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Q&A: On the Move with UCLA's BruinBus Operators

BruinBus operators Melvina and Marie

Next time you get on the BruinBus, it may be Marie Ephform or Melvina Okoh greeting you from the driver's seat, making your trip comfortable, timely, and safe. Meet two women keeping Bruins and campus visitors moving around at UCLA and in Westwood Village.

How long have you been at UCLA?

Marie: I've been here for 16 years now!

Melvina: I've been an operator for 6 months.

Describe a typical day. 

Marie: A typical day is just riding along and having passengers, on sunny days, rainy days, and being there for the students, answering questions, and actually being like a therapist to them also. 

Melvina: My typical day starts early, arriving at work, clocking in, and getting ready to go out into the community.

How does it make you feel helping passengers navigate UCLA and get where they need to be?

Marie: It makes me feel great – anything people need, I'm here! 

Melvina: I really like this job because we're helping students, staff, and faculty get to their destinations promptly and safely.

Do you have a favorite route? 

Marie: I like Macgowan Hall (North Campus) where the Sculpture Garden is. It's really nice out there.

Melvina: I don't have a particular favorite, they are all special to me because it's a different group of people for different stops.

Why should people ride the BruinBus? 

Marie: We keep UCLA moving! 

Operator Melvina with a BruinBus passenger

Melvina: You should get on my bus because I'm very calm, very kind, I speak to each person that gets on, and I tell everyone to have a good day.  I'm a people person, and I like to send out positive affirmations because you never know who you will find and how their day is going.

Best thing about transportation at UCLA?

Marie: We have electric buses here! 

Melvina: It really excites me to help Bruins and visitors get to their destination. It lights my heart. I once had a lady get on my bus who didn't speak English; she cared about me and I cared about her. That really is the highlight, to make sure people arrive safe.