Every Mile, Every Smile
Celebrate Transit Operator Appreciation Day on March 18: Every Mile, Every Smile

Monday, March 18 marks Transit Operator Appreciation Day, a day dedicated to the unsung heroes of our daily commutes – our transit drivers. These dedicated individuals are more than just operators; they keep our community moving through sunshine and rain, ensuring safe and efficient journeys for all, keeping their eyes on the wellbeing of their passengers in addition to the road. 

National Transit Driver Appreciation Day began on March 18, 1662, in Paris, the 'Carrosses à cinq sols', also known as the first “Five Penny Coaches” bus line was established as the first form of public transportation. On this day, people all around the world celebrate public transit vehicle operators and recognize the essential service they provide. This historical event has been considered the perfect day to celebrate transit drivers worldwide every year.

Our transit operators are the backbone to keep us moving! VTA bus and light rail operators skillfully navigate tight schedules, unpredictable weather, and the South Bay’s sometimes horrendous traffic, making every mile a smooth experience.

To the ones who make our journeys special, with every mile covered and every smile shared, we extend our deepest gratitude. Thank you, VTA Operators, bus and rail, for the difference you make in our lives, ensuring that every trip is completed safely, reliably, and with your signature warm welcomes. 

Whether you’re a regular VTA passenger or make guest appearances every now and then, join us on March 18 in saying a big thank you to these remarkable individuals. Whether it's with a smile, a hello, a word of thanks, or a social media shout out. Tag @scvta on your social media posts, or stories, and we will share it on our page to ensure the operators see all the gratitude. Be sure to spread the word to those you commute with on the bus or light rail to also thank their operators! Let's make their day as special as they make ours.

Together, we can make this Transit Operator Appreciation Day a memorable one.

Happy Transit Operator Appreciation Day!

Every Mile Every Smile Poster


Get To Know Your Operators

In honor of Transit Operator Appreciation Day, we would like to introduce you to some of the VTA Operators and highlight a few fun facts about them.

North Yard Bus Operator Michael Grenz with his wife Sarah and son Brandon
Bus Operator Michael Grenz with his wife Sarah and son Brandon

Introducing Bus Operator Michael Grenz from the North Yard, known for his passion for photography. He not only enjoys capturing moments but also shares his talent professionally, specializing in family portraits, landscapes, and wildlife imagery. His love for capturing moments dates back to his high school years. 

When reflecting on his career at VTA, Michael expresses gratitude, acknowledging the role it plays in facilitating his life's adventures. He emphasizes the privilege of ensuring the public's safe and efficient transportation, stating, "Without VTA and the career that it provides, I couldn’t have the life, travels, and experiences that I do and continue to have!" Alongside his passion for photography, Michael is also a versatile performer, having sung at various events and even performed the National Anthem for the SF Giants Organization. Additionally, he nurtures a love for the outdoors through overlanding, blending camping and off-roading, with a focus on instilling his care for the environment in his son.

Notably, Michael's dedication extends to his role as a safety officer, where he was commended by the VTA Board in March 2019, alongside fellow operator Juan Balleza, for their instrumental contributions leading to the arrest of a man wanted on an FBI felony warrant. His commitment to excellence both on and off his route shines through his many talents and unwavering dedication to serving the community.

Bus Operator Josie Arroyo
Bus Operator Josie Arroyo

Meet Bus Operator Josie Arroyo from Cerone. Her hobby is beautifying and decorating her home space to gather family and friends together because she loves them dearly. She takes her passion for decorating to work as well by being an active member of Cerone’s Activities Committee. She takes charge of coordinating events and luncheons at the division. During various holidays throughout the year, you can always count on Josie to decorate the driver’s room and boost morale at her division. Josie is well liked and respected among her peers, supervision, and management.

Josie spreads positivity everywhere she goes saying, “The best thing about being a driver is that you can put a smile on someone’s face by simply saying hello.”

Thank you for being such a ray of sunshine for Cerone, VTA, and the community you serve Josie!


Chaboya Bus Operator Karissa Trujillo and Chaboya Bus Operator Raudel (Max) Macias
Bus Operator Karissa Trujillo and Bus Operator Raudel (Max) Macias

Presenting Chaboya Bus Operator Karissa Trujillo. Not only does she enjoy spending time with her daughter, who's been dedicated to softball for 12 years, but she also is pursuing further education in nursing! Balancing her responsibilities as a bus operator with her aspirations, Karissa is driven by her love for helping others. Whether it's guiding passengers safely to their destinations or pursuing her nursing degree to provide aid to those in need, Karissa is a testament to dedication and compassion.

Meet Chaboya Bus Operator Raudel (Max) Macias. Getting to know him reveals a person deeply committed to holistic health. Beyond his duties as a bus operator, Max prioritizes fitness to ensure both physical and mental well-being. He shares his love for running, often seen navigating the country roads of Los Banos or making use of the VTA gym at Chaboya during breaks or before his shifts. This dedication not only reflects his personal values but also highlights his reliability and commitment to maintaining peak performance, both on and off the job.

Light Rail Operator Parvinder Singh and Light Rail Operator Brittany Dowdell
Light Rail Operator Parvinder Singh and Light Rail Operator Brittany Dowdell

Introducing a dedicated Light Rail Operator, Parvinder Singh, who finds joy in his routes and connecting communities. His passion for travel naturally found himself drawn to joining a team that helps folks move around the city for their next adventure. His cherished moments with family also fuel his commitment to his work. Parvinder thrives on consistency, shown by his solid attendance at work, always accompanied by a warm smile and throwing up a peace sign on the side, just like the energy shown in his photo.

"Taking people from place to place is fun," he shares, “Seeing the community and being outside is great to see. Seeing the customers happy helps me through my day!”

Meet Light Rail Operator Brittany Dowdell, who fills her role with the dedication of a die-hard sports fan. Brittany truly stands out for her love of sports. Just like cheering for her favorite football team, the 49ers, she uplifts her coworkers and remains a true fan both on and off the tracks encouraging a game winning mentality to her light rail team. It's no surprise that she enjoys shuttling fellow 49er fans to Levi’s Stadium. Brittany's colleagues appreciate having her on their team.

When asked about her role in the community, Brittany shared, “Ka lā hiki ola,” which means “Each day brings new life and possibility.” This motto reflects Brittany's belief in making each day count, whether through her job or her interactions with passengers.

Cerone Bus Operator Darnell Avery
Bus Operator Darnell Avery

Last but not least, we would like to introduce you to Cerone Bus Operator Darnell Avery that joined VTA in 2018.  Not only has Darnell been steering buses through the busy streets but also bridging connections on the football field for teenagers in San Jose. He has spent over two decades coaching youth football, currently leading the Varsity Football team at Silver Creek High School in San Jose. For Darnell, bus driving and coaching intertwine as opportunities to guide and inspire others.

"As a bus driver, I not only navigate the streets but also connect people—helping them reach their destinations safely and efficiently," he explains. "As a youth football coach, I see more than just a game; I see an opportunity to shape young minds, instill discipline, and foster teamwork. My love for my community, my role behind the wheel, and my commitment to coaching all converge into a purposeful journey—one where I make a positive impact, one day at a time." Darnell’s roles behind the wheel and on the field unite to enrich his community.



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