From left to right, Alex Briseño, chairman, Via Board of Trustees; Manuel Valdez, Via bus operator; Jesse Quintero, Via bus operator.
Photo credit: Via Metropolitan Transit
Two of Via Metropolitan Transit’s bus operators have been recognized on the national stage for their safe driving records over the course of their long careers.
At the opening session of the Annual Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on May 2, the American Public Transportation Association drew attention to 100 years of safety awards by honoring three bus operators who have completed over 40 years of safe driving. Two of those being honored by APTA, Manuel Valdez and Jesse Quintero, have been driving buses in San Antonio since the 1960s.
Manuel Valdez began driving buses when he was hired by Via’s predecessor, the San Antonio Transit System, in 1967. He drove full-time until he retired in 2000, but he continued to work part-time after that and has completed 46 uninterrupted years of driving without an accident. He continues to drive for Via on route 550/551.
Jesse Quintero was hired by the San Antonio Transit System in 1965, and he also continued to operate buses after his retirement in 2001, completing a total of 48 years of accident-free driving. He currently drives on route 522.
Valdez and Quintero are also members of Via’s Million Mile Clubs, which are part of a program sponsored by the National Safety Council to reward bus and van operators for safe vehicle operations. VIA organized the One Million Mile Club in 1998 and started the Two Million Mile Club the following year.
To qualify for membership in the One Million Mile Club, a bus or van operator must complete 12 and a half consecutive years (or 25,000 vehicle hours) without a preventable accident. To get into the more exclusive Two Million Mile Club, an operator must complete two 12-and-a-half-year periods or drive 50,000 vehicle hours with the same safety criterion. Both Valdez and Quintero have been inducted into the One Million Mile Club and the Two Million Mile Club.
Via also has a Three Million Mile Club that requires a member to have completed three 12-and-a-half-year periods or 75,000 vehicles hours without an accident. Currently Jesse Quintero is the only member of this very exclusive club.