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Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Kieyonn Bogan 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:47:00 PM

Nicollet Operator Kieyonn Bogan, who began at Metro Transit in 2004. After putting in an application to serve as a school bus driver, Kieyonn Bogan headed home on a Metro Transit bus and passed Nicollet Garage.

Bogan grew up near the south Minneapolis garage and regularly took the bus to Roosevelt High School and to the Roller Garden in St. Louis Park. Despite that exposure, she said it wasn’t until that moment that she considered what it would be like to work for Metro Transit.

Bogan went with that thought, applied and quickly found herself following a new career path.

She began as an operator in 2004 and, after overcoming some initial hesitation, has come to truly enjoy the work. Her favorite parts of the job, she says, are interacting with customers and getting a unique view of her community.

“I get to see the city wake up and I get to see the city go to sleep, all within a climate-controlled environment,” Bogan said.

Bogan has spent her entire career at Nicollet Garage, a small, close-knit garage where she sees her co-workers as family. While she’s familiar with lots of routes, staying at Nicollet has also led to an affinity for one of Metro Transit’s most popular routes – Route 21.

“I see a lot of the same people who always say hello, or just ride for the social aspect,” Bogan said. “People like that really make your day.”

Customer service isn’t Bogan’s only strong suit, either.

She has a 14-year safe driving record and, for the past four years, has helped train new operators as a relief instructor. Bogan says the key to safe driving is to not focus too heavily on the schedule.

In the future, Bogan hopes to continue growing her career at Metro Transit. She’s particularly interested in serving as a Transit Supervisor, helping operators and customers navigate planned or unplanned detours and other issues.

Whatever happens next, Bogan said she’s grateful to represent Metro Transit and for all the benefits of working for the organization. Since starting, she’s purchased a home, traveled and raised two boys, now ages 17 and 12.

“There are a lot of opportunities that may not have happened if I didn’t stick it out,” she said. “I’m really glad I’m here.”

We're hiring! 

Learn more about becoming a bus operator and support available to bus operator applicants at metrotransit.org/bus-driver-hiring

Help us recognize great operators

Help Metro Transit recognize great operators by submitting a commendation through our website or by sharing messages on Facebook or Twitter. If you don't know your operator's name, include the operator number on their shoulder so we can share your feedback with them.

Bus Minneapolis Rider Information

Construction leads to detours in downtown Minneapolis 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, March 04, 2019 1:03:00 PM

Multiple routes will be detoured off a busy downtown Minneapolis street beginning Saturday, March 9, the first of several service changes that will occur this year due to road construction in the city center.

Beginning March 9, southbound trips on routes 5, 9, 19, 22, 39 and 755 will shift from 8th Street South to 6th Street South. During the detour, the routes will also stop serving the 7th Street/Ramp A Transit Center. 

The City of Minneapolis is rebuilding 8th Street between Hennepin and Chicago avenues. Utility work has been underway for months, reducing traffic lanes. This spring, crews will begin a full reconstruction of the corridor. Buses will return to 8th Street when construction is completed. 

As part of the city's reconstruction efforts, the roadway will be repaved, sidewalks will be widened and several Bus Rapid Transit stations will be added. Both the C Line and the D Line will operate on 8th Street.

The 7th Street/Ramp A Transit Center, a future BRT stop, will also be improved this year. When the C Line opens in June, customers will use stops on 6th Street. 

There are currently 350 bus trips on 8th Street South each weekday. 

Moving service to 6th Street South allows customers to remain closer to the city center. Schedules have been adjusted to account for the new routing.

Additional detours will go into effect in downtown Minneapolis later this year.

As early as April, the city plans to begin a nearly three-year reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street. Hennepin Avenue routes will shift to Nicollet Mall during construction.  

Pedestrian and transit improvements are also being incorporated into the Hennepin Avenue project.

Several other route and schedule changes will take effect on Saturday, March 9. The changes are being made as part of the regularly scheduled, quarterly service adjustments. The next round of service changes is scheduled to take effect on Saturday, June 8.

Click the map to view the 8th Street bus stops that will close beginning March 9, and where buses will stop on 6th Street.

Map of the 8th Street bus stops that will close beginning March 9, and where buses will stop on 6th Street.

Open stops when busses operate on 6th St. downtown Minneapolis beginning March 9
Route 5 - Southbound Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
6th St between Park and Chicago
Chicago just past 8th
Route 9 - Eastbound

Glenwood Ave at 10th St
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
Portland just past 9th St

Route 19 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
6th St between Park and Chicago

Route 22 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
5th Ave at 5th St
5th Ave at 4th St

Route 39 – Southbound

5th St Garage
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St between 4th
Portland Ave just past 9th St

Route 755 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
5th Ave at 5th St

Learn more about service changes that begin March 9

Beginning Saturday, March 9, changes will be made to several routes operated by Metro Transit & Maple Grove Transit. Find an overview of the changes at metrotransit.org

How We Roll Minneapolis Northstar

How We Roll: Mike Conlon 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Thursday, February 28, 2019 3:11:00 PM

Mike Conlon

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region.

These “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Mike Conlon, Director of Rail and Bus Safety

How do you get to work?

I drive from my home in Lino Lakes to the Fridley Park & Ride, where I get on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line. Fifteen minutes later I’m at Target Field and take a short walk to Heywood.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

Skipping the traffic between Minneapolis and Fridley. When construction started on Interstate 94 in 2017, the alternate roads became completely jammed. Construction in Minneapolis also meant there were too many users – automobiles, pedestrians, cyclists – for the available space. 

Under those conditions, it became clear that it would be easier and take less time to take Northstar. It’s a smoother commute both ways with few surprises. Going home, I traded the stress of fighting the traffic for fighting to stay awake, so I didn’t miss my stop. I’ll take that trade. 

Why is it important to you to ride transit?

It’s important for three reasons: pain, preference and perspective.

There was nothing altruistic in my decision to make transit a part of my daily commute. I did it because the pain of continuing to drive outweighed the pain of the change. 

But I also ride transit because I like it. It suits me. In every city I visit, whether it’s for business or pleasure, I use transit. I’ve taught safety classes for the Federal Transit Administration in 20 major U.S. cities and used the transit in each of those cities. I insisted on seeing and using the maglev (a magnetically propelled train) in Shanghai, China, as well as the local and high-speed rail there, and in Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong. I look forward to using the local and high-speed rail in Italy soon.

There is also something serendipitous about my local transit trips. If you pay attention, you can see some real kindness being practiced. When I ride Route 18 sometimes, I see folks make a spot for someone who may not be as able to get around, and it doesn’t matter how crowded the bus is. It just happens. Ten people launch into action, some finding another spot for themselves and others lifting the seat to make room. I am grateful for having noticed. 

On Off The Clock

On/Off the Clock with Alec Robbins 

Posted by John Komarek | Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:48:00 AM

Lives: Becker 
Job: Mechanic, Commuter Rail
Years of Service: 2

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

After working as an auto mechanic for a few years, a friend who works at the Northstar Operations & Maintenance Facility in Big Lake referred me to an open commuter rail mechanic position. I started in late 2016 and work on third shift.

Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.

I've lived in Becker most of my life, graduating from Becker High School in 2010 and continuing my education at St. Cloud Technical College where I earned my degree as an automotive technician. I worked at various repair shops and dealerships up until I started at Metro Transit.

What is your favorite part about working for Metro Transit?

It’s a job with great benefits and, better yet, I get to work with a great group of people.

What are your favorite activities when you’re working or “On the Clock”?

I was a car person, but now I think it’s safe to say I enjoy trains! I enjoy my duties, which include completing daily inspections of each train and preparing them for the next day. As a mechanic, I really enjoy getting my hands dirty and fixing and maintaining the vehicles. It’s always fun being able to operate locomotives around the yard!

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or “Off the Clock”?

I’m still a gear head so in my spare time I fabricate and modify vehicles and build race cars. I especially enjoy racing in Formula Drift competitions. Drifting is sort of an unconventional type of motorsport. Two cars race on a winding course but rather than winning by being the first to the finish, it is judged on car control and your ability to navigate the course while sliding sideways at high speeds. We get to travel around the country and compete with some of the best drivers in the world. It’s a ton of fun and a huge challenge!

Bus

7 Reasons to be Bus Operator instead of a Truck Driver 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, February 26, 2019 1:45:00 PM

Both jobs require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and operate large vehicles, but here’s a few reasons why bus operations might be a better fit than truck driving for some people.

  1. Work + Life Balance
    Most trucking jobs require long hauls across the country with days, weeks, or even months away from loved ones. Working as a Metro Transit bus operator keeps you within our seven-county system with a consistent schedule.

    You can spend time with your family, start one, and sleep in your own bed every day. Most long-haul truckers average about 22 nights a month sleeping in their truck. Sleep patterns for long haul drivers can be sporadic based on schedules and can change month-to-month.
  2. Union Life
    Fewer commercial driving jobs offer union protection. A bus operator at Metro Transit becomes a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).  Public sector jobs still have a higher percentage of unionized workers than the private sector.
  3. Route preferences
    Every quarter, bus operators present preferences for routes and earn them based on seniority. Pick routes close to home or in a region you enjoy – it’s up to you and your seniority. And if you don’t enjoy a certain route, you can change it in the next quarter.
  4. What you haul
    As a bus operator, you move people.  As a trucker, you could be responsible for hauling large, dangerous, heavy, or hazardous materials, even garbage.
  5. Guaranteed hours and overtime options
    All bus operators are guaranteed part-time hours and can go full-time with opportunities for overtime.
  6. Socialization
    Truck driving can be a solitary life due to long hours by yourself on the road. As a bus operator, you’re working with a steady stream of people who you can make lasting relationships with as you drive along a route. Buses become small communities as people in the neighborhood use them consistently.
  7. Advancement and longevity
    Joining Metro Transit opens doors to advance in your career outside of the bus, if you so choose. From supervisory positions to other departments, there’s opportunity to build a life with us. We consider ourselves a destination employer – and the host of 10-, 20-, and 30-year bus operators agree.

Want to know more? Come to a Bus Driver Application Preparation meeting to find out if becoming a bus operator with Metro Transit is right for you.

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