Island Transit lauded for its improved safety record

Whidbey’s free bus service, Island Transit, won a top safety award for improvements in its accident record.

The Washington State Transit Insurance Pool presented Island Transit managers with the 2016 Safety Star Award at a recent board meeting.

“Your hard work and dedication to safety has paid off,” said Al Hatten, executive director of the insurance group. “It’s really your employees that made this happen.”

Island Transit operates 60 buses on Whidbey and Camano Islands. Of its 111 employees, 64 drive buses.

The award was recently created to showcase transit agencies that maintained impressive and stable safety records from 2011 to 2015, Hatten said.

Island Transit ranked as best performer in the medium size category, beating out eight other transit services, including Everett and Skagit.

The award also comes with $3,500 to share with employees.

“We have purchased several items employees will be able to use on the job and to remind them of their efforts that have made Island Transit the 2016 WSTIP Safety Star,” said Executive Director Mike Nortier.

Nortier said the award reflects the company’s “safety culture and professionalism that our operators and staff demonstrate on a daily basis.”

“While this is truly a team effort, much of the credit belongs with our operators,” he said. “They drive and operate in all weather and road conditions and it is truly remarkable how safely they achieve this every day.”