After 36 years of dedicated service to DASH and the Alexandria community, Mike Nixon retired on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Mike has been with DASH since our very first day and has helped keep Alexandria moving for 36 years as of March 11, 2020.
Mike described the day DASH launched service in Alexandria as interesting. The transit agency was brand new and faced the challenges of achieving public bus transit that had never been attempted before in the city. Operators and dispatchers worked together to give directions and get passengers to their destinations along unfamiliar routes.
Mike came to DASH with experience as a tour bus operator in Washington, DC. He joined DASH as an operator, but also helped set up bus stops and train other drivers. He briefly worked as a dispatcher a few years into his time at DASH, but preferred being an operator. The AT3, and AT4 and AT9 are some of his favorite routes.
“It’s much different driving over here in Alexandria than in Maryland or DC. The passengers are very nice. That’s one of the reasons I think I stayed pretty long – I love my passengers.”
Mike’s experience, as well as his commitment to safety made him a crucial part of DASH’s training team. Mike helped train many operators during his career at DASH, helping to shape the experience of passengers and operators outside of his own bus.
Mike is most proud of his safety record, his attendance, and the impact he’s had on the community as a DASH operator.
“I’m going to miss my coworkers. I think that will be the biggest thing – getting used to not seeing them,” Mike said. “I’m really going to miss them.”
Overall, Mike says that working at DASH has been, “a great adventure”. After 36 years of exemplary service as an operator and trainer, Mike isn’t ready for a quiet retirement just yet; he plans to obtain his Maryland real estate license and become a realtor. We wish him all the best on this next great adventure and thank him for his many years of dedicated service.
Mike also has some parting advice for how we can all drive more safely.
“The most important thing about operating a bus is if you set your mirrors right, you can’t go wrong. If I’m training someone, I tell them, ‘you’re not leaving this garage until your mirrors are set properly’.”