INDIANAPOLIS--Being a transit driver can be a rewarding job. Misti El Shabazz has been driving for IndyGo since 2013, and she’s found many friends that way. She talked about her experience for Transit Driver Appreciation Day.
“I have to say the people,” she said, when asked about her favorite part of the job. “I gotta be honest. It is the people. The people that I come acrss, they’re my family.”
Shabazz drives different routes. So, she meets plenty of people. Her work day starts at 5:30 a.m. She gets a break starting at 10:05. At 12:45 she starts the second half of her shift. Her day winds up at 3:35 p.m. It’s a long shift. But, again, she’s with people who, she says, appreciate her.
“I try to make the connection and interact with the people.”
El Shabazz said she was scared to take the job when it was offered to her the first time in 2009, because she had heard stories about aggressive people who ride the bus.
“Well, 2013, I got hired. I was like, you know what, gotta get over that fear. I got hired. No problems, I can honestly say,” she said. Shabazz said that when someone gets aggressive, which does happen from time to time, she meets it head on and does not back down.
Audio titled TRANSIT APPRECIATION INTERVIEW by 93WIBC
Riders have told IndyGo employees that Shabazz gave them guidance when they were looking for housing, help choosing a new TV, a bag of groceries when they were grieving and even a place to go when they’re feeling down.
One rider, Regina McCain, said she once got on Misti’s bus simply to get cheered up. She didn’t have to go anywhere; she just needed a happier place on a bad day. After that, McCain applied to be an IndyGo driver and is now six months on the job.
“I was nervous about whether I could do the job, and Misti shared some stories that really encouraged me,” said McCain.
Shabazz is also an excellent driver. She won the 2018 Local Bus Rodeo, and will compete in Louisville for the international title.