Evelyn Trice or “Miss Trice”, as she is often referred to, has been with us for thirty-one years. Coming from a business background, she was employed by Pupil Transportation to be an office assistant in addition to her duties as a school bus operator. Even though driving a school bus wasn’t her preference, she was promised the opportunity to become a relief driver for Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT). Once she got behind the wheel of a big yellow bus and formed relationships with the children, her heart grew fonder of her job each day. She discovered that she truly loved the career path she was embarking on.
When she finally arrived at transit, there were nine active routes and twenty full-time drivers on staff. A very smart and driven woman named Helen Poore was the Director of Transit at the time. Helen and her team of operators exuded an unspoken pride for transit and a strong sense of comradery. When Evelyn walked through the doors at the start of each day, she was reminded of that, especially when she or another operator stepped out of line. They ran a tight ship back then.
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Moving up the ranks, Evelyn found herself thrown into a supervisor’s role where she was tasked with dispatching other operators. One snowy, icy morning while dispatching, CAT’s radios in the office went down. Keeping her composure, she stopped to think for minute. “Ah ha! School bus shares the same radio frequency as ours.” Rushing down to school bus, she hopped on the comms and started to monitor the incoming radio traffic from the transit buses. In this moment, she felt terrified and overwhelmed. With little to no guidance, phones ringing off the hook, radio chatter bouncing off the walls, and buses stuck all over the city, she had her hands full for four straight hours. She was a mess, but with the help of her talented crew, she was able to pull it off. At the end of the day, she was exhausted; however, this stressful experience gave her great confidence in her abilities.
Evelyn has now served as our Safety, Security, and Training Coordinator for the past three years. Her day-to-day activities consist of onboarding new employees, conducting OSHA training with the maintenance staff, and coordinating on-site training in conjunction with agencies such as the Federal Transit Administration and the Community Transportation Association of America. She also ensures that CAT is compliant with all the latest safety and security standards. Although she is passionate about her current position, there are times when she misses interacting more closely with the operators. However, she now enjoys working with various departments and agencies throughout Charlottesville, the commonwealth, and the nation.
No matter what she’s working on, Evelyn finds purpose in building a better CAT and never stops learning. She is a true people person who has formed strong bonds with the entire staff. As her final years at CAT quickly approach, her dreams of retirement come closer to reality each day. Continuing in the field of safety, she plans to teach after retiring; and when not teaching, Evelyn will be living out her dream of traveling the country with her loving husband and family. Until then, we salute her for her years of dedication to CAT and for sharing her kind spirit with all of us.