Steve Sage is the million mile man.
That’s driving 1 million miles without causing a crash. And he’s behind the wheel of a bus.
Sage has been a Whatcom Transportation Authority driver for more than 40 years, longer than anyone else at the agency.
So far this year, the National Safety Council has given the Million Mile Award to 62 U.S. transit drivers, according to WTA, but many of them do long miles on open freeways with few stops. Sage does his work often in and out of traffic, among pedestrians and bicyclists, and during rainy weather that limits visibility.
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“Imagine 40 years of endlessly entering and exiting traffic to pick up passengers, all while answering their questions and helping them make connections. All without causing a single traffic accident,” said WTA General Manager Pete Stark in a press release. “While we are incredibly proud to recognize Steve’s safety record, his passengers and fellow employees recognize him for being a kind person and an extremely professional transit operator.”
WTA officials and members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 843, recently presented Sage with his Million Mile Award.
“While you may think it is easier to be safer at lower speeds, the fact is that it is much more difficult to navigate a 40-foot vehicle in congested areas that have much heavier pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic with narrower streets, etc. compared to cruising down highways,” wrote Matthew Lolkema of the drivers’ union.
He always has a positive attitude and always greets you with a smile.
Matthew Lolkema, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 843
No one knows exactly how many miles Sage has driven those buses. It’s not like he kept a log. The award was earned by driving an average of 25,000 miles per year for 40 years.
Sage previously received a safe-driving award from the National Safety Council at 875,000 miles, a feat that was noted in a November 2011 Bellingham Herald article. At the time, Sage joked that his safety record was because he hates doing paperwork. But more seriously, he credited it to concentration. And he truly enjoys his job.
“He always has a positive attitude and always greets you with a smile, and he shows no signs of slowing down ... even after 40 years!” wrote Lolkema. “Congratulations Steve! Thanks for making us look so good!”