Podcast: True Tales from Metro Bus Operators

Here’s the podcast description from Metro: 

Did you know that bus operators occasionally get lost? Also, that they are all freaked out beyond belief on their first day? And sooner or later (usually later, thank goodness), they have seen at least one naked person while on the job?

Today Metro is doing something new. We are kicking off a mini-season of a podcast called Off Peak. Off Peak explores the secret histories and rarely-told tales about getting around the Los Angeles area.

In this first episode we interviewed bus operators about the things they experience that mere mortals like us never get to see. We talk with Jack Bailey. who retired after 65 years (65!) on the job. In fact, when he started back in the early 1960s he actually spent a few years behind the wheel of a streetcar, except of course streetcars didn’t have steering wheels.

We hear from Leilia Bailey (no relation to Jack) who spent 20 years with RTD moving all the way up to director of transportation. When she started in 1971, Leilia was the first woman operator hired — until then, the agency had an unofficial men-only policy since World War II. And, as you might guess, not everyone was thrilled to see a woman captaining their bus.

We also talk with Metro’s Steve Rank and Bob Holland who have moved up to management, but started out as bus operators and have never forgotten certain shoeless drivers and pint-sized passengers.

And, of course, we hear from operators in the trenches now, like Cesar Valle and Vorice Lombard, whose grace and humor through some tricky situations remind us that there’s a lot more to navigating a bus than being a good driver — although that does help.

There are so many fascinating stories both in the past, and happening right now all over Southern California that go well beyond cars, congestion and Sig alerts. Off Peak’s mission is to bring you a little closer to the people and experiences that are part of our region’s mobility story.

Episodes will be released every other Sunday for the next two months. Please subscribe and like us on iTunes if you do, so others can find us and we can keep bringing you these stories.

Off Peak was produced by The Glue for Metro. 

4 replies

  1. I love this idea. I always think that I, as a passenger, could write a book (or short story) every time I ride the bus. I never considered what the drivers experience. What a wealth of knowledge, information and fascinating stories. I also love the book Beastly Bus Tales by Jim Marquez.

  2. If you like true stories about public commuting in LA, you should check out BUSted! Los Angeles! True stories about getting around LA, told by people who don’t drive. We have been producing live shows all over LA for three years, and we film live webisodes on the first and third Fridays of every month. We have more than 100 videos of true stories taking place on LA Metro on our YouTube page.

  3. The day to day lives of driving a metro bus in a big city has always intrigued me and got my imagination going ever since I was a little kid. Thanks for putting this together together and a big thank you to the drivers for sharing their stories!