Celebrating Syd Banks: Calgary Transit’s Longest Serving Operator

Sid Banks

Before CTrain tracks, bus rapid transit lines, and power steering, Calgary Transit operator Syd Banks was already taking Calgarians where they needed to go.

Syd Banks, a local legend, is famous for his friendly announcements on the CTrain, sharing time, weather, sports scores, and fun facts that delighted passengers. After 50 years and six months, Banks is Calgary Transit’s longest-serving operator.

Reflecting on his career, Banks said, “It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the nicest people and developing special friendships with colleagues and customers.”

Since the 1970s, Banks has witnessed significant growth and improvements in Calgary’s transit system. He highlights the convenience and accessibility of services like shuttles, buses, CTrains, and Calgary Transit Access. “One of the big changes that I've noticed is that the transit system definitely has been made more convenient for passengers to ride and to help them get around the city.”

After nearly 35 years as a bus operator, Banks transitioned to driving CTrains at the urging of his grandchildren. “Sixteen years later, here I am having a ball. It’s just been like a brand-new career and I have just loved it,” he said.

Banks missed interacting with passengers on the bus, so he started making cheerful announcements on the CTrain. “I decided, hey, why don't I just say good morning to them and as well maybe give them the weather forecast for the next few days or the current day. And that went over really well,” he said.

Passengers loved Banks’ warm personal touch, often tapping on his window to thank him. “I have several people come and tap on my window throughout the week saying, ‘Thank you, you made my day,’” Banks shared. To add to the accolades, he’s been the recipient of hundreds of 311 customer commendations over five decades and was recently crowned an “Everyday Hero” at the One City Awards.

As he reflects on his life-long career, Banks expresses his gratitude: “Thank you to all my passengers for their smiles and waves every day, for their sincerity and just for the friendship that they pass along to me. It’s very touching and I just really appreciate that. It makes my day.”

Sid Banks