November 2018 – The Hop
Milwaukee Streetcar Logo

Get To Know Your Operator

The first class of operators has become certified to operate The Hop. The group participated in an intensive months-long program that covered all of the intricacies of the Brookville Liberty Modern Streetcars. From standard operating procedures to customer service, these men and women are now experts on the vehicles, the route and the services passengers will enjoy beginning this fall. Each week we’ll be spotlighting one operator for The Hop and sharing their unique stories.

Name:

Bob Franson

Hometown:

I have lived in Milwaukee for 60 years! I was away in the Marine Corps for a little bit but came back to call Milwaukee home again.

Where did you graduate high school?

Milwaukee Tech

Where did you attend college?

I went straight into the service at 17 years old.

Where did you work prior to joining The Hop?

I worked for the City of Milwaukee for 35 years and then retired. I came out of retirement last winter to work for the county plowing snow and applied to work for The Hop during this time.

What transit experience have you had?

No transit experience before. This was very new to me.

Why did you decide to pursue an operator position with The Hop?

I saw it posted on the job website and it just seemed very intriguing and like it would be a new experience.  I have been trained on at least a dozen pieces of equipment with the City of Milwaukee. Learning the operation of the streetcar was a much more in-depth training experience than anything I had gone through before.

Why do you think public transportation is important?

To move people to where they need to go.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

When you get to the end and have to switch cabs and you get to walk through the people and they tell you how great the ride is. Best compliment I have received is that I’m a great operator. It makes you feel good.

What’s your favorite thing about Milwaukee?

There is so much to do, especially in the summer with all the festivals. All year round there are just opportunities galore to explore.

What is your favorite spot of the route?

Café Benelux. I have never been on the second level and would love to go up there sometime.

Get To Know Your Operator-Nicole Martin

The Hop streetcars are operated by a talented and diverse group of men and women, many of them Milwaukee natives. Every operator has completed an intensive months-long training program that covers all of the intricacies of the vehicles, including over 80 hours of actual on-street training. From standard operating procedures to customer service, these men and women are experts on the vehicles, the route and services passengers now enjoy. Each week we’ll be spotlighting one operator for The Hop and sharing their unique stories.

Name:

Nicole Martin

Hometown:

Milwaukee has been home for the past 43 years!

Where did you graduate high school?

Rufus King High School

Where did you attend college?

Sanford Brown University

Where did you work prior to joining The Hop?

I worked as a medical assistant/caretaker and was a school bus driver.

What transit experience have you had?

I was a school bus driver for about 7 years.

Why did you decide to pursue an operator position with The Hop?

It was something different. When I first heard about it, it sounded like something new and kind of adventurous—something great for the Milwaukee area. It took me a while to apply, but the job itself seemed like a perfect fit. I wanted to be part of something new that was coming to Milwaukee.

What is something that has stood out while being a part of The Hop?

Change! This was very exciting and new to me. Some people take to this in a positive way and others in a negative way. But our training on how to deal with this new, big piece of machinery in the neighborhoods was very good. I felt very prepared!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Being a part of history here in Milwaukee. I had never experienced or even ridden on a streetcar before, and now I operate one. It’s an exciting time for the city. And I’m a people person. I love dealing with the public and I get that interaction every day! When we get to Burns Commons and switch sides, you get to see little kids’ faces light up and I give them a high five. Even some of the adults like to get in on the action and get high fives.

What’s your favorite thing about Milwaukee?

I’ve seen Milwaukee change over the years and for the most part it’s been positive. There are a lot of things going on here. Our downtown is growing—there are a lot of little places I’ve never heard of or experienced. There are so many places to see and explore in our city. I love Milwaukee and there is so much diversity and a lot of things to do!

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