As a single mother of two, Maria Flores needed a stable career with good pay and benefits – and one that was a little less stressful than working in a homeless shelter.
“I like helping people,” Flores said. “But working with the homeless is tough.”
So, 24 years ago, she came to Metro Transit. Beyond the benefits, the job has provided her the opportunity to help people and be helped every day.
“Some days we all just need something to make our day,” she said. “And I’ve always been a giving person.”
It’s the little things that make Flores’ day, like a girl who waves to her every single day as she passes along her route or a customer who tells her she’s doing a good job.
She pays it forward by offering little gift bags during the holidays or offering gloves and hats during the winter months. “I try to get to know our riders and have them get to know me,” Flores said. “Then we can appreciate each other.”
Flores also appreciates two co-workers who have become longtime friends. As young operators with families, they bonded and supported each other.
“We’d work our schedules around so we could babysit each other’s kids,” she said. “And now that they’re grown up, we go on vacations together.”
Today, Flores wants others who were in her position to consider a career at Metro Transit when they see her face on operator hiring advertisements.“If you want to drive the bus, apply!” she said.
Fast track your way to a new full-time career. No experience in bus operations is required and training is paid. Bus operators receive outstanding benefits like health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, and an unlimited-ride bus pass. And, as many Metro Transit managers start their careers as operators, there's also room for growth.