Thursday, June 9, 2016

"I'm Jessica. And I Coordinate It."

Did you know that nearly 10 million passengers board a Community Transit vehicle each year? With a service area of over 1,300 square miles, from Stanwood to Seattle, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure our buses get our passengers where they need to go. We rely on a team of fantastic trouble shooters who can solve problems on the fly to make sure service is as seamless and timely as possible. People like Jessica, one of our cool-headed, fast-thinking Dispatchers!

Over 36,000 passengers use our service on an average weekday, and the majority board during peak commuter hours. This means a large part of our fleet is doing a "morning pullout" between 4:00 - 7:00 a.m. Dedicated Dispatchers like Jessica are starting their day at 3:30 a.m., taking roll call and pulling up multiple online screens which display real time information about each bus. As the morning progresses, challenges inevitably occur, such as bus delays or breakdowns. If a bus does break down, Jessica will have to coordinate a coach exchange (this could be a coach out of service nearby or one from the bus yard). A Road Supervisor will need to be arranged, coordinated conversations with our Maintenance Department to send out a truck will happen, and our Customer Service representatives will be alerted to let customers know there may be a delay.

Jessica loves the challenge of putting the puzzle back together, "Every day starts out with the puzzle pieces perfect. When it explodes and the pieces go everywhere, I put it back together to make it work, keep service on the road and the customer happy. It makes me feel good when I can make things work. I feel like I make a difference, like I'm helping the community."

Jessica credits two main things with her success on the job. The first is her year-and-a-half stint as a Coach Operator before she took on her Dispatch position in 2010. "My time as a driver informs what I do. I know what it's like out there. It makes me more compassionate. Coach Operators are our customers too, and it's important to develop good relationships with them. It helps us all work really well together to solve problems." Jessica also praises her team for helping her get through hectic times. "There are 5-6 of us working collaboratively at any one time. There's a great sense of camaraderie. If one person is slammed, we all offer help. We always have each other's backs."

Next time your bus is running late, remember there is a team of people like Jessica who are working hard to bring you home.

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