After going to school to learn how to fix factory machinery, Ricky Krebsbach spent more than a decade doing just that. But after losing several jobs to factory closures, he took the advice of friends and relatives working in transit and applied for a job as a bus operator. The only experience he had at the time came from driving a fire truck as a volunteer with the Center City Fire Department. “I thought, ‘You know, if I go there I know it’s not going to close,’” Krebsbach said. “I came here for security.” And he found it, building a nearly 33-year career as an operator, relief dispatcher and district supervisor.
Krebsbach’s career began at South Garage and he’d worked at every garage but Ruter by the time he joined Street Operations 18 years later. He liked the work, he said, because he got to pick his hours and could continue traveling the Midwest as a show skier. Looking for a new challenge that didn’t involve office work, Krebsbach participated in a career development program and joined Street Operations as a supervisor in 2003. At the time, about a third of his time was spent observing buses to see if they were arriving on time. As technology took over that task, he could devote more of his attention to the work he truly enjoyed – helping operators through detours, accidents or other service interruptions. He worked primarily in and around St. Paul, familiar territory from his childhood. “What I really liked about the job was the freedom,” Krebsbach said. “I could go anywhere I thought I was needed.”
Supporting special events brought some unique and interesting challenges, too. In 2005, Krebsbach helped devise plans to serve the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, identifying accessible boarding locations, drawing up route maps and helping to make sure buses could accommodate multiple wheelchairs at a time. During the State Fair, he was assigned to Ridgedale Mall, a temporary Park & Ride site that was overwhelmed with hundreds of customers and quickly abandoned. “There was a point when we probably had 600 people in line and no buses,” he said.
Later in his career, Krebsbach helped Street Operations begin downloading on-board videos and develop protocols for traffic signal violations. He also attended countless pre-construction meetings to ensure transit operations weren’t adversely impacted by roadwork, and he was especially involved during the construction and 2014 opening of the METRO Green Line.
When he retired in January 2018, Krebsbach said he planned to continue water and snow skiing and to do more traveling. “The people, the security, the job – it’s just been fantastic,” he said.