Monroe Watson has been a bus driver for the City of Raleigh for 37 years, starting in 1981 when GoRaleigh was called Capital Area Transit (CAT). He recently earned the prestigious title of ‘3 Million Miler’ after having no at-fault accidents for nearly four decades.
Mr. Watson grew up in Greensboro. He began his driving career operating tractor trailers, but in late 1980 he and his sister decided to make the move to Raleigh. He quickly found a job working at the BBQ Lodge, cooking dozens of pigs a day for six months. One day, a customer who happened to be a CAT bus supervisor offered him a job. Mr. Watson’s bus driving career began without haste.
Mr. Watson started training right away, but on that first day, another big change occurred. A woman boarded his bus, route 19 at the time, and just moments after meeting her, he knew he wanted her to be his wife! Eight months later they were married. They have a daughter and two grandchildren.
Mr. Watson has regularly operated Route 4 – REX for the last decade. He previously operated Route 1 – CAPITAL for several years. “I drive hundreds of miles a day,” says Mr. Watson. Over those miles he’s gotten to know nurses, housekeepers and other passengers who regularly use his routes. Now he exclaims, “I’m driving the kids of those passengers!”
When asked about the changes he’s seen over the last few decades, Mr. Watson says, “I’ve seen changes, but they’re arriving faster and bigger now.” He’s no stranger to change, he also specializes in home improvement projects. From decks to floors to room remodels, he can do most anything. That’s not his only talent. He performed in the music entertainment field as a drummer, sound engineer and music manager for 10 years. He managed gospel groups, opened up for stars like Anita Baker, the O’Jays and Frankie Beverly and Maze when they appeared locally. All of this while driving buses.
When asked about his decades of driving, “I’ve been blessed and healthy. I really can’t complain. I just started wearing glasses last year!” Mr. Watson’s advice for other bus drivers, “Be safe, use the mirrors and don’t rush.”
GoRaleigh, the City of Raleigh’s transit service, provides bus service throughout Raleigh, NC. Route maps, schedules and other information can be found at goraleigh.org; Twitter, Instagram & Facebook - @goraleighnc.