Gatepost Interview: Tracy Baker – Student Transportation Center Bus Driver

(Thomas Maye/THE GATEPOST)

What was your professional background prior to working at FSU?

I drove a school bus for 20 plus years – this wasn’t much different!

How did you get involved at FSU specifically?

I was looking for a full-time [job], where I didn’t have to take summers off, and this job came up on my computer. In May 2013, I actually applied for the job, came in for an interview, and didn’t get the job, but I think it was November of ’13 when the manager – who wasn’t Kim at the time – called me and said it was open again and she wanted me to come in and apply. I started working here on January 3 of 2014. 

How has Framingham changed since then, as far as you’ve noticed?

Most of my ‘noticing’ has to do with driving. I know that they’ve acquired Danforth, so [the route] takes us out over there [now]. They didn’t have the Franklin Route when I started. 

What would you say this job means to you?

I love the job. I meet lots of different, interesting people, and … the thing about me is that I had no self-confidence, but this job has taught me I can do more, and I’ve almost flourished in the job. … I love the people – I absolutely love the people. I drive over an hour to get here – if it wasn’t for the people, I would’ve found a new job a long time ago.

What’s something students should know about the Student Transportation Center? 

When I started, it was a lot smaller. It was four parking lots, two shuttles – and you either had one or two – you never had three [shuttles] going around. We didn’t have Danforth – we never had to go there. We didn’t go to the commuter rail five times a day – we went a couple times a night, and that was attached to the RamTram. … I know that STC has gotten a lot of bad publicity. First off – no matter what we do, we’re never going to satisfy everyone and make everybody happy. It’s an impossible task. But, I know that as a whole, we’re trying to improve. … My hours just changed to try and suit a bigger demand. So, instead of coming 7:15 to 4, I come 6 to 2:45 so I can help with that. There are still times during the day where there’s one driver, and that’s because one’s going to Danforth and one’s going to the commuter rail, [which] leaves you with only one driver [serving the lots]. So, I do know this year that we are trying, and we’re putting more things in place to make the service more efficient and to suit the growing demands that the passengers have. … The thing is that we don’t have more resources. … The resources we had that just served the parking lots are the same resources we have now serving the parking lots, Danforth, and commuter rail. We know that there’s problems and we’re trying to address each. We just found out there was a problem with a particular couple of hours on Monday nights, so we added a second driver because there was only one. We take each problem and try to address it as much as we can, with what we have … I don’t think it’s necessarily that the students don’t have patience. I think that they don’t know, so I think maybe letting them know what’s going on [helps]. 

What would you say some of your favorite songs are?

My go-to genre is country, but I love the Irish, and the Italian, and the Disney [music] – I don’t have a favorite! I keep it very shuffled so I don’t get bored, and I pick on the passengers [to choose songs].

Do you have any advice for finding the best parking spots on campus?

Personally, I have found, driving the two Maple Lots, that the Commuter Lot is right down the hill and is so convenient, so it fills up fast, but the Athletic Lot hardly ever fills. So I, personally, would never fight with the commuters. I’d go to the Athletic Lot. 

Do you have any advice for FSU students?

Work hard – you’re paying for your education. … Life is never going to be easy, ever. I understand a lot of things in the world have changed, but … you just have to let things go the way they are. Work hard with whatever goal [you’re] working toward. 

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