Snohomish County, Wash. – Ray Harnisch, Community Transit bus driver, was honored today for reaching three million miles on the road without a preventable accident. He is the second driver in the agency’s 41-year history to reach this milestone.
It’s a feat that would take the average American driver nearly 225 years to accomplish – the equivalent of 120 trips around the world or more than six trips to the moon and back.
The transit agency’s Million Mile Awards follow strict National Safety Council guidelines for driving without a preventable accident, and it takes about 12.5 years of full-time safe driving to reach each million-mile mark.
For Harnisch, that means 37 years of safe bus driving in stop-and-go traffic, day in and day out.
Harnisch, who drove for the U.S. military before joining Community Transit in 1997, accepted the accolades with modesty. “I didn’t earn this by myself,” he said. “There is a big team working hard to make this possible.”
Community Transit has six two-million mile awardees currently on the road, but only one other driver in the agency’s history, Earl Richardson, has reached the three-million mile mark. Richardson left the agency in 1995.
When asked about his favorite moments on the road, Harnisch said that he enjoys seeing school kids in the mornings, because they wave at him.
“And I wave back at them,” he said, “because I want them to know, when they get older and can ride our buses, that bus drivers are friendly. We’re there to help.”
The award ceremony was attended by dozens of Harnisch’s co-workers. CEO Emmett Heath thanked him for his service to the citizens of Snohomish County and to Community Transit, presenting him with a jacket, plaque, certificate and pin, all personalized with a special black and gold “Three Million Mile” logo.
Harnisch’s photo will also be featured on the sides of 10 buses for the rest of 2018 to celebrate his accomplishment.
Community Transit is responsible for providing bus and paratransit service, vanpool and alternative commute options in Snohomish County. The agency is building a network of Swift bus rapid transit lines, with Swift Blue Line along Highway 99 and Swift Green Line, between Canyon Park/Bothell and Boeing/Paine Field, coming in 2019.