“As a child, I always visualized being a bus operator,” Antwan Magnum shared with us one hot day a few weeks ago. A former kindergarten teacher, he has been driving buses for MTA more than 11 years. He’s proud of his ability to deal with the public, but even his years as a teacher don’t always leave him prepared to face everything that comes his way as an operator for MTA.
“It’s a hard job. It takes a lot out of you, since our shifts sometimes start very early in the morning. Then, when people are angry or have problems with other bus operators, I’m the first one they see. I do what I can to help them out. Sometimes that just means greeting them with a smile. I try to maintain that attitude as much as I can.”
One of him most memorable experiences as an operator occurred during training when he got to meet bus drivers who are still on the job years after he had traveled with them as a student in school. Now that he’s been a member of their ranks for over a decade, he knows just how challenging their job is.
Antwan’s “secret” life as the owner of a children’s entertainment company for 15 years keeps him going on days when he needs a lift. “On this bus, I’m the guy that gets people where they’re going. I think a lot of my passengers would be surprised to know that so many kids know me as Antilleo the clown.” He has performed in various parts of the United States and in places that include Jamaica, where his parents are from.
“I would love to be able to teach full time and have that peace of mind, but unfortunately teachers aren’t as appreciated or paid as well as they should be,” Antwan related. He enjoys his job as a bus operator because it enables him to fulfill his financial role as a single parent to his eight year old son. He has also been helping his siblings since his mother passed away several years ago.
Here at the MTA, we’re proud to work with Antwan. If you happen to see him in your travels on the Local Bus, please let him know that you heard about “his secret life.”