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2015
| Wednesday, July 01, 2015 10:10:00 AM

Operator

Before Jerry Olson started working at the Metropolitan Transit Commission, he did not have a sterling driving record. In fact, he’d wrecked so many of his personal vehicles early in life that he’d earned the nickname “Crash.” After four decades of driving buses safely around the metro, the moniker had taken on more than a little bit of irony. Olson’s 41 years and 9 months of safe driving is believed to be among the best ever recorded among Metro Transit’s operators. His record as a safe driver is just one of the reasons Olson was remembered at his retirement as one of the agency’s most beloved operators. Olson spent 18 years as a trainer and had earned a reputation for being a strong mentor to his peers. He also won praise for his customer service skills and deep knowledge of the bus network (as an on-call operator, Olson drove many of Metro Transit’s routes). Olson’s commitment to safe driving and customer service earned him 28 Outstanding Operator awards. In 2014, the Minnesota Public Transit Association named him their Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year. Olson spent the bulk of his career at South Garage, where he met his wife Lynnette Olson, a fellow operator (#1624). Olson retired in July 2015 after nearly 43 years of service. His retirement plans include spending more time with his family, including five children and eight grandchildren, camping, travel and golf. Before retiring, Olson took one final trip that included friends, family and General Manager Brian Lamb. Pulling in for the last time, Olson said he was sad to part ways but that he was excited for the next phase of his life to begin. “I’ve spent more than two-thirds of my life here (at Metro Transit), so it wasn’t an easy decision to retire,” he said at the time. “But there comes a time when you just have to say goodbye.”

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