Recently, Pierce Transit inducted 45 bus operators into the agency’s Million Mile Club. The club is a rare honor in the industry, attained by professional drivers nationwide who have driven a million consecutive miles or more. This feat takes about 12 and a half years to accomplish, and in order to be recognized with this honor, drivers have to do more than simply drive the miles. They must also drive those miles accident-free.

“We’re building a safety culture here that will rival anywhere in the country,” Reggie Reese, Safety Manager with Pierce Transit, says of the program.

Of the 45 drivers who received the recent honor, five were recognized for two million miles or more, and one operator became the first in the agency’s history to be recognized for three million accident-free miles. Each million miles driven equates to about 40 trips around the world, or two trips to the moon and back. It is an achievement that would take the average American driver 75 years to accomplish.

David Newman
Bus operator David Newman was the only operator, and the first in Pierce Transit’s history, to be recognized for driving three million accident-free miles. Photo courtesy: Pierce Transit

The Million Mile Club is something Pierce Transit implemented this year, but it was Reggie’s prior experience with a similar program that helped bring it to the organization. The Million Mile Award was originally started by the National Safety Council and is currently in place at numerous driving-centered organizations throughout the country.

With 25 years in the transit industry, most of it with international privatized transit agencies around the world, Reggie took the idea before the agency in April 2018. It was about a year-long process to get credentials to implement the program at Pierce Transit. During that time, he also garnered support from the organization’s Safety Committee and others so they could help push the project along.

“This could not have happened without the Executive Director of Service Delivery and Support’s sponsorship and the tireless efforts of Safety Committee Chairperson Trish Macomber,” said Reggie. “We also had involvement from others; for example, the distinctive Pierce Transit Million Mile logo was designed by one of our Service Supervisors, Vicky Simpson.”

According to Reggie, the program builds pride in what operators do by recognizing them for the time and safety measures they take in their daily jobs. Pierce Transit’s Million Mile Club qualifications follow strict National Safety Council guidelines for accident-free driving. All current employees who have driven a million consecutive accident-free miles were eligible for club membership this year.

Pierce Transit Million Mile Club Group
Pierce Transit Million Mile Club members at the recognition event. Photo courtesy: Pierce Transit

Moving forward, the agency will recognize new Million Mile Club operators each year, and past recipients are invited to all events going forward. Honorees received a recognition event, and a special jacket with the Million Mile patch identifying their status, making their induction into the club visible to the public.

“Part of our goal is to recognize and perpetuate their performance,” Reggie says of the program.

Of those recognized, there were a few operators whose recognition was extra special. For instance, Leo Randolph, along with his son Leo Randolph Jr. as well as Leo Jr.’s mother Lee Trusclaire, were all inducted into the Million Mile Club.

“I’m honored. It’s a privilege, any time you get recognized it feels great,” says Leo Randolph Sr.

But the senior Randolph is no stranger to recognition. In addition to being a bus driver, he’s also a bit of a local celebrity, since he won an Olympic gold medal in boxing in 1976. Despite all of his accomplishments, Leo’s approaching this new recognition with a humble attitude.

“I’m just trying to enjoy being here, just taking it step by step,” says the boxer and bus operator.

Still at the end of the day, Leo is not only happy with being recognized himself, but also at seeing his son being inducted into the elite club.

“You want your kids to do something great. I’m thankful he’s doing something positive. I’m really proud of him,” Leo says of his son’s accomplishment.

Although they’re unique in that both father and son received recognition for the Million Mile Club, they’re not the only parent and child working within the organization. But according to Leo Jr., it wasn’t always that way.

Million Mile Patch
The Million Mile Patch that goes on the jacket of each Million Mile Club member. Pierce Transit staff created the patch and operators voted to select the winning design. Photo courtesy: Pierce Transit

“There really were no other parent-and-kid combos that worked at Pierce Transit until I came on. Now with the million miles, we kind of set the precedent as a family,” jokes Leo Randolph, Jr.

Humor aside, he acknowledges the endeavor he’s accomplished and admits it’s been a good ride so far.

“I enjoy my job. It was a hard million, but enjoyable getting there as well,” Leo Jr. says.

It’s that knowledge of the accomplishments being hard won in some ways that Reggie says is at the core of how the bus operators dedicate themselves to safety on the job. That’s what Reggie wanted to focus on when he decided to help implement the program at Pierce Transit.

“Our operators dedicate themselves to safety first, and we’re so proud to recognize outstanding people,” Reggie says.

For more information about the program, visit Pierce Transit’s website.

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