Bus Crew Chief for
When Steve Moorman was a teenager, he often thought it would be fun to drive buses professionally someday.
Now, as bus crew chief for Purdue's Transportation Service, Moorman not only drives buses for University groups that need large-scale transportation — he also plans the logistics of each trip that the service's four full-time bus drivers and 11 part-time drivers take.
A Lafayette-area native, Moorman says planning trips, driving buses and being an ambassador for Purdue is more fun than he ever could have imagined.
How did you decide on a career involving transportation?
When I was young, most kids would look at a bus, think of school and groan. Not me, though — I always thought it would be fun to drive one someday. I actually started as a part-time school bus driver before I got a full-time job driving buses for a private company here in the area. Sixteen and a half years ago, Purdue needed a new full-time bus driver, and I jumped at the opportunity.
I've been bus crew chief now for about five years. Primarily, I schedule our drivers' trips, with lengths that range from a few hours to several days. I also ensure our fleet receives proper maintenance, and I complete administrative paperwork. I still drive from time to time, too. In that respect, I'm basically a pinch hitter — if someone on campus needs a bus and no drivers are available but I am, I'll take the trip.
How many trips does your area complete in a typical year?
Last year, our drivers completed over 2,100 trips. Four hundred of those were overnight or longer — our destinations covered the map. We went everywhere from Chicago to New York to Washington, D.C., and even to parts of Canada.
Personally, I complete about eight or nine trips each year. They're mostly day trips to places around the state.
Who can schedule a bus trip?
Professional areas, classes, student groups and other official areas of campus can use our services as long as they have a billing account with us. Usually, we take people on trips to conferences, meetings or on academic field trips. Overall, 265 units on campus use our services.
What are your priorities during the trip?
When we take groups on a trip, safety is always our No. 1 priority. Most of our drivers have 15 years of experience or more, so that helps ensure that they're well versed in how to ensure safety, passenger comfort and convenience. It also helps to have experienced drivers who know how to navigate where they're going.
Besides safety, customer service is our biggest concern. We help our clients however we can, whether it's helping them plan their itineraries or just answering their questions.
What's the most interesting aspect of driving buses?
For me, it's the fact that our buses really are rolling billboards for Purdue. Whenever we go, people notice the Purdue name on the sides of our vehicles, and oftentimes alums from all over the country will want to talk with us.
One of my favorite experiences happened one time while I was near Washington, D.C. We had stopped at an ice cream store, and an elderly couple approached me to say they had graduated from Purdue in 1942. They hadn't been back to campus since, so I had a great time telling them about all the ways campus has changed. It was fun watching them relive their memories from Purdue.
What are your plans for the future?
Later this spring, I'll be retiring from my crew chief position. I'll still be working part-time as a bus driver, though, because I truly love the work and my co-workers. For me, this job isn't really work — it's fun. If it wasn't, I'd have found something else to do a long time ago.
* To schedule a bus trip, call 49-46550