Thursday, June 7, 2018

Community Transit Employee Spotlight

Bus Driver Ray Harnisch: Going the Extra 3,000,000 Miles

Service to Community

Ray Harnisch has been driving buses for Community Transit for 21 years, and one of his favorite parts of the job is working with children.

He’s not a school bus driver, but he’s met thousands of kids through the agency’s School Transit Education Program (STEP). His blue eyes sparkle like an excited grandpa when he talks with the kids about buses, sitting comfortably and asking them as many questions as they’re asking him.

When Ray is on the road, some of his favorite moments are when young children wave at him.

Ray Harnisch On What Makes Driving a Bus Fun from Community Transit on Vimeo.

“I wave back at them,” he said. “I want them to know, when they get older and can ride our buses, that bus drivers are friendly. We’re there to help.”

Many of those kids eventually become riders on his bus, and he remembers them.

“I’ve watched them grow up, until they’re busing to college and their jobs,” he said. “I’m part of their world, their community.”

Service to Safety

In addition to driving a regular route, driving for STEP and mentoring other drivers, Ray has served on accident review committees, the service planning input team and on Community Transit’s Safety Committee, which he often chaired.

Ray’s attention to safety recently earned him a Three Million Mile Award for safe driving – that’s 3,000,000 miles of safe driving in stop-and-go traffic, day in and day out.

For perspective, that’s the equivalent of 120 trips around the world or more than six trips to the moon and back, without a preventable accident. The average American driver would need 225 years to drive that far!

Ray credits his amazing safety record to support from his co-workers.

“I didn’t do this by myself,” he said. “There’s a big team that makes it possible.” He attributes his accomplishment to excellent bus maintenance, supportive supervisors and dispatchers, and constantly updated training.

An award ceremony for Ray was attended by dozens of his co-workers. Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath thanked him for his service to the citizens of Snohomish County and to the agency, then presented him with a jacket, plaque, certificate and pin, all personalized with a special black and gold "Three Million Mile" logo.

Three Million Mile Driver Highlights from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Ray's photo will be featured on the sides of 10 Community Transit buses for the rest of 2018 to celebrate his accomplishment.

Thank you, Ray, for going the extra 3,000,000 miles!