We say “Thank You!” on Transit Operator Appreciation Day

Transit Operator Appreciation Day is March 18. A day when it’s important to reflect on where our transit system has come from, where it’s going and thank the hard-working transit operators who help keep it moving.

A lot can change over 110 years. New towers are built, new bus routes are developed and the city continues to grow. What hasn’t changed is the women and men who keep the buses and trains moving across the city.

(Left: Conductor and “Conductorette” circa 1944. Right: Modern day ETS operators)
(Left: Conductor and “Conductorette” circa 1944. Right: Modern day ETS operators)

From humble beginnings as the Edmonton Radial Railway in 1908 to the Edmonton Transit Service we know today, operators have always been responsible for connecting passengers to the goods, services and people they care about most. Whether it’s with a network of only two streetcars or an interconnected system of bus routes, LRT lines and transit centres, transit operators are the human backbone of the transit network and the front line of customer service, interaction and safety 365 days a year.

There have been several examples of operators going above and beyond the call of duty recently, such as stopping a racist verbal assault on a passenger, saving someone from freezing during the extreme cold, or helping an elderly Edmontonian find her way to an LRT station. Doing the little things, like welcoming customers and providing fun factoids during a trip to brighten someone’s day can make a difference. All these things matter. They reflect the integral, unsung impact transit operators have in our day-to-day lives.

Here is a new video that highlights the important job of transit operators. This video captures the passion, spirit and dedication transit operators bring to the job each day.

It is incredible how respectful and pleasant customers on transit are in this city. Almost everyone calls out “thank you!” to their bus operator when getting off the bus. This doesn’t happen in every Canadian city. It’s a testament to the Edmontonian spirit and culture.

On March 18, let’s show it to the operators on your bus or train. Greet your operator when you board, or practice good customer etiquette. Most importantly though, continue to say ‘thank you’.

To celebrate this year, ETS is hosting a contest across its social media channels on March 18. To enter, simply share your favourite transit story using the hashtag #ThanksToMyOperator on Twitter, or respond to the Twitter (@takeETSalert), Facebook (/takeETS), or Instagram post (@edmontontransit) to enter. One lucky winner will be randomly selected from the contestants  and will receive a monthly ETS transit pass! More details related to the contest can be found at takeETS.com/news.

Transit Operator Appreciation Day is an annual event to recognize the hard work and public service of transit operators. March 18 is the day of celebration, chosen to commemorate the launch of what is regarded as the world’s first modern public transportation system: the carrosses a cinq sols in Paris in 1662.