Elite 8 Kitsap Transit bus operators honored for perfect service

BREMERTON — Eight Kitsap County bus drivers will be honored at the Kitsap Transit Board monthly meeting Jan. 3 for achieving a remarkable feat.

Each of the elite eight drivers has recorded a driving record of no preventable accidents for more than 20 years, either consecutively or cumulatively (meaning there might be an accident on a given year, but the total still adds up to 20).

At its regularly-scheduled meeting, the group will be lauded for their accomplishment and will receive cash awards to recognize their contribution to road safety.

According to Kitsap Transit, this is the first time the organization has participated in the Accident-Free Driving Recognition Program, a program sponsored by the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP).

The awards will run between $125 and $500, with the Kitsap Transit group collectively receiving $1,500, along with trophies and framed certificates.

The eight drivers and their length of safe driving records are:

n Valerie Quill, 29 years

n Paul Goodwin, 26 cumulative (non-consecutive) years

n Larry James, 26 cumulative years

n Doug Bauer, 23 consecutive years

n Larry Carbaugh, 21 consecutive years

n Sandra VanWagoner, 21 consecutive years

n John Scott, 20 consecutive years

n Daniel Todd, 20 consecutive years.

The average vehicle accident costs the transit insurance pool $9,900. In addition, there are measurable and immeasurable costs for things like the transit agency’s accident investigation costs, bus downtime, service disruption and lessened public confidence.

Under the WSTIP program, drivers may win progressively higher awards, tied to their length of safe service.

For drivers with 20 to 24 consecutive years of no preventable accidents, they’re eligible for $200 awards; 25 to 29 years, $250; 30 to 34 years, $300; and $500 for 35 or more years of service.

Those drivers who had preventable accidents but otherwise racked up a cumulative 25 to 29 accident-free years receive $125; 30 to 34 years, $150; and $250 for 35 or more years of service.

“To not have an accident in 20-plus years — 29 in one case — is incredible,” said John Clauson, Kitsap Transit’s executive director. “That, to me, shows the professionalism we have in our operators, and certainly I am very proud to be part of that team.”

— Edited by Mark Briant