Meet Justina Carrillo, Our Part-Time Bus Operator of the Year

As a TriMet bus operator for the past 13 years, Justina Carrillo has had her share of good days and challenging ones.

One day was downright bizarre.

“I had one passenger tell me how to rob a bank,” she says. “He said ‘Just remember, these are the keys so you won’t do hard time.’ I laughed so hard.”

Another day that stands out for Carrillo happened just last month — her co-workers voted her as the 2016 Part-Time Bus Operator of the Year.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” says Carrillo, who typically drives Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd and Line 85-Swan Island. “It surprised me. People are still coming up and saying they saw me on the website. It’s very nice to be recognized.”

Carrillo, no doubt, deserved the award. She’s already collected 21 National Safe Driving Awards — meaning no preventable accidents in 21 years of driving — and six Superior Performance Awards, earned by working at least 1,960 hours with no preventable accidents, warnings, reprimands or suspensions.

The secret to her success?

“It’s about safety first and trying not to take everything personally,” she says.

Getting started

Growing up in SE Portland, Carrillo’s parents always used TriMet. She even recalls riding buses on TriMet’s predecessor, the defunct Rose City Transit Company, as a young child.

“It’s funny that I drive professionally because my parents never drove,” she says.

After her parents passed away, Carrillo needed “something to do.” She started as an operator and trainer for LIFT, our paratransit service.

She spent 11 years at LIFT and was looking for a change. Another colleague persuaded her to apply to become a bus operator. It wasn’t the smoothest transition.

“At first, I didn’t like it,” Carrillo says. “My co-worker said to give it six months. She was right, because after six months, I really started to like it. It was like a second hat.”

Twenty-four years later, she’s still with us.

Justina Carrillo (3 of 3)

Pastimes

Carrillo has a life outside TriMet, which usually involves catching salmon or trout in the Columbia River.

“I’m not into catch and release,” she says. “I want to keep it if I spend all that time out there.”

She also tends to her vegetable garden where she grows tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

One of her favorite pastimes is bingo, although it’s lost its popularity over the years. Carrillo says there used to be a dozen or so bingo halls all over town. Now there’s just a few left, including her favorite, DAV Bingo, in NE Portland.

No stopping her

Five years down the road, Carrillo envisions being in the same career. She may go full-time, but really appreciates the flexibility of her part-time schedule, which is 30 hours per week.

Her shifts go by fast because she enjoys what she does (despite the occasional advice on how to rob a bank).

“I like the people on my route,” she says. “I also love seeing the city and seeing the changes going on in the Portland area.”

We’re hiring bus operators! It’s $15/hour to start, and $28/hour after three years, with great benefits (including a 401K plan)! On average, part-time operators have the opportunity to go full-time after six months.
Interested? Apply today!
Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Five Fun Things To Do in July!

Nothing beats an Oregon summer. After so many months of rain, we welcome the sun with open arms and celebrate the warmest season of the year with brews, blues, and inner tubes!

Here are a few fun events taking place this July and, of course, you can #GoByTransit!

Waterfront Blues Fest: July 1-4

LoveBomb Go-Go | Photo by Brit Forbes
LoveBomb Go-Go | Photo by Brit Forbes

Listen to some great tunes and help fight hunger at the same time! For its 29th year, the Blues Fest will take over the South Waterfront from July 1 through 4.

waterfrontbluesfest.com

The Big Float: July 10

Grab your inner tubes and get ready for the Big Float! Celebrate the Willamette River at this annual event — and everyone’s welcome! (This year the float features two 100-foot Slip & Slides!)

thebigfloat.com

Portland Highland Games: July 16

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The Highland Games bring the sights and sounds of the Scottish highlands to Rose City. Bagpipe bands, whiskey samples, highland dancers — there’s something for everyone at this event!

phga.org

PDX Pop Now! July 22-24

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This free, all-ages, non-profit festival returns this year with performances from 43 Portland artists. Catch the music, a street fair, food carts and more under the Hawthorne Bridge at AudioCinema.

pdxpopnow.com

Oregon Brewers Festival: July 27-31

Now, it wouldn’t be an Oregon summer without the annual Oregon Brewers Fest! For the 29th year in a row, you can sip more than 80 independent craft beers along the banks of the Willamette River. (Must be 21+ to attend this event.)

oregonbrewfest.com

Get out and enjoy fun in the sun — we’ll do the driving!

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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How We Roll Pop-Up Event [SLIDESHOW]

We took over Pioneer Courthouse Square yesterday afternoon to hand out fun stuff, play games, take pictures and say thanks to our awesome riders.

We loved seeing all the smiling faces — some of them might end up on our next wrapped bus or train!

View this slideshow on Flickr

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Settling down: Jeffery Evans’ winding journey to MAX Operator of the Year

OOY 2016 - jeffrey

Jeffery Evans was in a rut. He was working as a revenue officer for the IRS in Colorado, collecting delinquent tax returns.

“It’s a lot worse than it sounds,” he says.

He kept at it because of the good wages. The stress, though, took its toll.

One day, his wife suggested he quit. So he did. Together they traveled the world — Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand and all over North America.

Eventually, their travel funds ran dry and reality set in — they had to return to work. But they were not keen on Colorado, or where they had met and lived previously, the Bay Area.

“We rented a truck and drove up I-5,” Evans recalls. “We had no idea where we were going to go, but knew we wanted to check out Portland and Seattle.”

They never made it to Seattle. The couple stumbled upon a condo in Lake Oswego’s Mountain Park community and quickly began their second careers, his wife with the State of Oregon and Evans, with TriMet as a bus operator.

Train buff

He spent seven years operating a bus, but he always had his eye on MAX Light Rail. His love for trains goes back to his early childhood days in Kankakee, Illinois.

In the mid-1950s, his family had a small house near the main railroad line. Every afternoon, Evans’ mom would take him out into the yard to see “Harry the Choo Choo” engineer pull up and blow his whistle. Evans, about three years old at the time, would smile and wave. His dad began calling him “Box Car,” a nickname his brother revived when TriMet hired him as a MAX operator in 1998.

He’s paid it forward. He gets joy from seeing a child on a platform or sidewalk with their parents, giving an extra toot on the horn, or ring of the bell. “It always lifts me up,” he says. “It makes a good day that much better.”

His longevity and dedication to his profession has paid dividends as well. Just last month, TriMet bestowed upon him one of its highest honors — MAX Operator of the Year.

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MAX and bus operators qualify for this award based on outstanding driving records, customer service and attendance. Fellow operators vote for the winners.

“It was a feeling of excitement and shock,” he says when he first learned of the award. “It was like I was standing away watching myself, almost like an out-of-body experience.”

So long … and thanks for the memories

Coincidentally, a week after he became MAX Operator of the Year, Evans retired. He and his wife are leaving Oregon and building a house in Sedona, Arizona. They’ll move in next month.

He won’t quickly forget TriMet, however, where he made many great memories and friends. He enjoyed the independence his job brought, which allowed him to trade shifts with co-workers so he could take longer vacations.

As a bus operator, he fondly remembers driving an extra service bus and picking up three high school prom-bound couples whose limo had broken down on SW 5th and Washington. Evans picked up the kids, who were noticeably excited (and relieved), and cruised down NW 23rd with the prom-goers waving out the window to bystanders on the sidewalk. Once they got to Montgomery Park, the official yearbook photographer took photos of all the couples exiting the bus.

Also, earlier this year, he briefly appeared in a Siemens commercial filmed in Portland and Gresham, a process he enjoyed being a part of.

Final stop, Arizona

Evans is excited to explore Arizona’s wilderness on foot and motorcycle. He plans to backpack through the Grand Canyon and Sycamore Canyon. He looks forward to cruising on his motorcycle down to Baja and central Mexico.

Jeff Evans

Will he miss Oregon? The short answer: Yes.

“We have many friends we’ve made over the years here,” he says. “As it turns out, the best time of year to visit Oregon is the best time of year to be out of Arizona. I envision about this time every year loading up one of our vehicles with camping gear, heading to Southern California and driving up coast. We’ll hang out in Oregon until I see the first rain cloud, and get back to Arizona.”

It appears Evans is ready to grow new roots in the desert.

“I think Sedona is going to be our final stop — this place is perfect for us.”

Interested in a career with TriMet? Apply today!
Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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2016 Rose Festival Events

Once again, it’s time for the annual Rose Festival! This Portland summer tradition has been celebrated for over 100 years, and this year the theme is “Excessive Celebration!”

Here’s a quick guide to some of the big events taking place this summer — Avoid the hassles of traffic and parking downtown and let us take you there!

CityFair: June 2-5 and June 9-12

City-Fair

For just a few weekends, CityFair takes over the South Waterfront! Take a ride on the Ferris wheel, get your face painted and eat something deep-fried before it’s too late! CityFair closes at 11 p.m. all nights.

Starlight Parade: June 4

falun-dafa

This year, the Starlight Parade celebrates 40 years! This crowd-favorite parade runs along a 2.25-mile route and lights up the streets of Downtown Portland from 8:30 p.m. through 11 p.m.

Service information during the Starlight Parade

Fleet Week: June 8-12

Since the very first Rose Festival back in 1907, visiting ships and other fleet-related elements (like submarines) have been making their way to Portland’s waterfront — and this year is no different!

One of the purposes of Fleet Week has always been to celebrate and thank the active and reserve military personnel and all veterans.

Service information during Fleet Week

Junior Rose Festival Parade: June 8

The Junior Parade has been an official Rose Festival event since 1936! Join in on the nation’s oldest and largest children’s parade from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Hollywood District.

Service information during the Junior Parade

Grand Floral Parade: June 11

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This floral-filled parade is a beloved annual tradition. The Grand Floral Parade is reflection of all the co-existing communities in Portland, and every year hundreds of thousands of cheering viewers come out to watch this parade wind through the 4.2-mile route through city streets and across the Willamette River.

Service information during the Grand Floral Parade

The Rose Festival parades are typically our busiest days of the year, so please plan extra time and don’t forget your fare!

You can purchase tickets in advance on the TriMet Tickets app, at the grocery store, the TriMet Ticket office, or online. (Also available on the app is a new feature to help you connect with transportation options, like Lyft and car2go.)

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Line 97 will connect Tualatin and Sherwood!

Our friends in Tualatin and Sherwood have no excuse NOT to get together more often. On June 6, we’ll unveil our newest bus service — Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood Rd — the first direct transit connection between the two towns. All aboard!

Line 97 will help connect people to jobs, shopping, services and more in these two growing communities. It also provides an alternative to driving and will ease congestion along the Tualatin-Sherwood corridor.

5-31-16 Line 97 (3 of 4)
Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood is our newest bus line and the first direct transit connection between Tualatin and Sherwood.

The nine-mile round-trip journey will run every 30 minutes during weekday commuting hours. The bus’ first stop of the day is Tualatin’s WES Commuter Rail station at 6:20 a.m. It will then travel through downtown Tualatin, past industrial areas, the Sherwood Market Center, Sherwood Plaza and the new Parkway Village before making a return trip.

Line 97 will also connect you to other TriMet service. In addition to WES, you can link up with other bus lines such as Line 76-Beaverton/Tualatin, which serves Tigard and Beaverton, as well as Line 96-Tualatin/I-5, which goes into Downtown Portland or south to Commerce Circle in Wilsonville. Near the Sherwood Plaza stop, you can also transfer to Line 93-Tigard/Sherwood or Line 94-Pacific Hwy/Sherwood.

5-31-16 Line 97 (4 of 4)
This new bus service runs every 30 minutes during the weekday commuting hours and between the Tualatin WES Station and the Sherwood Plaza.

This is just the beginning of expanded service in this area. In the future, we plan to extend Line 97 to Bridgeport Village, the 72nd Avenue employment area, the Tigard Triangle and into downtown Tigard.

We’re thrilled to bring this new service to these communities. It’s a big part of our goal to bring more buses and trains — and better overall service — to Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties.

Learn more about Line 97-Tualatin-Sherwood and sign up for email alerts

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

More Posts

Instagram Roundup: May

We reached 1,500 followers on Instagram in May — thanks to everyone who’s shared their transit photos with us and helped spread #GoByTransit!

Here are some of the sweet shots that inspired us this month:

Follow @ridetrimet on Instagram »

#trimet #max #lightrail #transit #morninglight #mounthood #mthood #railway

A photo posted by We’ll Just See About That (@verstandinvictus) on

#pdx #portland #trimet #bus #bridge #hawthrone

A photo posted by JohnaMarie (@engagedtone) on

Till next time #PDX ✌🏻

A photo posted by Pokey (@the_pokey_life) on

As always, tag @ridetrimet and #GoByTransit to share your ride!

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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