Bus operators are essential and celebrated at Palm Tran’s Graduation Ceremony

June 21, 2021
Palm Tran operators' rigorous six-week training includes vehicle operations, customer relations and emergency management, with a special focus on protective measures against COVID-19.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL –“I did it, I made it!” Mirvens Lixe said excitedly. “Today is the day that we are graduating.”

Cheers and applause filled the spacious Commission Chambers of Palm Beach County’s Robert Weisman Governmental Center in downtown West Palm Beach after a heartfelt graduation ceremony. Lixe is among seven new employees of Palm Tran Public Transportation; employees who successfully completed six weeks of rigorous training and testing to become the agency’s newest bus operators.

The graduates and their loved ones came together – seated in a safe, socially-distanced manner - to celebrate the beginning of this new chapter in their lives. During the graduation ceremony, Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1577 President Dwight Mattingly and keynote speaker District 1 County Commissioner Maria Marino addressed the graduates.

“Now more than ever, our bus operators are essential in safely transporting passengers throughout the county. They will carry out our mission of delivering public transportation, safely, efficiently and courteously,” Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes said.

Bus operators are tasked with a critically important job, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Equipped with full knowledge of vehicle operations, customer relations and emergency management, these graduates are going out into the world to safely operate public transit vehicles on scheduled routes, provide information to passengers and deliver outstanding customer service.

“Palm Tran is an important uniting force within our community. It brings together individuals from all walks of life, backgrounds and professions. You are a key factor in how our residents and visitors experience and view Palm Beach County,” Commissioner Marino said to the group.

For bus operators, demonstrating the agency’s core values of respect, integrity, recognition, communication, teamwork and safety, is of utmost importance. And that, Forbes said to the graduates, is a two-way street.

“We will always go the extra mile to make sure our operators feel appreciated. Your role is imperative as people look for a new normal. Palm Tran is proud to operate as an essential service - and you are essential to our success.”

The agency’s new normal includes the continuation of pre- and post-pandemic measures meant to protect the health and safety of riders now and for years to come. Some of these measures include contactless wheelchair safety technology, virus- and bacteria-killing UV lights, heavy-duty protective barriers to reduce contact between bus operators and riders, increased bus sanitation and a supply of hand sanitizer on each bus. Policies and procedures are crucial, but they must be paired with a dedicated team of drivers.

“This is no ordinary work – therefore, it takes rigorous training and extraordinary individuals like you to propel the organization forward. Your role as a bus operator for Palm Tran drives community growth and revitalization,” Commissioner Marino said.

An exciting journey has begun for these public transit professionals and a legacy of excellence continues for Palm Beach County’s premier transportation choice.

Graduate Bruce LaRoche, Jr., shared what drives him, “It gives me purpose. I’m really excited to get the job done.”

The June 2021 graduates were: Brandy Bell, Angelo DiGrigoli, April Gadson, Mirvens Lixe, Bruce LaRoche Jr., Tangela Roundtree, Adriana Villa.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to be one of Palm Tran’s world-class bus operators, visit: palmtran.org today!

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Nov. 6, 2013