Bus drivers are like the rest of us. Some are happy; some are less so; others are just automatons.
They are like, as Forrest Gump noted, a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. For example, today I hopped a bus at the local university and a female driver I rarely see glared at me. I showed my faculty ID, which gets me around town for free, and moved on to a seat.
After living in this town for almost a year, most of the drivers know me. I am like a bank customer for whom the teller writes on the check “KTM” (Known to Me). No ID is necessary, nor is coin.
During the school year I was picked up religiously by the same driver. He is a quite friendly man. He is also on time, something which is not true of many of the drivers here. Wednesdays someone else drove, and they invariably were late.
In fact, one particular driver who operates a very important route during commuting hours is ALWAYS late. I have complained about her, but to no avail. A friend of mine sent me a note one day telling me this woman had actually stopped for a sandwich, causing him to miss his connecting bus.
Indeed, when I beefed about the tardiness of this particular bus a supervisor began to ask me questions like, “What time do you need to be at work?” I asked him what that had to do with his buses not being on time. In retrospect, I think he was just using an evasion tactic.
One driver is curmudgeonly. I can appreciate that since it typifies my personality as well. My own lack of personality may be why I sometimes suffer ill treatment at the hands of the local transit people.
One day as I got on the bus, this crabby driver looked at me and said,”Let me out.” I didn’t quite know what he meant, until he tried to open the door next to his seat. I apologized and moved out of his way. Perhaps he had to go to the bathroom.
I can sympathize with these transit folks, though. I begged a company in a previous town to hire me because I thought driving a bus would be cool. I like to drive, too.
However, once I got out of class and on to the road, I was petrified. Perhaps it was the pictures of cracked up buses I was shown in training.
In any case, I did not know that driving a large vehicle like a 40 foot, several ton bus involves mainly using the rear-view mirrors. I couldn’t get my head around driving a that way. It was also disconcerting driving while a trainer stood next to you yelling things like,”STOP THE BUS!”
After a few days I was far behind schedule in my on-the-road training and the bell was tolling. My guess is that the head trainer had already given me the label he used for the drivers who had half destroyed his buses in the past: Darwin award candidate.
So when I get a little unhappy at my local drivers, I remember those days. I remind myself that these people can do something I can’t do, and it’s not an easy job. So I overlook the lack of customer service.
After all, bus drivers are a little like mechanics. They can be salty, but as long as they do their jobs, who cares?