Dedicated to Driving: Operator of the Year grows roots in Oregon


Driving a 40-foot-long TriMet bus has its challenges. But it’s nothing like the school bus Lyn Simons drove in Grants Pass, Ore.

“I like this better. It’s not as loud — kids can get really loud,” says Simons, chosen by her co-workers as 2015 Bus Operator of the Year.

Simons also appreciates the variety of routes.

“There’s some kind of run for everybody,” she says. “There are the busy runs and there are the laid-back runs.”

Today she’s driving a busy run, Line 6, which begins near Providence Park and ends at Jantzen Beach before returning downtown.

Simons simply loves driving. In addition to her school bus gig, she’s also worked for a charter company in Tigard before joining TriMet in 2002.

Simons, who lives in Milwaukie, seems to have grown roots in this area. It’s understandable, as her hometown, Eagle Mountain, Calif., is a bona fide ghost town. The desert community shuttered in the early 1980s after the demise of the Kaiser Steel iron mine, where her dad had worked for many years. (Eagle Mountain also was the origin of another Henry Kaiser endeavor, Kaiser Permanente.)

“A lot of the kids I grew up with still pine for Eagle Mountain,” says Simons. “Everyone knew each other. It was safe.”

Despite her preference as a homebody, one thing gets Simons out of the house — her six grandkids. She and her husband, Jay (also a TriMet bus driver), go to Texas and California twice per year for visits. Even with her desire to be behind the wheel, she flies to those destinations.

Above all, the affable Simons aims to please her riders. She says one of the most stressful parts of her job is when one of her passengers tries to make a connection and traffic is at a standstill.

Simons likes the people she works with, the pay and benefits and, of course, being home every night.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had, and I’m grateful for it.”

Congratulations to the 2015 Operators of the Year: Lyn Simons, James Hilliard and Catherine McLendon.

Interested in a career with TriMet? We’re hiring bus operators!

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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