GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The recipient of the Interurban Transit Partnership (“The Rapid”) 2018 Bus Operator of the Year Award is an El Salvadoran who’s made the American dream come true in Grand Rapids.
Yemny Garcia was born in Central America’s smallest country and came to the United States when she was 11 before arriving in Michigan 14 years later. Today, the Grand Rapids mother of three daughters is being recognized with The Rapid’s highest honor for public service on National Transit Driver Appreciation Day.
“The Rapid’s bus operators like Yemny keep our community moving,” said Michael Bulthuis, The Rapid’s Marketing and Communications Manager. “They maneuver through traffic and weather conditions of all kinds to get our riders safely to work, school, appointments, and everything in between. And on top of ensuring the safe and timely arrival of passengers to destinations, they also must check fares, give directions, and ensure that the needs of passengers are met accordingly.
“Let’s be honest, bus operators make multitasking look second nature. And most do it all with a smile – especially Yemny,” Varga said. “I’m proud to say Yemny Garcia epitomizes the hard-work ethic that demonstrates all the qualities we celebrate on National Transit Driver Appreciation Day.”
The Rapid’s annual Bus Operator of the Year Award is based on monthly performance reviews of the Greater Grand Rapids public transportation system’s approximately 300 drivers by supervisor staff in combination with peer driver input. Garcia earned the accolade based on her winning attitude and willingness to help passengers over her 12-year employment record with The Rapid.
Garcia, who praised her mother for inspiring her to pursue a bus driver career in the historically male-dominated public transit operator industry, credited her colleagues and the passengers she greets daily for motivating her to do her best.
“It’s amazing. It’s a privilege,” Garcia said about the award. “To my passengers, thank you for riding The Rapid. Thank you for being part of this community. So, respect us, value us, as we are. And for our drivers, keep on doing the good work every day we go out there.”