"Fifteen 15 cents," quickly answered Watson, when asked the bus fare when he first started.
So has the city of Raleigh, with new roads, developments and businesses.
On his first day on the job, Watson was single; that's until a special woman walked onto the bus.
"We were talking. I was telling her I was new in town, and I planned on being around. Quite naturally she thought I was crazy because we were talking about marriage and we only knew each other for 10 minutes," Watson said.
But not as crazy as he thought because, within 11 months, they were married.
Thirty-six years later, Monroe and his wife, Marion, are still together.
"She's a real good woman, a real good woman. She's my backbone," said Watson.
As for his second family, the passengers he drives daily, he greets them with a simple message.
"Good morning, good morning, how are you doing today?"
He's watched many of them grow up during the past 3 million miles.
"I am carrying people now that was babies when I started, now they have babies. And we laugh about that sometimes," Watson said.
Most importantly, he's done so safely, without being involved in an accident. His work earned him the prestigious '3 Million Miler' title.
Away from the road, Watson is a musician, opening up for a who's who of stars.
"Anita Baker, over at Walnut Creek. Frankie Beverley, The O'Jays, Temptations. So yeah, I'd say some pretty big acts," Baker said as he chuckled.
Through it all- the sounds of the roads and sounds of those instruments - it's safety that's stood out first and foremost to Watson.