Enjoy this new Riderwood Reporter reoccurring column that focuses on various jobs around the campus and how certain employees found their calling.
By Corrinne Lennox
Every week, from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM daily, two shuttle buses circle the Riderwood campus in opposite directions of each other. The express bus picks up Riderwood residents who either are on foot or use walkers, while the local additionally accommodates those in wheelchairs.
Another difference between the two bus-types is their routes. While the express shuttle goes only to the five main building entrances, the local will additionally take its passengers to the entrance of several individual buildings.
As with any other jobs, shuttle drivers express strong feelings about their assignments. One driver, when asked which of the two routes he preferred responded “well, I tried both when I was new, but whenever I drove the express I got lost. With the local, I was fine. I knew right away which was for me.”
Another Riderwood bus is the employee shuttle. That bus picks up students who work in the Riderwood restaurants from five area high schools and brings them to the Riderwood campus. Later an employee shuttle will transport servers, and other employees as well, to several main metro pick up points.
Shuttle drivers take residents to shop at the local Shoprite or Giant stores malls at no cost, weekly. They make several special trips to cultural and restaurant destinations, monthly. These trips are provided for a fee to a minimum of 10 residents
Finally, Riderwood offers trips to assisted living residents from Arbor Ridge on shuttles that are specially designed to accommodate a large number of wheelchairs. These buses travel either to local restaurants or on short scenic trips.
“Shuttle drivers support each other,” says Bob Porterfield, driver and dispatcher in the Transportation Office. “We help each other out.
“We assist the community in many ways,” he says. “For example, it is not unknown for a driver to shovel out a portion of a street clogged with snow and, should a resident be lost, shuttle drivers are uniquely qualified to help. They can see the campus from their elevated vantage point and are familiar with the campus layout. Shuttle drivers have found many a lost resident and returned him to safety.”