By Matt Wilson, @WilsonSTComms

I assure you, driving a long and wide SamTrans bus for even just five minutes isn’t easy.

Roel Barredo , Rene Ebro, Cristobal Ibarra  and Jacinto Perez Jr. were recognized for making that difficult task look easy at the April 4 SamTrans Board of Directors Meeting.

All four men named are the Safe Driver Awardees for 2017. Simply put, each of these guys has operated a SamTrans bus for a quarter of a century or darn near close to it without a safety incident. No crashes, no fender benders. Nothing!

Rene EbroEbro was on hand to receive his award on Wednesday. He joined SamTrans in 1988 and has been named Operator of the Month four times. Most impressively, he was named 2016 Operator of the Year.

Ebro’s advice to new operators hoping to do 25 years of safe driving is “stay focused at all times.” Ebro says he enjoys travel in his personal life. At work he characterizes his bus operator work as “serving the community.”

Ibarra was also in attendance to receive his award. An operator since 1987, Ibarra credits following his routine every time he gets behind the wheel. He says he always stays focused and drives cautiously and safely as if it was his “first day on the job.” He moves his body actively behind the wheel to get the best view of the road and to check blind spots.

Given the sedentary nature of driving a bus, Ibarra places an emphasis on physical fitness in his personal life. He

Cristobal Ibarra

enjoys, mountain biking, traveling, camping and just about anything out in nature.

Ibarra’s advice to new operators on repeating his achievement is to “maintain good control of yourself, you can only control your own actions.” He adds that it’s important for drivers to be well groomed as they are the face of the agency.

Roel Barredo and Jacinto Perez Jr. were not able to attend the board meeting, but CEO Jim Hartnett praised them as well for their 20 years of safe driving.

The San Mateo County Transit District’s social media team contributed to this report.

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