The San Antonio-based VIA Metropolitan Transit’s board of trustees honored bus operator Jesse Quintero Jr. for 50 years of safety behind the wheel of a bus.
Quintero has been driving buses since he was first hired by the San Antonio Transit System (SATS) in 1965. When VIA took over public transportation operations from SATS in 1978, Quintero continued driving full-time until he retired in 2001. Immediately after retiring, Quintero began driving part-time for VIA, and in August 2015, he completed 50 years in his distinguished career.
Quintero’s five decades of driving is a significant achievement in itself, but that milestone is even more commendable because Quintero has never had a preventable accident while on the job. Quintero’s safety record has earned him memberships in VIA’s Million Mile Clubs, which are part of a program sponsored by the National Safety Council to reward bus and van operators for safe vehicle operations. VIA organized the One Million Mile Club in 1998 and started the Two Million Mile Club the following year.
To qualify for membership in the One Million Mile Club, a bus or van operator must complete 12-and-a-half consecutive years (or 25,000 vehicle hours) without a preventable accident. To get into the more exclusive Two Million Mile Club, an operator must complete two 12-and-a-half-year periods or drive 50,000 vehicle hours with the same safety criterion. VIA also instituted a Three Million Mile Club in 2004 to honor the one bus operator who had completed three 12-and-a-half-year periods or 75,000 vehicle hours without an accident. That operator was Jesse Quintero and, to date, he remains the only member of this very exclusive club.