I "picked my work" today. That' little phrase wouldn't have made any sense to me until I got acquainted with Metro Transit. Bus operators (a.k.a. drivers), even rookies like me, are given a choice of routes. I was the last to pick. I had three time cards to choose from - I picked one with a morning trip from Smetana Road in Hopkins to downtown Minneapolis and two afternoon runs -- one from downtown Mpls to Maplewood and another from downtown Mpls (again) to Wayzata. I'll begin driving those trips one week from tomorrow.
All of the trips that will be a part of my daily "duty" will be driven in 62 foot long articulated buses. After our several hour long orientation to the Heywood* garage, an instructor took us out in an "artic" so we could see how they work. The four of us from our class who are assigned to FTH* all took our turn driving, learning how to make right and left turns in what is now the third kind of bus we've driven during our training.
Here's a photo from this afternoon.
This particular "pick" (the morning and afternoon pieces of the routes I'll be driving) will last about 3 weeks. It just so happens that Metro Transit's quarterly schedule of duty assignments means that our "pick" will end in early August. Then we'll "pick" again, in order of seniority. I'm part time, so the choices I have are limited to those that are listed for part time.
Today was the first time we picked our work - but, in our group of four trainees, I was the last to pick my work. I was glad to be last because I believe, in some way that I can't fully understand, that God is in control of all of this. I play my part, and I don't always hang back (I leaped up when our instructor asked who would be first to drive the artic!) but for some reason I thought I should, in some way, leave the pick in God's hands.
My first trip will take me to the Hopkins neighborhood where my son Jon and his wife Breanna live with their daughter (my granddaughter) Lydia. That will be in the early morning. Then I'll have my "spread" - about 7 hours I think it will be - from about 8 AM until after 3 PM. Then I'll do the Maplewood trip, across from Minneapolis to St. Paul and beyond on Highway 94, south a bit on 494 to the area of the Maplewood Theater. Then, after deadheading back to downtown Mpls, I'll drive that trip to Wayzata. I rode that route a few times back in 2011 when I was taking a psychology class at North Central.
I'm trusting that God will bless this pick, even though the thought of being out on my own in that gigantic articulated bus gives me the willies. I appreciate your continued prayers for me and for all who work in transit.
*"Heywood" and "FTH" are short for the "Fred T. Heywood garage" located close to downtown, just north-west of Target Field. Click here for a map. I picked that garage last week... but really there was no choice since I was the last to pick. I am the lowest in seniority in this class, simply because I was the last one to get my physical and drug test taken care of in May. Having to pick last pushed me into my new experience with "artics" (pronounced as in the first part of the word "articulated"). The other choice that was open to our class, the "Nicollet" garage, does not have those frighteningly long buses.