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Santa Claus trades his sleigh for a JTA bus to bring joy to riders this holiday season

The JTA Holiday Bus is free to ride and will be in operation until Christmas Eve.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s the fourth year JTA bus driver Kendarius Fitzpatrick is dressing up as Santa Claus and welcoming customers to the Holiday Bus.

“Seeing and greeting people boarding, seeing the smiles on their face, the kids, from the adults, it’s really an honor,” he said.

Bus riders not only get to enjoy Christmas music and holiday decorations on the bus, but they also get to ride for free.

Fitzpatrick said the Holiday Bus is a great way to cheer people up and to give them a pleasant surprise.

“I have ran across a lot of people that have been going down and for them to see me taking pictures, conversations, hugs, it really brighten up their day and also mine,” he said.

Bus rider James Smith was one of the customers who was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday. He rode the Holiday Bus to the Amtrak station.

“I feel wonderful, I feel like it’s Christmas time,” he said.

Smith said he never expected to get to ride for free on a bus full of Christmas decorations.

“It means something very special,” he said. “I’m glad to be on it.”

The JTA Holiday Bus is running until Christmas Eve. If you are wondering when you can catch the bus, JTA says it is a surprise. JTA hopes to run the Holiday Bus at least once on each route.