute to, the holiday spirit
In speaking with a few of TripSpark's transit partners, I can assure you that the season's spirit is alive and well this year! Barrie Transit hosted a 'Santa Tour', with Santa riding all through the city in an antique fire truck. Following closely behind Santa, was a holiday-themed wrapped Barrie Transit bus, that doubled as a warming station for Santa and his helpers. The tour was enabled by Barrie Transit's passenger information technology, MyRide. A “Santa Tracker” was created, to track Santa's whereabouts on a mobile map, throughout every stage of his tour.
Laketran, the transit agency that serves Lake County, Ohio (northeast of Cleveland), has Santa driving their holiday bus each year. Douglas Hazen (aka Santa) suits up as Saint Nick every year — and he's just one of several driver volunteers who play the part and deliver presents to families in need. Douglas wears his Santa part well, and he loves spreading holiday cheer to Cleveland State students on their last day of class, before their holiday break.
With the best of intentions, but inclement weather, Quinte Transit had to cancel their Holy Jolly Light Tour this year. Had snow squalls not prevented the fun, the one-night-only event would have enabled riders to hop on a Quinte Transit bus and visit the Fantasy of Lights displays in Trenton and Frankford, and the Quinte West Holiday Market, as part of the transit agency's complimentary Holly Jolly Light Tour. Fingers crossed for a holy jolly 2022!
Strathcona County's sense of community and support is stronger than ever. Testament to this fact, is the huge success of their annual Stuff-a-Bus food drive. This year's event supported Strathcona's local food bank with 13,771 pounds of donations. And to put those donations into perspective:
• A $5 prepared food pack provides six meals for one person
• One bag of well-chosen dry and canned goods can feed a couple for two days
• A moderately full grocery cart feeds a family of four, for a full week!
City Bus (Greater Lafayette) knows how to give their best of the holiday season. They decorated a bus for their holiday parade, and their drivers have been seen donning their ugliest holiday sweaters, making their riders' travels a little merrier this year.
We can't forget to mention Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA). This year, they're celebrating the spirit of the season with a new initiative — the Holiday Lights campaign, which officially began November 30th.
According to WRTA's Executive Director, Dean Harris “All year long, WRTA gives the Valley a lift…but there are many other organizations in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties who ‘Light Up the Valley’ 365 days a year by helping those in need. With the holiday coming up, we really want to shine the light on these hard-working non-profits. The Holiday Lights campaign is our way of honoring them and encouraging everyone to support their efforts.”
Over the past couple of months, Valley residents have been encouraged to nominate organizations to be honored as part of the Holiday Lights campaign. And all through December, signs highlighting these nominated organizations will appear on the sides and back of selected WRTA buses, serving Trumbull and Mahoning Counties.
Those are just a few of the many great things our partners are doing. We love to highlight our partners, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have a story to tell.
Happy holidays to all!
It takes a big team to keep the wheels of public transit in motion. Thanks to the frontline operators, maintenance crews, mechanics, and dispatchers, and to all transit employees and part-time Santas - large and small communities are able to run safely, and smoothly every day of the year. And delivering exceptional transit service, with the added generosity and warmth of the holiday spirit, just adds to the magic of the season.
We want to thank our TripSpark partners, and all transit operators and workers, for their incredible work and dedication, day in and out. And we wish you all the very best of the holiday season, and a happy new year!