My first memory of using public transportation was in middle school. I grew up in Pueblo, Colo., a town of about 100,000 people. Some friends and I wanted to go to a particular store in mid-town, a considerable way from our neighborhood. Our parents would not let us ride our bikes, so we figured out how to take the bus. I remember it as a rather pleasant and simple experience, but since it was my first time, I found it to be adventurous. I had no idea then that I would have such a great career in the public transit industry.
David A. Genova, Interim GM/CEO
My first experience was riding the Philadelphia city bus in 1959 at the age of six. I rode the bus with my mother on her first Saturday off; we headed into downtown Philadelphia to go shopping. It was an exciting time for me for two reasons: I had the opportunity to spend time with my mother, who normally worked six days a week, and to put the .15-cent fare in the farebox for her. Looking back on that today, it was not a lot of money; however, it was a big deal for me relocating from South Carolina.
Ann Dawson-August, Executive Director
Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority
My first recollection of using public transit was taking the Chicago & Northwestern train into Chicago. The trains were the green and yellow paint scheme and very old at the time. The terminal for the service was a great old railroad station in downtown Chicago on Madison Avenue. It was torn down in the late 1980s and has been replaced by the CitiCorp building that also connects to the Ogilvie Transportation Center. At the time, smoking was allowed on every train car. My parents were comfortable letting me ride the train to the city with my friends beginning in junior high, and I remember taking the train to Chicago then hopping on the CTA to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game. The train tickets seemed reasonable and the freedom to access the city was tremendous.
Michael Noland, GM
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District
I am the youngest of six and my mom, who grew up in rural Ireland, did not like to drive. So, each day when my sisters left for school, my mother and I would walk to the corner and get on the PVTA buses in Springfield, Mass., to go shopping or to doctor’s appointments. There was one specific driver who gave out lollipops, and I would always be looking for him as the bus pulled to the stop.
Owen P. O’Neil, Executive Director
Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority
used to have an uncle that was a bus driver for Rapid Transit, and I used to catch his bus from our neighborhood downtown to the movie theater. I always remember how special it was, because I’d jump on my uncle’s bus and ride it. He not only was a great bus driver, but he was a great uncle, too. I learned a lot of things from him in life. And, I never dreamt in those days that I would grow up to work for that same transit agency.
Tom Lambert, President/CEO
I was on a trip in Germany and there were several cities where we rode the train. I remember the excitement of rushing to the station and climbing on board to find some seats, then looking out the window the whole time and feeling like I was on some kind of grand adventure.
Linda Watson, President/CEO
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The earliest memory I have is when I was 14, during the summer, and I lived in Bloomington in San Bernardino County. It was a hot day. I was going to the mall to meet friends and it was too far to take my bike. What I remember most is getting on the bus and how great it felt when the A/C hit me. It was so cool inside, the perfect summer ride.
Darrell Johnson, CEO
Orange County Transportation Authority
My first memory was when I was a freshman in high school and I had to utilize transit to get home from school after wrestling practice, because it was the only way I was going to be able to participate. I remember vividly how I would ride the bus back and forth, and then later, went to work for that system in Waukesha, Wis., and remembered the drivers that used to drive me around.
Andrew Johnson, GM
Connect Transit, Normal, Ill.