Bus driver brings good vibes to Steamboat transit rides
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If you are one of 1.1 million annual passengers who hop aboard a Steamboat Springs Transit bus, you may have had Radcliffe Morris behind the wheel.
The free bus system, provided by the city of Steamboat Springs, is a transportation lifeline for locals and visitors, alike.
Morris is one of 21 full-time drivers and 20 seasonal drivers, who are committed to getting riders to work, play and anywhere else they need to go.
“Not only am I going to take you safely, I want you to have a good ride,” Morris said.
The Kingston, Jamaica, native takes his job to heart and knows riders appreciate a positive environment. His personal mission is to give his riders a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride.
“I am happy, if they are happy,” Morris said.
Just shy of 3 p.m. on a recent weekday, Morris is parked near the Space Station ready to embark on a yellow line trip headed up to Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs.
“One of the first things I do is put my music on,” Morris said, with a wide smile.
Seconds later, Pandora sets the scene for another good vibes ride.
“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be alright,” softly filled the bus as Morris shared his love for the music of the late Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
Not only does their music remind him of the hometown he left years ago, but it’s about a state-of-mind.
After living in Ontario, Canada, for a while, Morris, one of eight kids, immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Nashville, Tennessee, until his daughter, who lives in Steamboat, urged her father to head west and join her.
Morris appreciates the peace and quiet of Steamboat and not having to commute to work.
“I love to relax,” Morris said. “It’s a lot like Jamaica in terms of the mountains.”
Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said Morris started as a seasonal driver in October 2009 and became a full-time driver in September 2010.
He has logged more than 18,000 hours of driving and prefers night shifts.
The busiest times for Steamboat Springs Transit are in the afternoons and during the end of the business day when Morris is usually beginning his shift.
“Radcliffe is a great fixture of the driver team at Steamboat Springs Transit,” Flint said. “He is excellent at making new drivers feel at home. He personifies the right example of what we are looking for in a driver.”
Dispatch Supervisor Darcy Filkoski is quick to praise Morris.
“What makes Radcliffe so special is his good vibes and his rapport with his passengers,” Filkoski said. “He is fun and playful and listens to his Jamaican music while almost dancing in his seat as he drives. What most people don’t even realize is what a safe driver Radcliffe is — his driving record with SST is impeccable.”
As expected, Morris has driven in all kinds of weather. He prefers snow and colder weather and plans on giving snowboarding a try again this winter.
“Simply put, Radcliffe gets it,” Flint said. “He understands that passengers are looking for a safe and smooth ride, a friendly driver and a relaxed atmosphere. He is easy to talk to, knowledgeable about the area and an expert driver. He has that personable nature that Steamboat Springs is famous for and what sets Steamboat apart from many resorts.”
Flint reviews surveillance video and said it is not uncommon to see everyone’s head subconsciously bobbing in rhythm to the music Morris plays on his bus. Some passengers even sing along.
Morris said he enjoys transferring his “good vibes” to his passengers.
“If they feel good, it makes me feel good,” Morris said. “It’s my reward. It makes me feel good if I put a smile on their face.”
Flint said a ride on Morris’ bus is an experience everyone should try.
“He will make you proud of Steamboat Springs,” Flint said.
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