MARTA bus driver celebrated for 50 years of service with special honor

Coy Dumas Jr. (MARTA)

MARTA is honoring and celebrating a longtime bus operator's 50 years of service with a custom bus.

Adamsville native Coy Dumas Jr. started the job back in 1972 when the agency was known as Atlanta transit.

When he started, Dumas said he would get concerned looks from some of his passengers.

"They'd say ‘Son, are you old enough to drive a bus?’ You know. I'd say ‘Yes ma’am, I think I'll be alright," he said.

MARTA says in his half a century behind the wheel, Dumas has driven routes in west Atlanta and currently operates the Route 853 out of West Lake Station on the Blue Line.

The transit organization estimates he's carried 2.8 million passengers and driven over 2 million since his start.

In all that time, officials say Dumas has kept his driving record spotless - never having a traffic accident in all 50 those years.

"The most remarkable part of Mr. Dumas’s 50 years with MARTA is the close relationship he has built and nurtured with the communities in west Atlanta," said MARTA Board Chair Rita Scott. "He is on a first-name basis with his customers and they will tell you, he is not just the man who drives the bus, he is a mainstay in their community and part of the family. Mr. Dumas represents the very best of MARTA and we celebrate his incredible career."

Dumas is one of the MARTA operators who take part in the annual King Day event, driving the Rosa Park Bus to the King Center and other locations.

He says he considers the work a calling.

"We're carrying the most valuable cargo. That's human life," he says.

To honor Dumas, MARTA will display digital billboards celebrating his service throughout Atlanta over November.

At a meeting of the MARTA Board of Directors, Dumas, his wife, and friends were surprised with a bus wrapped with his photo. He also received a special 50-year service award and uniform patch.

As for retirement, Dumas says as long as God graces him, he'd love to ride the bus … but he's in negotiations with his wife.