A Day in the life of a bus driver

Bus Drivers taking the bus back to the garage at the end of their shift: PHOTO Public Transit User (2013)

Bus drivers

This is my interview done with a bus driver; I am hoping to make this ongoing series and I am working on that at the moment.

Most of us just the see the bus driver as a man or woman who simply drives the bus. I have been guilty of this, however, they are more than just that and I think we often forget that they are human beings just like the rest of us. Lord knows, I do my fair share complaining about them (with reason) however, most of them are decent and kind people doing their job just like the rest of us.  It’s really a thankless job and a little courtesy (a hello, thank you, smile) goes a long way.

Here is the interview:

How long have you been doing this job?

  • 7 years

What is/are your favorite part(s) of the job?

  • Being a part of people’s lives
  • Getting people to where they need to go

What is/are your least favorite part(s) of the job?

  • Little co-operation and understanding from drivers

For example: “people who park their cars at the bus stop, meaning I can’t pull up to the sidewalk , so I have to let people off in the road. Now, imagine that   this is your grandmother getting off at this stop and I have to drop her off in the road.”

  • Hard to meet schedule demands with traffic and other items that are not in my control (weather, people, etc.)

What is your biggest annoyance?

  • Passengers not understanding that the yellow line at the front of the bus is not there for show and that we are not supposed to let passengers on beyond that line. Most of us will do it, however, passengers do need to understand that we can no longer see our right hand side mirror once people are passed the line.  This is a safety issue and should there be an accident, I /we will be held responsible. A lot passengers will give us attitude if we do not let them board the bus when really it is for everyone’s safety.

What is the biggest misconception about your job?

  • People think that it is an easy  and cushy job with no stress and no worries.

What is one the thing that wish people would realize ?

  • That bus drivers cannot always control when we have to go to the bathroom and sometimes we just have to go; meaning stopping the bus and running into a Tim Horton’s.  People are under the impression that we have bathrooms at the end our of our routes, but most places do not.  Imagine going 3 hours or more without seeing a bathroom and maybe you will empathize a bit more with us on that regard.

What is your typical day like?

  • Wake up at 3:00 a.m. Get ready for work and if I have time stop off somewhere to get a coffee or tea.
  • Drive to the garage to pick up my bus
  • Do  safety verification of the bus before I leave the garage
  • Do my routes from 4:00 a.m. to around 8:30 a.m.
  • Finish at the subway at around 8:30 — Leave my bus to another driver
  • Go back to the garage using the subway and then, the bus
  • Get my car at the garage
  • Drive my car to where I will my finish my day
  • Take the bus and/or subway to where I need go to pick up my bus
  • Adjust the mirrors and seats on the bus
  • Start my second shift at 12:30 p.m. with the bus I just picked up
  • Finish at around 4:00 p.m.
  • Get in the car and drive  home

** If I did not have time to get my car during my split shift, I will have to take the subway and the bus back to the garage to pick up my car at the end of my shift. **

End of the interview

I would like to extend a warm thank to the kind bus driver who answered my questions for this interview.


25 thoughts on “A Day in the life of a bus driver

  1. i like this and that you took the time to get to know the person behind the wheel who gets you where you need to go. you have made him less anonymous, more human, and people may see what a tough job it is and be kinder. i hope )

  2. This is great. I meet a driver regularly who is Latino – he listens to CHOM, converses with people in Spanish, French and English and always replies to my “Gracias” with a “de nada”. The ideal person for the job!

  3. Great post! It’s always good to hear the other person’s point of view. My daughter’s father-in-law was a bus driver and judging by some of the stories he used to tell, I could definitely sympathize with him.

    • Thank you for reading. I used to have my own perception about drivers and then I started talking to some and the stories you hear will make your skin crawl. I am sure your daughter’s father-in-law has some great stories.

  4. Pingback: Listen! | Writer Writ – Wrote?

    • Thank you for your comment; much appreciated. It must be quite annoying to have to go to the bathroom and have no where to go. My friend brought it up so that people can understand that sometimes, they really have no choice but to stop in the middle of a run. I can imagine that it’s really not comfortable driving the bus and really having to go.

  5. It’s always good to get an insight into others’ jobs and some of the difficulties they face that we don’t imagine. It’s a shame they no longer have a conductor to work with. It must have made it a bit easier in many ways, not having to be responsible for every aspect of customer care. I’m laughing now thinking back to the old TV series, ‘On The Buses’. That dates the hell out of me! All the innuendo and and nudge, nudge humour between the drivers and clippies.
    I’ll look forward to more of these. Oh the tales I’m sure they can tell. 😉

    • Yes it is. It was certainly eye opening for me.

      I need to find some more bus drivers to do this. But they changed them all so it’s hard to get someone to do it. Have to make a connection 🙂

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