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A trailblazer for Mason Transit

They say "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." If that is the case, Lisa Cree hasn't worked many days in her life.

Mason Transit Authority celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month, and for 28 of those 30 years, Cree has been driving people around Mason County.

Cree started her driving career in 1990 with Paratransit Services in Pierce County while living in Mason County. Paratransit was the original contractor for transit services in Mason County. Mason Transit Authority was established in 1992, and Cree started driving for MTA in 1994.

"I transferred out here, I had been doing some dispatching also with Paratransit Services so I transferred out here as a driver/dispatcher," Cree said.

Once she got the job at MTA, she stayed. Over the years, she's driven many routes and learned the areas of the county. Cree currently drives the Dial-a-Ride service in North Mason.

"Somebody suggested back in the Paratransit days that they were hiring and it would be a good job and back then, like I said, I was living in Mason County and driving in Pierce County and I thought I knew Pierce County," Cree said. "Turned out, there's so much to learn. But it's fun learning the area and wear out a map book and it's been the same way with Mason County. When I started driving out here, I didn't know the county very well. I knew how to get from Shelton to Tacoma and down to Olympia but there's been a lot to learn and it's been exciting."

She said her favorite things about working at MTA are helping the public, the support of the company and the beautiful scenery in Mason County.

"The maintenance department keeps our buses running top notch, and I have great coworkers, awesome dispatchers," Cree said.

Having driven for MTA for so long, she has a group of regular passengers and enjoys getting to know new passengers.

"I do one route coming out here and so you get a variety of people but with Dial-a-Ride, you get new addresses and new people from time to time but a lot of people you get to know," Cree said. "There's always some exceptions and some difficult people, but by and large, our customers are great so that's been very enjoyable. We help out so many people and it never ceases to amaze you. The people that really rely on the transit for whatever reason, they've lost their license or they just need the transportation to go to school or to work or people that don't routinely ride and we meet them for the first time when they're dropping their car off for service or they've had an injury and they're not able to drive for a while. It helps out a pretty diverse group of people."

With her amount of experience, she helps with driver training by doing on-the-job training. Cree will ride with new drivers while they're learning areas and do some coaching.

Doing something professionally can sometimes make it not as fun in your personal life, but Cree said she has always enjoyed driving.

"There are times during the year where it's more demanding, obviously with the snow and the ice, sometimes we have some flooding out here that can make things a little more challenging," Cree said. "In the summertime, especially in the north end of the county, we get a lot of traffic and so sometimes that can get very demanding."

When she first took the job, she said she never really thought about how long she would be driving with MTA.

"The more I worked out here, the more I thought that this would be a great job to retire at," Cree said. "Just keep doing the job until retirement so maybe another five years."

With the celebration of the 30th anniversary, Cree will be celebrating 30 years of her own in two years time.

"I hit the 25-year mark a while back and that was exciting," Cree said. "It's kind of amazing how time flies. I'm really grateful that I had the opportunity28 years ago to come out here. It's been a great company and I'm privileged to be a part of it."

Author Bio

Matt Baide, Reporter

Author photo

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
Email: [email protected]


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