Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
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Seattle, WA 98104
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Metro Bus Operator of the Year for 2001 sets the standard for excellence on the road

King County Metros top bus driver for 2001 is such a veteran that some of the rookies he trained behind the wheel are now "driving" Metro as top managers.

But, Johnny Wade was not interested in trading in his drivers uniform for a suit and tie. For more than 32 years, hes concentrated on just one thing giving his passengers the best ride possible.

"Johnny is a Metro original," said General Manager Rick Walsh. "He trained me back in the 1970s, when I first started as a driver. He even pre-dates the organization, since he was one of the Seattle Transit drivers absorbed into the agency when Metro was started in 1973. Johnny has set a standard of excellence for bus operators for more than 30 years."

Wade was honored today as Metros Bus Operator of the Year for 2001 in ceremonies near the South Bus Base in Tukwila, where he is assigned. The Boulevard Park resident has been driving buses in the greater Seattle area for almost 32 years, and currently drives the express route Metro operates for Sound Transit between Bellevue and Federal Way (ST Express #565). He has a 20-year safe driving record.

"Johnny is an outstanding driver," said his base supervisor Pete DeLeyser. "Twice he tried supervision and both times he decided to return to driving, because he loves people and missed the everyday interaction with his passengers."

Wades supervisors say he is always a willing volunteer when it comes to helping out. Over the years, he has participated in role playing for the supervisor hiring process, as well as being involved in several committees and activities at Metro. That includes bowling with the Metro Bowling League for 17 years. He also rode with the Metro Motorcycle Club for five years, served on the Metro Credit Union board for three years, and currently participates in the Transit Safety Accident Review Board. Wades wife sums it up by saying, "Anything he is asked to do, he is always willing to do it."

He and his wife Dorothy, a retired transit operator, have been married for more than 30 years. They have seven children, including a set of twin boys who still reside at home. He enjoys travel, watching movies, loves playing with his grandchildren, and always has friends and relatives somewhere close by.

Metro employs more than 2,500 bus operators who do all they can to help riders reach their destinations safely and efficiently. Since 1978, the drivers themselves have selected the best of their peers to hold the title of Metro Transits Operator of the Year.

The award honors operators who demonstrate safe driving skills, exceptional customer service, and an outstanding overall work record. In order to receive the award, a driver must be chosen as Operator of the Month from one of the seven transit bases. At the end of the year, the Operator of the Year is selected by a vote of all fellow Operators of the Month.

Wade has been Operator of the Month multiple times in his career, and he has dozens of commendations from passengers. Many of those compliments from passengers include the phrase "exceptional service."

"Johnny is an incredible role model for all our operators," said Curtis Robinson, Metros operations manager. "Hes a skilled driver and a caring, compassionate person who is always looking out for his passengers and co-workers."