Angela Wilson moved from Chicago to Minnesota in search of opportunity. She found it at Metro Transit.
“I didn’t know I was going to end up here this long!” Wilson said. “It allowed me to grow with the agency.”
As an operator, Wilson spent 17 years on Route 5, Metro Transit’s busiest route. She’s also spent time on routes 4 and 515.
Recently, she was among a select group of bus operators recognized for going 20 or 25 straight years without a responsible collision. To celebrate the achievement, an interior card with Wilson’s photo will appear on buses for the next year.
While she’s an accomplished operator, Wilson now primarily serves as a dispatcher, assigning operators to trips that originate at Bloomington’s South Garage.
At first, Wilson said she was worried about moving from behind the wheel to spending most of her day at a computer.
As an operator, she enjoyed befriending customers like Ms. Kathy, a 78-year-old woman who boarded at the corner of north Fremont and 33rd avenues at 7:33 a.m. every day
“She’d hug me every time she got on and off the bus and always gave me a card on my birthday,” Wilson said. “So, for her birthday, I got her balloons!”
While she doesn’t interact with customers as much as she used to, Wilson’s friendly demeanor is just as present in her new role as a dispatcher.
“I’m a talker and I like meeting different people,” she said. “Just like on the bus, I greet everyone who comes in. Those relationships help me find drivers to fill trips.”
Before becoming a bus operator, Wilson supported her three children by working at fast food restaurants and big box stores.
The father of her two daughters passed unexpectedly in his forties and her mother’s declining health required more of her attention. Instead of holding multiple jobs, her cousin urged her to apply at Metro Transit.
“I started part-time and still worked fast food,” Wilson recalled. “When I figured out I only needed this job, I gave my notice.”
As the years roll on, she’s starting to think about retirement and is thankful she was able to build a career at Metro Transit. “This job has put me where I want to be financially,” she said.
Operator at a Glance
Hired: November 1998
Routes: 4, 5 and 515
Hobbies: Spending all my time with my family
Family: 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, and my mom
Best advice: "Just treat people as you want to be treated."
Celebrating Metro Transit's safe operators
Be on the lookout for these interior cards (the advertisements inside the bus) featuring several of Metro Transit's consecutive year safe operators! These bus operators were recognized at Metro Transit’s 2019 operator awards.
Clockwise from top left: Kent Knutson, South; Carrie Boekhoff, Nicollet; Marshall Freeman, East Metro; John DeCarlo, South.