2022 Virginia Transit Association Award Winners

Three men, two holding awards

Bay Transit’s Michael Shackleford and David Fols Are 2022 Virginia Transit Association Award Winners 


For the third consecutive year, Bay Transit, the public transportation division of Bay Aging, was recognized with awards from the Virginia Transit Association (VTA).  At the VTA’s 2022 Annual Conference & Bus Expo in Roanoke, VA, Bay Transit driver Michael Shackleford and Fleet Manager David Fols received the honors.  Mr. Shackleford was one of three transit employees statewide recognized for a VTA “Employee Unsung Hero Award” while Mr. Fols received the VTA’s “Exceptional Safety Award.”   

“I’m so proud of our team and thrilled for Michael and David,” said Bay Transit Director Ken Pollock.  “For the third year in a row, Bay Transit has earned well deserved recognition from their peers at transit systems across Virginia.  We may be one of the smaller transit systems in Virginia, but our commitment to innovation and excellence have really distinguished Bay Transit as a leader in our industry.” 

Michael Shackleford’s humility cannot keep his commitment to exceptional customer service from shining through:  

While Michael Shackleford would tell you he was “just doing his job,” Reverend Dr. Maria Harris described the support she received from Mr. Shackleford on January 11th as “exceptional.”  Rev. Harris, who uses a wheelchair, was riding to/from Richmond to a dental appointment at VCU using Bay Transit’s New Freedom program.  All went well until 4:30 PM when Rev. Harris was ready to contact Shackleford to ride home when she discovered that her cellphone battery was dead, and she couldn’t call him.  Rev. Harris learned later that Mr. Shackleford, concerned about her whereabouts, had called Bay Transit to alert them to the situation and find out if they had heard from her.  Collaborating with a VCU staff person, Shackleford was reunited with Rev. Harris and drove her home, explaining that “he was not going to leave me stranded.”   

Reverend Harris, who also serves on Bay Aging’s board of directors, was so moved by her experience that she wrote a letter to Bay Transit’s Director Ken Pollock stating, “Michael is an exceptional, caring, and resourceful driver who was committed to making sure his client not only arrived at their desired appointment but also arrived home. I applaud you for hiring such an excellent employee. My husband and I are very grateful for all that he did.”  

David Fols puts the ‘Good to go!’ into safety:  

In mid-2020, Bay Transit initiated a campaign promoting its commitment to customer service and safety in confronting COVID-19.  Bay Transit’s ‘Good to go!’ campaign included advertising on the outside of several buses touting many of the safety protocols and best practices implemented to ensure drivers and riders safety.  These measures included offering free rides on all Bay Transit buses to keep passengers and drivers from having to exchange money.   

Beginning in 2020 and continuing throughout 2021, Bay Transit’s Fleet Manager, David Fols, worked tirelessly to research COVID-19 safety protocols, fabricate partitions, install, and upgrade Bay Transit buses with best-in-class safety features to protect drivers and riders during COVID-19.  David fabricated and installed plexiglass shields surrounding the driver’s seat, and plexiglass partitions between every passenger seat, on every one of Bay Transit’s nearly 50 buses.    

Two additional safety enhancements were later deployed to help Bay Transit become even more ‘Good to go!’  Mr. Fols installed Freudenberg Filtration premium cabin filters in every Bay Transit bus. The Freudenberg filters are 99.9% effective at inactivating viruses. “We had to make sure this style of filter didn’t impact air flow and cooling capacity before moving ahead with installing them fleetwide,” Fols recalled. “Compared to HEPA filters, this design minimally impacted air flow in our buses while still providing industry leading air filtration.” 

Fols also installed touchless hand sanitizers on eight of Bay Transit’s buses. “We wanted to test their durability first,” Fols said. Once Fols confirmed the new touchless hand sanitizers help up well, he installed them in the rest of the buses. “We used to have the hand sanitizer sitting in plastic brochure holders and they keep getting broken. Every time three of the plastic brochure holders were broken, we could have paid for a touchless hand sanitizer system.  This transition will not only save us money, but it’s also better for our customers and creates less waste,” Fols noted. 

As Bay Transit prepared to reinstate fare collection in April, Fols was again hard at work, this time cutting holes in the plexiglass shields surrounding the driver’s seats so passengers could safely begin paying bus fares again.  In summary, without David’s unrelenting commitment to the safety of Bay Transit’s bus operators and passengers, the ‘Good to go!’ campaign would have been little more than a clever marketing slogan.