Charles Beaver, the MAX Man
Charles Beaver is the voice of MAX, literally.
When you buy a ticket from one of the automated MAX stations or listen to information on the line changes, that’s Beaver’s voice coming though the loudspeakers.
However, Beaver is more than just a soothing voice for Fort Collins’ newest form of bus rapid transit, he is also a driver, graphic designer and trainer for MAX.
On one particularly cold December day behind the wheel Beaver flashes his big grin as passengers board the bus amid a flurry of pale white snowflakes.
“Hello,” he says in the same inflection that echoes from the ticket machines on the curb.
Beaver spends between 20 to 30 hours each week behind the wheel of a MAX bus shuttling people north and south through the spine of Fort Collins along the Mason Corridor. He knows the five-mile stretch by heart and points out various landmarks and sections of interest as he drives.
“You have to be careful here,” he says slowing at an intersection near Colorado State University. Almost on cue a young man ambles in front of the bus, nose glued to his phone, completely unaware he should have yielded to Beaver.
Beaver doesn’t sweat it, he’s just happy everyone gets to their destination safely. In a standard eight-hour shift, he has an average of 800 passengers. In that time, between clocking in and out, Beaver never knows what to expect, but one thing he knows is he enjoys making people’s trips as fun as possible.
“My goal is to make it an enjoyable experience,” Beaver said. “All of our operators are world class, they provide exceptional service.”
He has an opportunity to put that service on display when an upset woman who missed her stop boards the bus. With an empathetic apology, Beaver promptly provides her a map and wastes no time getting her to the right stop.
Beaver draws satisfaction and pride from his position with Transfort, the City department that operates MAX; when he tells people who he drives for they automatically know what he’s referring to. And for many that climb aboard Beaver’s bus, it’s their first time on any sort of BRT or “bendy bus” as some newbies dub it.
When not doing his part to transport residents around Fort Collins, Beaver splits his time between his other job as a pastor, fly fishing and his wife and son.