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Laid-off drivers hired for new Disney lot

March 19th, 2010, 3:00 am · 39 Comments · posted by Sarah Tully

At least 15 laid-off bus drivers are going back behind the wheel of the public vehicles that they used to run.

But in their new jobs, they will shuttle visitors to and from Disney theme parks — all paid by Disney.

For its new parking lot that opens Friday, Disney arranged to hire some laid-off drivers and lease public buses that were out-of service because of budget cuts by the Orange County Transportation Authority.

George Kalogridis, the Disneyland Resort president, got the idea after reading about cutbacks at the transportation agency. He knew that Disney was about to contract for shuttles for the upcoming lot on Harbor Boulevard, so he asked his staff to look into using OCTA’s buses and possibly their out-of-work drivers.

“We had a need. There was an opportunity,” Kalogridis said.

As a result, 15 drivers, including Jasdeep Singh, have been hired so far and 20 OCTA buses were leased for the new shuttle route.

“They got experienced drivers and drivers got work,” said Singh, who lost his job in September 2008 after eight months as a driver. “Hopefully, this relationship continues and we both get to grow.”

OCTA will receive about $22,000 a month in lease payments for the 40-passenger buses, said Joel Zlotnik, an OCTA spokesman. In the past two years, the agency has let go of 170 drivers. This fiscal year, the agency is facing a $30-million revenue shortfall.

“It’s a great way to get some revenue from buses that otherwise would not be used,” Zlotnik said.

Disney is leasing the vehicles and hiring the drivers through Anaheim Resort Transit – the public organization that runs the red trolleys and other vehicles in the Disney area.

Resort Transit gave hiring preference to the former public bus drivers, because they are familiar with OCTA vehicles, said Diana Kotler, executive director of Anaheim Resort Transit.

Resort Transit has hired 15 laid-off drivers for 32 of the filled spots so far. About 18 open positions remain. The jobs are part-time for now, but they could become full-time.

The OCTA sent letters to its former employees to inform them about the new jobs. Some responded and got hired within days.

The new job is a relief for Tameka Calloway and Alex Sierra, both former OCTA drivers who have been unemployed since April.

Since then, Calloway, 30, got evicted and lost her car. Living off of child-support payments recently, she and her two children are living with Calloway’s mother, who is charging rent. Calloway now hopes to buy her own car.

“It gives us an opportunity to get back on the road and use our skills,” said Sierra, 37. “Work is what we need.”

The parking lot on Harbor Boulevard south of Katella Avenue is set to open Friday after a 7:30 a.m. grand-opening ceremony. The lot sits across the street from the Anaheim Convention Center. Read more about the new Disney parking lot.

Photos by Joshua Sudock, the Orange County Register. Map by Brian Moore, Orange County Register

Read more about what Kalogridis has done for the Disneyland Resort area HERE.

More Disney parking news:

News about OCTA budget cuts:

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 39 Comments

  • Chris says:

    What a great idea….Californians helping one another without government assistance.

    • fourthgeneration says:

      A great idea indeed. Not many good news are coming recently on the jobs front and these executives came out thinking positively with creative solutions. The new drivers hired not only have experience with the buses leased to OCTA but they are trained to do a very boring job with efficiency. Since they will be for sure on probation that will guarantee good behavior :P .
      One additional benefit for Disney (probably not contemplated originally since they have been working at the parking lot for a while) is that the new jobs created will qualify for the new tax incentives recently signed into law. Man this is a win-win situation for all involved. Good luck.

  • Marley says:

    Disney should lay off all their illegal spanish speaking staff

    • Mildynwtg says:

      How do you know they are illegal? My gawd! The damn company is doing something right…… putting people back to work all you can do is slam them? Get a grip. Disney has always been a social conscious company and no I am not an employee of Disney. This is a good thing.

    • Martin says:

      Goodness this is really getting old. If it where a story about rocks from outer space there would still be some ignorant, hate spewing reader on here demanding something against illegal aliens. What does that have to do with any of this? This is what’s wrong with this county, it has become the deep south of the west coast.

      • Ed says:

        Amen. Yes we know illegals are a problem. People like Mildynwtg need to shut up about it. If its so bad go DO something about and stop wasting time online. At least the illegals are out working hard, legally or otherwise instead of sitting home complaining on a computer.

        Kudos Disney. Wow I can’t believe I said that since I am not a big Disney fan to begin with.

    • Prof. Andmaryann says:

      We talk about how much can’t stand Marley. She doesn’t tip. Viva la revolucion!

    • Evan says:

      I wish there were a Hell so that idiot racists like you would go there.

      Reading the OC Register comment section is like walking into a f***ing Ku Klux Klan meeting. And the Register does nothing about it. We get it. You hate Mexicans (oh, sorry, I meant “illegals!” It makes it okay when I use that word, right?!) and you seriously have nothing positive to contribute to society.

      People like you make me sick, Marley. Orange County is just a bastion of ignorance.

  • Thank you Disney. Other large companies should look at doing the same even if its one or fifteen new employees its a turn in the right direction.

    Thanks Disney for giving these people some new hope for the future. fb

  • Anacrime says:

    I wondered why all those busses were parked in the old McPeek Dodge dealer on Ball Road was all about.

  • Chris says:

    It’s never enough is it Marley? Does anything positive ever, ever come out of your mouth? As soon as I see your moniker I cringe knowing what’s coming.

    • Marley says:

      awwwwww sorry …sorry you are such a pansy…toughen up small fry.

      it is fact that the disney corp hires illegals. You cant tell me every employee speaks english, most cant even direct someone to the bathroom properly. Its a disgrace. Silent terrorists.

      • Chris says:

        If you hate it here I’m sure no would be crying if you pulled up stakes and left. In fact, I’ll bring over some Spanish speaking people to help you pack. You remind me of Eeyore and his “Little Black Rain Cloud” song. And what do pansy and small fry have to do with your whining and complaining on every site you’ve had the pleasure to gripe in and everyone’s displeasure just to see your name and knowing what we’re in store for. Change your name to Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy, they seem to fit better than Marley. Try some Prozac and turn that frown upside down for a change.

  • Summer Breeze says:

    Good for these people.

  • sackajaweea says:

    Yeah right .. It’s all about the driver’s and has nothing to do with packing those 40 buses full of tourists for their $ 70.00 dollar admission fee. Disney the happiest palce on earth.ahahahaha

    • Chris says:

      Which helps keep the economy going and people employed and you find that bad somehow?

    • Aztek says:

      I work at Disneyland and we are extremely thankful for all those huge crowds packing all of those parking spaces. Disneyland had its busiest attendance year ever in 2009, and Spring Break this year has kicked off with a bang and big crowds.

      Tourists parking in those spaces mean more scheduled hours for Disneyland employees, more money and taxes going in to the local community.

      Would you rather Disneyland not be there, and that land just be another row of aging West Anaheim 1950’s tract homes and maybe a 7-11? If Walt had built the park in Pasadena instead, that’s all that would be there now, aging tract homes and some punk kids hanging out at the 7-11 where Space Mountain is instead.

  • Emmie says:

    That’s great news!

    Anyone know if they are directly under Disney or are they union members under Disney?

  • OCMom says:

    I’m just loving George Kalogridis more and more and more! Great idea!!

  • BK says:

    I think it’s good that they are hiring people laid off, but how many parking lots does Disney need? Shoot, they already have the second largest parking structure in the world, utilize parking at the Disney Hotel, Down Town Disney, the Geppetto parking lot, the parking structure for the employees on Ball Road, another parking lot on Katella, and now another parking lot. It’s crazy. Why not turn Anaheim into one big parking lot?

    • Daikosune says:

      Apparently you haven’t been by there on a weekend to try and park. It’s a mess. The entire Timon lot is now gone (soon to be Radiator Springs!), a portion of the Ball Cast Member lot was turned into a large bakery, and the Simba lot has shrunk to accomodate Vacation Club bungalos and a tram service area.

      In addition, this lot can also be used by the Anaheim Convention Center durings its largest events. NAMM anyone?

  • Daikosune says:

    A win-win-win situation. Disney gets the drivers and buses they need, OCTA gets to replace some of its lost funding by letting out unused vehicles, and best of all some people get jobs!

    PS – Someone tell Tameka about unemployment insurance, I’m sure she’s qualified for benefits.

  • Darren ( UK ) says:

    Well done Disney, giving help to the local community.

  • dan says:

    Bravo Disney, Bravo Disney !!!

  • kb says:

    great idea! good story!

  • Aztek says:

    Well done Disney!

  • annynomous says:

    while Disney is taking the credit for this “great move” for the community, what they fail to mention is the company they originally promised the contract to before this smart move, that ultimately had to lay-off drivers that had been doing their Disney lot shuttles for years. and no this was not Kalogridis’ idea to hire these OCTA drivers but of course he took the credit for it (politics). by the way the red trolleys do not belong to the Anaheim Resort Transit but to the contract company that was stabbed in the back by Disney. what a mess! but its great at least some people are still working! but now what about the company employees that originally had the parking lot how about they fill those 18 open positions!

  • Gerry says:

    What a pathetic piece of propaganda – how about a report from an actual visitor?

    “All in all, by the time we reached the entrance to DCA from the time we exited the freeway at Ball Rd., it took about 70 min.”

    You still pay $14 for parking and full price for tickets, but have much less time in the parks – what a deal!

  • the mouse says:

    I know that disney had another company running the shuttles, what happen to the big buses that were taking us to the park? what happend to those employees? did disney hire new drivers and did the other one get laid off? ????????????

  • maria pata-fria says:

    okay they just hired drivers from octa but what happened to the other drivers that were doing the shuttles? did they lose their jobs??? I actually love riding the red trolleys, my daughter loves those buses…
    I guess we have to ride a city bus to the park….. It took 35 min to park at “toy story” and it took us 48 min to jump on the city bus to go to the park.

    • Sarah Tully says:

      The OCTA buses are supposed to be in addition to the existing trolleys/shuttles. Hope that helps.
      Sarah Tully
      Around Disney blog

  • maria pata-fria says:

    Disney if you read this message please have those red trolleys available for the passangers and the families that like them…..

  • maria pata-fria says:

    the red trolleys dont run that parking lot anymore.. I went to the disneyland park today and we had to fold our stroller, ok no problem but the bus driver had an attitude with me and did not help me with my stroller. I had to carry my daughter and the stroller.. im thinking of not renewing my pass. wow!!! what customer service… thanks disney….

  • the mouse says:

    the tram drivers at the new parking lot have very bad attitudes.

  • maria pata-fria says:

    THANK YOU SOMEONE FINALLY AGREES WITH ME……

  • Ace-in-the hole says:

    That’s great helping others drivers out – but did anyone stop and think to realize that the other drivers lost their jobs since they were snuffed out by Disney.

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