Transit operators are making a difference in communities across Missouri, and many times this goes well beyond the ride they provide from Point A to Point B. In Springfield, City Utilities Route 38 bus operator, Tim Coram, noticed a change in one of his regular riders of 15 SPS high school students. The sudden change in behavior included the student withdrawing from regular conversation with other passengers, and even avoiding the bus ride all together, choosing to walk to school in the bitter cold instead. Coram and his director took immediate action to notify the school of the changes in behavior. Through this intervention, the student was identified and connected to the support services needed to address a problem at home.
Coram was recently recognized with the Power of 1 Hero Award from Springfield Public Schools for his help. “You paid attention,” said FULL NAME HEREBrunner, the principal to the bus operator. “You noticed, and because of your awareness and care, and immediate response, we were able to support this student in a more timely manner. Because you raised the alarm, we were able to intervene quickly.”
Through City Utilities extensive training program, bus operators are trained to be diligent, observant drivers, maintaining a safe environment and supporting their passengers. Coram, like several City Utilities bus operators, transports approximately 160 Springfield Public School students as their primary school transportation, using bus passes distributed by the Health Services department and funded by Care to Learn.
“Bus riders across Missouri are the frontline in many communities dealing with mental, physical and emotional situations every day. Thanks to the many operators who are going the extra mile to ensure the safety and security of their riders beyond the ride, and kudos to City Utilities in ensuring their drivers are equipped with additional training to assist,” said Kimberly Cella, executive director of MPTA.
The Power of 1 Hero Award is a Springfield Public Schools recognition program that celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary work.