Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Be A Clean Air Superhero" Contest Winners, Ages 1-5

We asked kids all over Snohomish County to show us how they would help our favorite pollution-fighting superhero, Oxy Gene, clean the air we breathe. Thanks, kids, for entering our "Be A Clean Air Superhero" contest! There were so many great ideas that we chose multiple winners for each age category.

The winners from our 1-5 age group are super fun! Whether with wings, a cape, or a huge smile, these five year olds know that planting trees and flowers is an important part of keeping our air clean. We'll be sharing their cheerful drawings on Oxy Gene's web page and on social media all week long.

Join us next week for winners from our 6-8 age group category!

Northshore Christian Academy, Age 5

Preschool Pals, Age 5

Heatherwood Pre-K, Age 5

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"I'm Royce. And I Take Care of It."

Maintaining an operation as large as ours requires more than the skill of our talented mechanics. We couldn't get our buses on the road without the support of our Facilities Maintenance team. From our state-of-the-art shop to our corporate offices to every bus stop spread across 1,305 square miles, Facilities Technicians like Royce take care of it all.

A retired Navy man, Royce has dedicated his career to public service. Since joining our ranks in 1995, he's seen his team grow from five to twenty people to meet the needs of our customers. The crew is split into two groups: road and base. Our road crew cleans and maintains all of the bus stops, stations, and signage for our extensive route system. Our base crew maintains the buildings that house our corporate offices and maintenance shops. This includes all of the support equipment our mechanics use to keep our buses in prime working condition, such as lifts, pumps, exhaust motors, etc. Our Facilities Maintenance team even maintains a steam bay which cleans each vehicle's engine before mechanics begin their work.

In Royce's early years at Community Transit, when our facilities were much smaller, technicians functioned more as generalists, doing a little bit of everything. Of course this meant more specialized skills had to be contracted out. Now, Facilities Maintenance has grown to include certified plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians, and welders. "In the past we figured out how to fix things on our own," says Royce. "Now we work together as a team to problem solve. You don't have to feel bad if you don't know something. There's no criticism, only encouragement. We have each other's backs."

By bringing on highly-skilled technicians, we now keep all of our maintenance in-house so we can control the quality of work. "There's a real pride of ownership here," says Royce. "Everyone has the same goal in mind: serve the customer. It's a great sense of accomplishment knowing the equipment you maintain is used safely by other people."

Thank you, Royce, for taking care of our facilities, our equipment, our route stops, our employees, and our riders.

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.