Harold Ambrosius, age 94, is the last living original Kansas City streetcar operator. He lives and breathes streetcars; Ambrosius even travels to different cities to ride the different streetcars.
Ambrosius came to KCATA headquarters to talk to some of the employees, including CEO Robbie Makinen and Dick Jarrold, Senior Vice President of Engineering and System Development, (pictured above) about his days as an operator for what was then called Kansas City Public Service (KCPS).
Ambrosius’s grandfather started operating buses and the streetcars in 1911, followed by his father and eventually Ambrosius himself.
Harold was so thrilled to follow in his family’s footsteps, that he tried to apply to drive the streetcar right at 18 years old but was told he was too young. So, he left to serve the country in the military. When he returned to Kansas City, he started operating the streetcars.
Ambrosius’s favorite route to run was Country Club, and was the last route he operated on the last day of the streetcars in 1957. He prided himself in having a clean, shiny vehicle, whether it was a streetcar or a bus. He keeps pictures of his favorite streetcars and buses that he operated and was kind enough to bring them in and share them with the staff members.
When Ambrosius retired, his badge number was #1, meaning he had the most seniority. RideKC is proud to have drivers like Harold who are so dedicated to making public transportation so important to Kansas City!
Makinen shared his gratitude to Mr. Ambrosius by providing him with a new RideKC jacket to wear with pride and to add to his company jackets that he had earned throughout the years.
Below, Ambrosius in his new RideKC jacket.
Ambrosius drove buses after the streetcars were gone. He took pride in keeping a clean vehicle.
Ambrosius' mementos include several streetcar photos, including this one of the the 53 line.
Ambrosius is proud to have been named Employee of the Month in October 1981.