Transit prodigy mentors the next generation

May 31, 2011

By Staff

Thirty years ago, Ted Day was a 10-year-old with an interest in King County’s transit system. By that young age, he had memorized all of the bus routes in the Metro system, and was featured as a transit prodigy in an article in The Seattle Times.

Matthew Neisius (left), an Issaquah High School sophomore, met with Metro Transit Service Planner Ted Day to discuss a future transportation career. Contributed

Fast forward to 2011, and the 39-year-old Day now works for King County Metro Transit as one of the agency’s senior service planners. It is a position that taps into his early passion to “fill in all the big spaces without bus runs.”

The Service Planning group is continually updating Metro’s bus system by adjusting the type and frequency of service throughout the county. It also leads efforts for long-range transit planning and integration of Metro’s service with other transportation agencies like Sound Transit.

With his personal and professional background, Day realizes how important it is to help a youthful interest in buses and trains grow into a transportation career. So he recently spent time with Matthew Neisius, a sophomore at Issaquah High School, who has those interests.

“Matthew had some great questions about Metro and about transit careers,” Day said. “I really enjoyed meeting with him to answer those questions and give him some advice about his college plans. We need young people like Matthew to turn their interests into a career, so we can develop the next generation of transit professionals who are passionate about their work.”

Coincidentally, Day met with Neisius the same week that the American Public Transportation Association celebrated its National Transportation Career Day, a national workforce development initiative to introduce students to the vast array of careers in the public transportation industry.

That was exactly the kind of information Neisius was looking for when he first contacted Metro.

“I am very interested in working in the public transportation field and would really like to have a chance to talk to someone who works in that field,” he wrote. “This will help me understand possible career opportunities and courses I should take at Bellevue College or elsewhere after I graduate from IHS.”

Neisius said his interest started at an early age, just like Day. For the past few years, he’s been studying bus schedules and maps, and riding the bus whenever he can.

“I think I’d like a job planning bus routes or helping people get more information about bus service,” he said.

“But I probably wouldn’t want to be a bus driver. That would be too stressful,” he said with a smile.

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