Thursday, August 18, 2016

"I'm Shawna. And I Support It."

With a transit system network as vast as ours, it's no wonder that Information Technology is the key to connecting us with our customers. Every division in our agency depends on our hard-working IT department. We rely on talented people like Shawna to help us drive it, maintain it, coordinate it, resource it, plan it, and guide it, all so that we can bring you home.

Giving back to the community has always been important to Shawna. After years spent working on emergency issues supporting technology for Snohomish County 911, Shawna joined the fast-paced but far less stressful environment of Community Transit. "I enjoy being in public service and being part of my community and Community Transit seemed like a good fit. I was immediately impressed by the unique culture here. It felt like a family right away." This connection to community can be on a large scale, or it can be far more intimate, as Shawna discovered when a family tragedy hit just a few months into her employment. "Immediately I felt instant support. I was given a lot of flexibility so I could take care of what was important. It felt like family, and honestly that's how I got through it."

A self-professed "gadget freak" who enjoys taking things apart to see how they work, Shawna has always had an affinity for technology. In addition to providing support for our internal network and help desk, Shawna has been involved in researching special pilot projects and taking the lead in researching hardware and software acquisitions. "So much of what we do in IT is behind the scenes. We troubleshoot in the background in a virtual environment so you can't even see what's being done. It's cheaper, faster, and more streamlined. I'm proud to work for a company that has such cutting-edge technology. Working here is never stagnant. I am always learning something new."

While innovative technology and dynamic problem-solving definitely excites Shawna, what really makes a difference each day are the connections she makes, from her internal team to her colleagues and coworkers. "My team has a broad view and we always back each other up. People are generally grateful for the help we provide. It feels good to work where people are grateful every day. You feel super-special, like you have a superpower."

We think you are a superhero, Shawna! Thank you for being part of our incredibly talented team of technology experts who are always supporting our agency's efforts to see where we can do better to serve our customers. You bring every department at Community Transit to life, all so we can connect in meaningful ways to our customers and bring them home.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"I'm Chuck. And I Plan It."

Designing the routes and schedules for a transit system that extends into two counties and serves tens of thousands of people is part science and part art. We have a team of planners that strategically analyzes and interprets complex data to determine the best way to meet the needs of our customers. Meet Chuck, one of our Schedule Analysts, who strives to ensure our customers receive the timely service they need and deserve.

A commitment to service has always been important to Chuck. His varied career includes being a pastor, a choral director, and a janitor before finding his way to us as a coach operator in 1999. After six years of driving for us, Chuck took on his role developing and monitoring our schedules. It's no small task! "I interpret APTS (Advanced Public Transportation Systems) data. When you factor in the vagaries of weather, traffic, and driving styles, it can be like hitting a moving target. Planning for transfers and connections adds to the complexity, as do the different challenges between urban vs. rural routes. I work with a very talented team that has excellent synergy. We work together to find that "sweet spot" where buses are on time without being too early or too late."

Chuck and his team work 3-6 months ahead of any service changes. This includes spending time each week in the field timing and gathering information for our scheduling software. Schedule Analysts, like Chuck, are required to maintain their Commercial Driver's License and drive buses in the field to help plan and revise routes. "I get excited about the detail work. I enjoy getting out in the field to see how routes are working."

For someone who has looked for opportunities to be of service in his career, transit service has proved to be very rewarding. "Community Transit is such a positive and caring community. People are good listeners and encourage each other. They enrich your life like a family. It's modeled from the top down. Everyone is always striving to do better, to provide convenient and reliable service to our customers, some of whom are transit dependent."

Thank you, Chuck, for sharing your passion for service with our colleagues, our customers, and our community.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Community Transit "Moves" Me, for Good!

"Transit helps me help the environment." Did you know that each year cars spew 1.5 tons of pollution into the air around Puget Sound? Getting vehicles off the road dramatically improves our air quality. And combining a bike trip with a Community Transit bus is a smart way to commute. Not only does it feel great, you know you're doing your part to help our environment by reducing car emissions.

Many of us, especially in more urban areas, live only a short bike ride from a bus route. In just a few minutes, you could be hopping on one of our buses and on your way to work or school. Every Community Transit bus is equipped with a bike rack to hold at least two bikes. If you've worried that it's hard to use a bike rack, don't be. It's easy! Whether you use a rack on the front of a bus, or load your bike onboard a Swift bus, it only takes a moment or two to secure your bike before you're on your way.

While the weather is nice, get out there and give bikes and buses a go. It's a chance to do right by your body and the environment. We're there for you. Let Community Transit move you, for good!

Transit moves me, for good! from Community Transit on Vimeo.