Have you seen an RTS bus with “Olivia,” “Ian,” or “Javon” scrolled above its windows? Those names aren’t there for decoration – each name is that of a child or grandchild of an RTS employee.
The story behind these named buses goes back to 2009, as a tradition of naming newly acquired buses was just getting started. Every employee is invited to send the name of a child, 12 years or younger, to be displayed on that year’s set of new buses. Once all the entries are in, our CEO Bill Carpenter randomly selects the names by pulling them out of a hat. On the final draw, the ballots are tossed in the air, and Bill snatches one before the entries flutter to the ground.
Once the names are placed on the buses, children, employees and their family members are invited to a “Bus Naming Ceremony.” Each shiny, new bus is on display with each child’s name, and Bill presents each child with a keepsake certificate. Everyone gets a chance to see their bus, enjoy snacks, take pictures, and enjoy one another’s company. The names remain on the bus for the duration of its “on the road” life – typically 12 years.
These celebrations span the entire RTS family, including Monroe county, our seven regional subsidiaries and our paratransit service, RTS Access. This tradition is a wonderful way for employees and their families to be involved in the expansion of our fleet, and for customers to experience a friendlier ride.
This year, seven locations welcomed new buses including RTS, RTS Access, RTS Wayne, RTS Wyoming, RTS Seneca, RTS Orleans, and RTS Livingston. With a total of 74 buses acquired, and six Bus Naming Ceremonies enjoyed by staff and family members, 2016 was a fantastic year!