When he was a youngster, Todd Shade rode the bus around Portland with his grandmother. He told her someday he would be driving the bus. He kept his promise and this year his peers awarded him the title C-Tran Operator of the Year. “I enjoy what I do,” Shade said. “I like the interaction with the riders and other people at C-Tran.”
Name: Todd Shade.
Job/employer: C-Tran coach operator.
How I got into this job: When I was young I would ride buses all over Portland with my grandmother. It was such a pleasure to travel by bus. I told my grandmother I was going to drive a bus someday.
I attended a business college to study for accounting but soon realized that it wasn’t for me. I began working for a General Motors auto dealership. I stayed for about 17 years, and when I saw the business changing, it was an opportunity to move on to something else.
I was familiar with C-Tran since I rode the bus often and I knew the routes. I put in an application and was hired in March 2004 as a part-time driver. At that time, it took about four years to become a full-time driver.
My routes: We have a bid process every quarter, based on seniority, to pick our route. Monday through Wednesday, 5:30 to 9:15 a.m., I drive the early morning commute to Portland, and in the afternoon, 2:30 to 6:15 p.m., I am on the Mill Plain Boulevard route. Saturdays, I am on the Northeast Highway 99 route and Sundays I drive the St. Johns and Fruit Valley route.
Most rewarding part of job: I think it is rewarding to just have my job. I enjoy what I do and each day is different. I like the interaction of the passengers and my co-workers at C-Tran.
Personal/business philosophy: Greet everyone with a smile. Make riding the bus a pleasurable experience. I am ready to help them and like to help so they will come back time and again.
Something you would like to do over: I can’t think of anything I would do differently. I know where people are coming from and I have a lot of empathy with them.
Residence: Downtown Vancouver.
Best feature of my Vancouver/Clark County community: I am a runner and enjoy the view of Fort Vancouver and the Columbia River as I run through downtown, the fort area and on the Waterfront Trail.
What would make your community a better place: Less congestion.
Hobbies: Running, working out and following NASCAR events.
Favorite travel destination: I like road trips and usually go to the Washington and Oregon coasts.
Most interesting television events: NASCAR, of course, and I like to watch the Blazers.
One thing you want to do this year: I would like to take a vacation.
One word to describe yourself: Friendly and helpful.
Person you’d most like to meet: NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
What’s happening outside/inside the bus: People just can’t seem to wait seconds to get to where they are going. You have to be prepared to stop for the drivers who pass and pull in front of the bus or cut the bus off.
I hear many conversations about what is going on in the riders’ lives, including those people who have just come from the Clark County Jail.
Once a guy carried an iguana on board in a big duffel bag. I didn’t know what was in the bag but I was concerned when I saw the bag moving around. Soon an iguana popped its head out. It was kind of funny.