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Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus Know Your Operator

Know your Operator: Sophia Ali

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, March 2, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Bus Operator Sophia Ali.

  • Years of service: 7
  • Lives: Burnsville
  • Garage: Nicollet
  • Family: Husband and three kids

After 10 years of waiting in a refugee camp, Sophia Ali finally arrived in the United States in 2001. “It wasn’t a welcoming time for Muslims like me. I was called many names,” Ali said. “But I never gave up hope.”

That hope is what helped her to achieve her dream of getting a college education, which was interrupted by the civil war in Somalia, and took the life of her father. “War is no joke,” she said. “I wish people wouldn’t talk about it so casually.”

When she arrived in New York, her uncle living in Minnesota told her to come stay with them. Here, she began working and eventually became a teller and personal banker. “My father was a businessman, so I was always interested in numbers,” Ali said.

The hours were long and she still was unable to go to college. In 2014, her bus operator husband suggested she work at Metro Transit part-time. Her decision to apply put her on a course to realize her dreams.

“Metro Transit gave me the accessibility to go to college and raise my kids,” she said. “This is a great place to work. I’d have a different outcome if I worked somewhere else.”

Today, she has a degree in business and multicultural resource management. And, when she’s not operating a bus, she’s proud to be investing in the stock market.

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is March 18  

Bus and train operators are serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an essential service to those who must use transit. To recognize their service, Metro Transit will celebrate Transit Driver Appreciation Day on Thursday, March 18. To participate, consider writing a commendation, sending a card or letter to any garage or showing your support on social media.