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Metro Transit Division

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Metro 'Driver of the Year' is a customer favorite above and below ground

For 27 years, bus driver David Alexander has been a role model for King County Metro Transit. He has a Photo: Ron Sims and David Alexander long-time safe-driving record. He cares for his customers. And, he never tires of helping people get where they need to go. For all those reasons, and more, his peers have chosen Alexander as the 2004 Metro Operator of the Year.

"Dave drives to serve, says one of his supervisors. He truly enjoys the role of helpingpeople."

Its been a hectic past few weeks for Metro, as staff prepared for the closure of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. So, it is fitting that this years honoree is a veteran tunnel-route driver whose excellence shines both above and below ground.

Alexander, 63, is extremely popular with his passengers on the Routes 71, 72 and 73, which serve Downtown Seattle, the University District and North Seattle, and formerly operated in the tunnel. Over the years, customers have written letters to Metro urging that Alexander receive some sort of special recognition. This is a typical commendation:

"I have taken many, many bus rides in North Seattle over the past 30 years," wrote a Metro customer. "A great many have been with a driver named Dave."

"Daves courtesy, reliability and safety over these many rides has been so consistent, and so consistently impressive, that I feel this compliment is long overdue. There is no single incident I would like to commend, just 30 years of exceptional work."

Other customers have praised Alexander for his friendliness and willingness to answer any question. They also noted he has a cool demeanor when dealing with difficult passengers.

"Passengers and co-workers all enjoy Dave's helpful, patient, easy-going, and humorous manner, which he uses to his advantage to provide outstanding service," said Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond. "Dave is a great example of all our bus operators who have to deliver the service day in and day out.  When all is said and done, they are the ones responsible for the high marks in customer satisfaction Metro consistently receives from its passengers."

Alexander was honored today in a surprise ceremony at Metros South Training Center in Tukwila, which was also attended by members of his family including brother Paul, who is a Metro transit planner. He was tricked into coming to his surprise party when supervisors asked him to attend a meeting to discuss good customer-relations techniques. They knew he couldnt resist that invitation.

When asked to make a few comments at the end of the ceremony, Alexander instead chose to hold an impromptu question-and-answer session.

He attended Sealth High School in West Seattle, and after graduating he joined the Marine Corps for four years where he spent time in Japan.  Alexander starting driving for Metro in June 1978, and met his wife, Nancy, when she was a passenger on his bus in the University District. They now live in North Seattle.

When they have time off, Alexander and his wife enjoy camping and their rig is just a few feet shy of being as big as a bus. Their 25-foot luxury camper trailer has all the comforts of home, including a deluxe kitchen, which allows them to go on extended trips in style.