Connie Isler doesn’t need prescription lenses to see clearly. But she does sport a unique set of black frames, adorned with a small red bow – a subtle but intentional way of broadcasting the environment she hopes customers step into while riding her bus.
“I try to blend things into the uniform while still showing people I’m a professional and I can do this,” she said. “But it helps if people think I’m a little more fun than not fun.”
The glasses are just a part of Connie’s charm though.
Connie also welcomes each customer on board, uses humor to discourage bad behavior and regularly works in announcements thanking customers for riding and encouraging common courtesy and safe travel.
When a customer needs a transfer, she might say, “Let me get the secretary right on that for you.” Another familiar line lets customers know “random acts of kindness are appreciated on this bus.”
“My goal is for the average person who’s polite enough to put up with a little bit of the stuff that comes with riding the bus to feel safe and welcome, and to maybe even brighten their day a little bit,” Connie said recently from Nicollet Garage.
Connie’s father spent several years as a bus operator. She followed in his footsteps after attending a Prince concert in Minnesota, falling in love with the Twin Cities and moving to Minnesota. After the move, she spent a decade as a substitute school bus driver and trainer before applying at Metro Transit.
“Since I was enjoying this driving people around thing, I thought maybe I should do it with big kids,” she said.
Since joining Metro Transit in 2012, she has made a point of learning from seasoned operators who have excelled and maintained their sense of humor through the years.
“When I got here, my goal was to find out how best to serve people, to find the ideal recipe and do what I could to match that,” she said.
Connie is already passing the wisdom she’s gained onto new operators, training new hires as a relief instructor at Nicollet Garage. The advice she comes back to the most: be kind.
“Just being humane – that is the key and so important to me,” she said. “I’m really into being respectful because everything starts there.”
- Name: Connie Isler
- Hired: Sept. 10, 2012
- Number: 72342
- Routes: As an extraboard, or substitute, operator, Connie enjoys all friendly, neighborhood routes
- Hobbies: Training to complete a triathlon in 2018, technology, music
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