A Seat on the Bus

For nearly 40 years, Bus Operator Joyce Adams-Watkins has been keeping Sacramento riders on the go.
Photo courtesy of Joyce Adams-Watkins

By Anne Stokes

For 38 years, Joyce Adams-Watkins has been getting Sacramentans where they need to be. We talked with Sacramento Regional Transit District’s senior-most bus operator to see what it’s like keeping Sacramento moving.

How did you start your career with SacRT and what has it been like for you?

In 1980, in July, I applied for a job at SacRT. My father was a bus driver, so I’m a second-generation bus driver and my son works at SacRT too. But he’s not a bus operator, he’s a supervisor.

Working for SacRT helped me to raise and take care of the needs of my family. I always tell new employees, ‘Keep coming to work, it’s going to pay off.’ It’s a good job.

What changes have you seen over the past 38 years?

I started working at SacRT in 1980 … at that time, they didn’t hire many women (drivers), it was predominantly a man’s job. I think when I (started), you could count the women maybe on both hands.

When I started, there was no light rail. … All the buses were on the hour, every route was on the hour (and)…I remember when they didn’t have any routes on the weekends.

Do you have a favorite route?

Every route that I’ve ever been on! I’m a people person anyway, I understand the needs of the people for public transportation and I do my best to make sure they can get where they have to go.

What do you want people to know about how important public transportation is for the community it serves?

SacRT takes care of the needs of the people in the community. There are a lot of seniors who have to go to the store or to the doctor. Public transportation has improved their service here in Sacramento.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I think SacRT is a great place to work. I like going to work, I like driving the bus, I really do. I could retire, but I’m still here. Everybody asks me, ‘When are you going to retire?’ I’m healthy, I’m not sick or anything and I enjoy my job. I pick up all kinds of people, I enjoy it.