Longest-serving Metro Transit bus operator celebrates milestone

Melanie Benson once thought, "Wouldn’t it be nice to have a job where everyone’s always so glad to see you?"

It was in 1974 when the then-student at Macalester College had the inspiration to pursue a career as a driver for Metro Transit.

Monday marked Benson’s 45th anniversary with Metro Transit. Her milestone day started pre-dawn, and took her along Route 23 with stops from the Uptown Transit Center in Minneapolis to St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood. She’s driven more than a dozen routes over the years but has been on Route 23 for more than two decades.

In 2020, Benson was named Minnesota’s bus operator of the year by the Minnesota Public Transit Association

"I just don’t see the point of leaving something I love," Benson said last year. "This is very much a part of me. Driving is something that just gets into your system—and I would miss my passengers."

Metro Transit hopes Benson’s story will inspire others who are considering a new career, as the agency looks to fill 100 openings.