March 18, 2024


ATLANTA – The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) joins other public transit agencies nationwide to celebrate National Transit Employee Appreciation Day and honor our exceptional workforce of dedicated bus and rail operators. 

“MARTA operators are an integral part of the community, helping people get to their destinations while sharing a friendly smile or kind word. Many operators do this job because they enjoy helping other people,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO and one time bus operator himself, Collie Greenwood. “I want to thank the thousands of MARTA employees who keep this region moving and extend a special gratitude to the frontline operators who remain the backbone of this transit agency.”

Today, March 18, and beyond, we encourage customers to show their appreciation to the bus and rail operators on their routes and in their communities. Share a smile, kind gesture, or word of thanks during your trip, and snap a photo with your bus or rail operator and share on social media so we can highlight our valued frontline employees. Make sure to tag MARTA so we can share on our channels. 

Of MARTA’s over 4,000 employees, over 60 percent are frontline employees. MARTA is proud to spotlight three operators as part of National Transit Employee Appreciation Day – Vanessa Singleton, Georilenn Riley, and Torriana Thomas – who love interacting with customers and assisting them on their journey. 

Vanessa SingletonOperator Spotlight: Vanessa Singleton

Vanessa Singleton joined MARTA in 1995, right before the 1996 Olympic Games. How’s that for a first assignment? After almost 30 years as a bus operator, her favorite customers are those who have never been on the system before.

“I like the experience. I like to say, ‘If you ride my bus, you’ve won the special award. Happy MARTA Day!’ This is why I get up at 2 o’clock in the morning and do this every day. For that person who never rode the system.”

Singleton is on a first-name basis with many of her customers and prides herself on being reliable. “I try to be that one constant, from whatever they all go through trying to get to their destination. So, they know, ‘It’s Vanessa, who’s going to leave on time. Vanessa’s going to drive us safe.’”

She wants MARTA customers to know that she and her fellow operators are “giving people” who like to help.  

Operator Spotlight: Georilenn Riley

Georilenn Riley“I move the city.”


That’s Georilenn Riley’s favorite part about being a MARTA rail operator. 

“We're the best,” said Riley. “We always move the city when other people can't move.”

A New Orleans native, Riley moved to Atlanta and a friend recommended she apply to be a MARTA operator. “I did a lot of research and learned it was a good opportunity and a good company to work for, so I went for it,” she said.

Riley spent 5 years as a bus operator before transitioning to rail operator on the Red and Gold Lines. “I like them all,” Riley said of her customers. “I take a lot of pictures with the passengers. Every time I get off the train I see an elderly couple, or kids, and they ask if they can take pictures and I say, ‘Ok!’”

She wants customers to know that MARTA operators like her are “reliable, good people.” 

“We take things personally because we care so much about each and every one of our passengers. When you ride with us, we’ll get you there safely and quickly because we’re avoiding the traffic.”


Torriana ThomasOperator Spotlight: Torriana Thomas

Torriana “Torri” Thomas is a bus operator who has been at MARTA for almost nine years and operates Route 189 in College Park from 4 a.m. to noon. A native Atlantan, Thomas’s favorite part about being a bus operator is the people he serves. 

“I enjoy dealing with the public,” he said. “The public is authentic. You’re going to get their natural, true feelings every day. If they’re in their feelings, you’ll see it. And if you do a good gesture, they’ll show you gratitude.” 

Torri thinks the most important thing for a bus operator to do is be calm and to do what you can to help when customers have questions. “Have patience for others,” he said. “You never know what situation other people have going on. This job takes tolerance and understanding. You must be understanding to everybody around you.”

MARTA is celebrating its operators all week with notes of appreciation, catered meals, and specially designed pins to affix to their operator uniforms showing their “all-star” status. Images of operators will be shared on digital signs throughout the system and on social media.

Remember to take a photo with your favorite operator and tag MARTA so we can share as well. 

MARTA is currently hiring bus and light rail operators, as well as journeyman bus technicians. Potential applicants can learn more about career opportunities at MARTA here .

Connect with MARTA:

Social media – @MARTAtransit & @MARTAservice

Customer service – 404-848-5000


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