A Conversation with Keith Howard (Operator of DC Circulator)
Here at RATP Dev USA, people are at the heart of what we do. Today, we are happy to highlight one of our very own Operators – we sat down with Keith Howard as part of our ‘A Conversation With’ blog series.
As a world-class transportation company, our mission is not just to transport people safely, efficiently, and effectively from place to place; it is to provide an excellent overall transportation experience. More than a mission, we pledge to connect our riders to the places they care about, by creating a personalized and seamless journey. This pledge is supported by our extraordinary employees, who continuously take action to enhance excellent passenger experience – and for that, we are grateful. Every day, our employees give 100%. They deliver their passengers to their destinations in the most helpful, kind, and caring way, and we are so proud of them.
We wanted to take this opportunity to give a special shout out to Keith Howard. Keith is a DC Circulator Bus Operator with an exceptionally big heart. We know that because we recently received this glowing review from a passenger.
“My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC a few days ago. During that time, we decided to use the Circulator bus system. While riding to various points of interest we had the good fortune to ride the bus operated by Keith Howard. He was very informative about the routes and stops and gave a brief description of the various sites to see at each stop. On one occasion Mr. Howard took the time to escort an elderly couple back to their seats as they were having a little trouble boarding the bus. We would rate the bus service grade A and your driver A+.”
Keith has been an Operator for DC Circulator for 3 ½ years. Thankfully, Keith’s favorite part of this job is meeting new people because he meets a lot of them! The latest statistics show that approximately 22 million people from all over the world visit the D.C. area every year, and many of them like to jump aboard the Circulator to get from attraction to attraction. This is perfect for Keith who says, “My hope is to help as many people as possible each day.” Sometimes, that can be a bit challenging as many tourists come from foreign countries and speak little or no English. But that doesn’t stop Keith from lending a hand. When safe to do so, Keith goes above and beyond and uses his phone when he encounters a language barrier. “I’m blessed to meet people from all over the world, and today’s phones can translate so many different languages!”
The DC Circulator operates six routes that serve residents, commuters and visitors. The lines connect the city’s cultural, entertainment and business districts to several nearby neighborhoods. Tourists, who want to see as many of the major attractions as possible, often hop on the National Mall loop which can take them to more than 25 museums, monuments and memorials, including the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the American History Museum, and Keith’s favorite -- the African American History and Culture Museum, adding that “I’m blessed today only because of what was done before me - all thanks to Dr. King and Rosa Parks.”
Recent reviews on TripAdvisor.com show just how popular the Circulator is with visitors who are trying to navigate the city. One called it the “perfect way to get around the National Mall.” Another wrote, “it was easy to navigate, affordable, and very helpful. [The buses] are clean and the bus drivers are helpful.” While Keith and his co-workers may not be traditional D.C. attractions, they are clearly RATP Dev USA’s national treasures!
For Keith, helping his regular customers and tourists is just part of the job. What really warms his heart is helping people who are less fortunate. He told us about one memorable encounter that left a lasting impact on him. A homeless woman who had obviously fallen on hard times boarded his bus. Rather than ignore her, Keith engaged her in conversation, saying he was able to “give her hope through words of encouragement.” Just a small gesture, but he felt like he had made a meaningful and supportive connection.
So, here’s to you, Keith Howard! Thank you for everything you do every day, and for just being you.