Transit Heroes Never Stopped Worked During Pandemic
This Saturday, March 18, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will celebrate its heroes – 497 fixed-route and RIde paratransit drivers – in observance of National Transit Driver Appreciation Day. This special day is celebrated annually to recognize and show appreciation for the public service that public transit vehicle operators provide.
“Transit drivers do not have an easy job; they just make it look that way,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I want RIPTA drivers to know that their hard work and dedication is seen and appreciated. We thank them for providing an essential community service to Rhode Islanders, especially throughout the pandemic.”
“RIPTA is one of the very few agencies nationwide that did not cut or suspend service during the COVID-19 pandemic – and we owe that all to our drivers,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA Chief Executive Officer. “Our drivers are committed to getting people to school, work, medical appointments, shopping facilities, and other services every day without fail. For that, I would like to commend their hard work and dedication.”
Whether they are operating RIPTA’s large fixed-route buses or smaller RIde paratransit vans that provide crucial service to people with disabilities who cannot access the fixed-route buses, RIPTA drivers are the ones who keep Rhode Island moving. RIPTA drivers inspect their vehicle at the start of their shift, collect fares, pick up riders, and answer trip planning questions – all while safely maneuvering oversized vehicles down narrow city streets, through unpredictable traffic and in all sorts of weather.
“RIPTA kept its buses running at full-service levels during the pandemic, ensuring that Rhode Island’s essential businesses could continue to operate,” said Normand Benoit, RIPTA Board Chairman. “Our drivers keep Rhode Island’s economy and workforce moving. We appreciate their commitment to delivering a world-class transit system to our passengers.”
“Even with all the obstacles our transit drivers face each and every day they provide a level of professionalism and commitment which is second to none,” said Nick DeCristofaro, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 618 President. “They are truly the backbone of our public transit system, ensuring our passengers reach their destinations safely and on time. We want to thank them for continuously going above and beyond for RIPTA and Rhode Islanders.”
RIPTA is encouraging riders to celebrate and appreciate Rhode Island’s hard-working transit drivers on March 18 by telling their transit driver “thank you.” Riders can also express their gratitude and support by sharing their appreciation on social media using #LoveMyRIPTADriver and tagging RIPTA (Facebook @RideRIPTA, Twitter @RIPTA_RI) or by submitting kind wishes via CustomerService@ripta.com.
For more information on Transit Driver Appreciation Day, visit RIPTA.com/ThankYou