By Elaine Tran, Internal Communications Specialist
Starting this week, the SamTrans Holiday Bus will spread holiday cheer throughout communities in San Mateo County. All are welcomed to catch this bus that will primarily be on El Camino Real, either on the ECR or Route 398.
Ten years ago, SamTrans’ Director of Bus Transportation Ana Rivas and her late husband Elliott Rivas started the Holiday Bus tradition together. Over the previous nine years, as the dedicated project manager, Elliott and his team oversaw the decorations for both the inside and outside of a 40-foot Gillig bus. Each year the team elevated the look and feel of the festive bus by adding in special touches such as a hundreds of Christmas lights, mounting mechanical reindeers on the bike rack and adding snow machines on the roof of the bus. Ana ensured the SamTrans Holiday Bus was included in the annual Redwood City Hometown Holidays Parade. The Holiday Bus was also used in support of local toy drives prior to going into service.
This year’s SamTrans Holiday Bus is dedicated to the memory of our good friend and colleague Elliott. Elliott devoted 25 years to SamTrans and retired from the transit agency as a Manager of Bus Maintenance. The SamTrans Bus Transportation team wanted to commemorate this decade-long milestone by featuring a 60-foot articulated New Flyer bus, which is one of the latest additions to the SamTrans fleet.
Despite restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the planning for this year’s Holiday Bus still moved ahead and was done so under the radar by SamTrans’ Bus Transportation, Bus Maintenance and Marketing and Creative Services teams as the meaning behind this year’s theme for the Holiday Bus was twofold.
Before going into service this week, the Holiday Bus was unveiled as an unexpected surprise for Ana. She was thoroughly touched by the efforts made by the SamTrans family and adored the meaningful details shown in the decorative bus wrap, including references to a black Mustang, which was Elliott’s favorite car and a pink pig holding a wrench, which represented the three-legged pig charm that Elliott carried with him as a good luck token.
The Holiday Bus also provided an opportunity for SamTrans employees to reflect on their own fond memories of working alongside Elliott who, for many, served as their mentor. Overall, seeing the Holiday Bus in the bus yard certainly boosted morale and spurred employees to get more into the holiday spirit.
The Holiday Bus will remain in service for approximately a month through the beginning of January 2021.