Even before Mark Shapp was hired as a Metro bus driver three years ago, he knew all of the Metro routes by heart.

Shapp grew up on Forest Avenue in Portland and started riding Metro buses when he was 5 years old. Over time, he became friends with many of the drivers.

“A lot of the older drivers remember me as a kid,” he said.

Metro bus driver Mark Shapp fastens a strap to secure Joe Kilbride's wheelchair while driving route 9B in Portland.

Metro bus driver Mark Shapp fastens a strap to secure Joe Kilbride’s wheelchair while driving route 9B in Portland. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

His favorite part of the job is connecting with the passengers.

“I like to interact with the people and make their day a little brighter,” he said. “I throw in a little humor.”

For instance, when Shapp approaches a stop near a veterinary clinic, he meows. When he announces that the bus is passing by the B&M Baked Beans plant, he adds a long “Yummm.”

He said that driving in the city can be stressful sometimes when traffic is heavy or in icy winter conditions. Mostly though, Shapp said he feels lucky to get paid to drive the buses that he rode as a kid.

“It’s a critical service. I’m proud to be able to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s a fun job.”

Metro bus driver Mark Shapp is reflected in a mirror of a bus while driving Route 9B in Portland.

Metro bus driver Mark Shapp is reflected in a mirror of a bus while driving Route 9B in Portland. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer