From as young as I can remember, I’ve always ridden public transportation, i.e. buses. My mother was not able to read or write English very well, so she turned to me once I was able to read and write. We were always on the bus, going from job to job (she would clean people’s houses). It wasn’t easy at first, being so young. I had to remember what time we needed to catch our bus, and where. I was a navigator without a real detailed map (or GPS for that matter LOL).
However that changed in 2001 when my hometown transit agency, VIA Metropolitan Transit, revamped the entire system by eliminating or creating new routes, and making the schedules and maps easier to read and understand. That’s when I really took it upon myself to memorize the system, and I had succeeded. I was the go-to guy for bus information and yet I was only 12! Even at that age, I started taking a few photos (about maybe 20 or so) using disposable cameras, but that outlet never lead to anywhere until a couple of years later when I would buy my first digital camera.
By early-2008, I was starting to get bored with VIA. I started to look for alternatives, and that’s when I discovered a nearby town with potential: Austin, TX. I did so much research on their transit agency, Capital Metro, and on the city. It wasn’t until I finally visited the capitol city in September of that year that I fell in love with the city, and the transit agency. It was so different from what I was used to, and it excited me. I knew then that I would return time and time again. It also made me appreciate all of the memories I have on VIA, and it never officially became boring to me after that.
To this day I’m a bigger transit addict than when I was 12. I’ve done a lot of research, from engines and transmissions, to bus manufactures and other transit agencies. My first big step was to join the Flickr community of taking and posting transit-related photos. Years later, I would join the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board (CPTDB), and a couple of Facebook groups. I have also expanded my bus research from San Antonio and Austin to other major Texas cities, including Fort Worth, Denton, Dallas, Waco, Corpus Christi, and Houston.
So what’s my next step? Becoming a driver, of course! I applied at VIA back in October 2017, and was hired immediately. November 1, 2017 was my first day of training, and my first day at a great company. It was a long four months of intense training, everything from DPS prep, to classroom drills on fares and block paddles, and of course driving the buses themselves. As of March 5, 2018, I can finally call myself a bus operator for VIA Metropolitan Transit. My dream has finally come true!