Trans Express Founding Sisters: From left to right
Dolores Rubino, Maintenance Manager, Antoinette Rubino, Operations Manager, Mary Rubino, President, Christina Rubino, Sales Manager
President Mary Rubino, along with her sister and V.P., Antoinette Rubino, started a small shuttle service with a single bus in 1986. With an office in her Brooklyn apartment and a parking spot around the block, Antoinette and Mary would take turns driving the 1984 Ford E350 between Bay Ridge and midtown picking up fares from commuters heading to work. On weekends they would charter the lone vehicle to try and make enough money to cover their meager operating and living expenses. It didn't take long for business to pick up, so they needed someone to answer phones and tend to administrative tasks while they were on the road. In 1990 they hired their first employee, known better to them as "Mom". Josephine Rubino joined the small team of women hustling to get a business off the ground as an office employee. As a former business manager herself, it did not take long before Mom was pulling in new business and the Rubino girls were purchasing new equipment. By 1992 they had picked up their first annual contract with the Federal Reserve Bank, and had become a recognized name in the local bus industry. This also marked their move from the small apartment in Brooklyn to their first real office building on Glenwood Road. Now they had a workforce of a dozen, which included driver & administrative staff. Mom headed up the sales department, Antionette "Toni" Rubino directed compliance, HR & operations while Mary took on the role of key decision maker and leader of the growing enterprise.
By 1996 the small business was steadily gaining momentum - having moved their operation from their previous office to the industrial side of the borough, they rented an entire office building complete with a maintenance garage in Sunset Park. Additions such as bus lifts, pits, and a staff of two mechanics allowed the girls to cut costs while gaining better quality control over their growing fleet. Their operations expanded by this time to 20 buses on the road, which included MCI coaches as well as shuttle buses. Their driver pool rose to 35, and they were officially a pillar of the Brooklyn community - providing jobs and security in the local economy. Mary envisioned a company where a bus driver would not only have full medical benefits, but they would have a pension plan in which the company would contribute to. With the dedication and leadership of these remarkable ladies, this became possible - and by 1998 their growth continued. Not only did they have to change location again to acomodate their growth, they had to expand their financial team to include 401K planners to help their employees invest their pre-taxed dollars into a pension plan. Trans Express would generously contribute profits to each employee at the years end.
1999 marked a bittersweet year for the Rubino women. Having purchased a campus of buildings in the Redhook area of Brooklyn to house their buses, maintenance garage and administrative offices, they experienced the greatest loss they would ever know. In 1999, Josephine Rubino suddenly passed from an aeortal annurism. Devastated, the girls struggled to keep operations moving while saying goodbye to one of the foundational stones of their lives and their business. Every bus in the then 35 bus fleet lined up across the Belt Parkway in a special funeral procession to say farewell to one of Trans Express' most irreplacable leaders.
This was one of many challenges, as well as truimphs to come for the adolescent, family run business. Shortly after moms departure, their younger sister who was fresh from college with an advertising and design background, pitched in to pick up the slack in sales. This happened in the nick of time, because the loss of business resulting from the tragedies of 9/11 left the business to survive on an emergency loan. The Rubino girls once again, aiming high, set out to generate new business in the form of daily, annual contracts. With Christina leading the effort of new business, Trans Express began bidding on and picking up larger scale contracts than ever before. With more Rubino girls coming of age now, youngest sister Dolores, having gained industry experience in the tow truck business, joined her sisters as forewoman of the maintenance department.
"Success is never a compromise, and neither is value."
Trans Express Founding Mother, Josephine Rubino
In October of 2012, Trans Express' team faced one of the greatest challenges in over it's quarter century of history. Located adjacent to the pier in Redhook, Brooklyn in a zone "A", Superstorm Sandy leveled the business and destroyed nearly all of their equipment.
Brother Joseph Rubino, owner and president of his own company, Trans Express North, joined the efforts of clean up and recuperation, and the entire Rubino family along with it's extended family of dedicated employees barreled through the wreckage. With a near genius for planning, Mary was neither unprepared nor undaunted by the seemingly insurmountable challenges that lie ahead. Once again, headquarters became her home, and the leader of Trans Express made a series of powerful and strategic moves to save the business she had worked her entire life to build, and to save the jobs of the many employees who fed their families through it's means. In the meantime and between clean up efforts, Christina and Dolores stayed close to the Redhook community by cooking endless trays of food and delivering clothes, candles, and a plethora of items to help the Redhook Housing Projects while Redhook awaited power and emergency assistance.
Every great story needs a happy ending, and while this story is far from over, it is well to say that Trans Express continues to live happily ever after. In 2016 Trans Express garnered the attention of the international transportation company, National Express. National Express acquired Trans Express in the June of 2016, adding them to their impressive portfolio of transit companies throughout North America. Trans Express is now more than a local, woman owned business. It is officially the New York City brand of National Express Transit. Not only does Trans Express continue to provide jobs and work closely within the local community, but they now have the resources of an international firm which allows them to better serve the community with room for employment growth, new buses and an expanded structure.
The combined effort, dedication and faith of the Rubino family and staff have been the springboard of accomplishment for this once small, woman owned business. The bus industry is a fiercely male dominated one, but the values instilled early on from mom taught the girls to believe in themselves, to never give up, and to always give back. So long as the values passed down long before Mary and Toni ever drove a bus stay in place, and the principles of honesty, fairness, hard work and integrity remain at the core of it's foundation - Trans Express will thrive in the face of any circumstance set before it. An organization set upon such principals can not fail. It matters naught if it is just one person, one hundred people, or one thousand - success is never a compromise, and neither is value.