Making the wheels on the bus go 'round
Many people are often focused on their own transportation to work each morning.
And Livina Austin's goal is ensuring that everyone who gets on her bus reaches their destination — whether it's work or recreation.
Austin drives TriMet's Line 30, which connects Estacada to Clackamas Town Center, as well as downtown Portland during the weekday morning and evening rush hours. The bus travels along Eagle Creek Road, Highway 224, Highway 212 and 82nd Drive.
Austin has been a TriMet bus driver for nearly 11 years. She's driven Line 30 off and on for that entire time.
"It's a laid back line. It's not as stressful," she said. "I like getting out of the city. There's not as much stop and go, just straight driving."
Austin especially likes driving in the route's rural areas.
"I love the country driving," she said. "There's not as much lower speed driving unless you're at Carver."
Though the Carver Curves — a particularly winding stretch of Highway 224 — aren't an easy section to drive, Austin said they are one of her favorite sections of the line.
"I like to challenge myself," she said. "You really have to watch the mirrors."
Austin also enjoys connecting with riders as they commute to and from work or recreational activities.
"What's unique about the 30 is that the service is great for commuters, and there are many other benefits," she said. "At Carver, you can eat at the Hangar or go around to the river. I like that the (bus) follows the river. I've heard people say that they're taking the bus to go camping. I love that."
Line 30's heaviest loads are the 6:23 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. runs between Clackamas Town Center and Estacada. Austin attributes much of this to employees in the Clackamas Industrial Area along Highway 212 making their way to and from work.
Over the years, Austin has also seen traffic along Highway 212 increase significantly.
"That's the busiest section (of the route)," she said.
Though Austin enjoys many aspects of her job, it isn't always an easy task.
"Each day is a challenge. It's constantly a challenge," she said. "You never know what you'll get into when you leave the garage."
The passengers are one of Austin's favorite parts of the job.
"A lot of passengers will know drivers on this bus. There's definitely face recognition," she said. "I like seeing them, and knowing where their stop is at."