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Metro Transit workers discuss Oklahoma City route safety, growth

The public transportation system in Oklahoma City provides rides to about 3 million people each year. With Saturday ridership increasing, officials are considering adding Sunday service. They have increased training for drivers.
by Tiffany Gibson Published: June 4, 2012

Metro Transit operator Linda Robinson has been driving routes throughout Oklahoma City for decades and looks forward to interacting with passengers on her bus each day.

“I treat them like I would want to be treated,” she said. “I love it. It's a wonderful job.”

Robinson, 55, has been driving buses for 34 years. She said her goal is to provide safe transportation for the people in the community who really need it.

In 1978, she moved to Oklahoma City and applied for a job with the transit service. In the years since, she has learned quite a few tricks for dealing with unruly people.

“You humor a drunk; you don't argue with them,” Robinson said.

A few problem passengers aside, there seems to be a great camaraderie among the regular riders and drivers.

Shannon Mcintyre, 32, of Oklahoma City, said she has been riding the bus to and from work for seven years.

“I have fun with all of the bus drivers,” she said. “I make a lot of friends on the bus.”

Maintenance issues

New technology has made Robinson's job easier, especially when dealing with maintenance problems.

In her first year on the job, her bus broke down and she walked to a nearby house and asked to use a phone.

“A lady got a shotgun and said, ‘You're not coming in my house,'” Robinson said.

Now drivers have radios and cellphones to alert officials of a problem.

Robinson said operator training to avoid accidents and learn routes also has increased throughout the years. “I think it's getting better,” she said.

Training efforts

Michael Scroggins, Metro Transit spokesman, said an operator must meet physical requirements to make sure they are capable of driving a bus. He said Metro Transit provides annual defensive driving courses and quarterly safety training.

Blog: An hour with Metro Transit passengers

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by Tiffany Gibson
Assistant Enterprise Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the enterprise team and digital desk. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media...
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