Bus Drivers

The bus rolls up to the curb. The brakes exhale and the doors move apart, the bus ready for me to board. What will the ride be like today I wonder.

I have favorite bus drivers, but I don’t know them from their faces or greetings. I know them from the moment they take a foot off the brake, shifting into gear to continue on the loop of the route.

I meet a variety of drivers. Rushed drivers and slow drivers. Smooth shifters and jerky shifters. Conversationalists and those who never say a word. It takes all kinds it seems to drive a bus.

My favorites drive efficiently, arriving in front of the marked stops, pausing courteously to let riders board and exit. They roll into the lane again, shifting into gear without jostling passengers around, never slamming on the brakes for routine stops. I know this is possible, this seamless style. Weekly, I catch a ride with a driver who manages to own it despite saying hellos and watching the erratic traffic around her. She makes the ride feel like a Cadillac instead of the bumpy off-roading experience I occasionally encounter.

I imagine it’s hard to drive a bus, operating in precise movements to keep the bus traveling down the road, carrying passengers wherever they might be off to that day, all the while having people ask you for help or directions or fumble with fare boxes. And that’s assuming the rest of the riders are quiet and pleasant to one another. Good luck.

It’s a tall order, driving a bus. Here’s to all of those behind the wheel who take on the challenge and do it well. I appreciate it.

Who makes your commute better?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. I love your empathy with your bus drivers. I just wish I shared it in my city where they seem to be determinedly grumpy. I do enjoy the bad temper at times! Especially the driver of our local little blue bus. is it because we have no women drivers, I wonder! If you can access it, there is a wonderful comedy sketch in the BBC archives by the comedian Al Read.

    1. Bad tempers, eh? I can’t wait to look up the Al Read sketch. Thanks, Bridget!

  2. Joy says:

    I never thought about how distracting it would be to drive the bus (show how consumed with my own day I am when I’m on a bus!) I like drivers who acknowledge my existence but don’t baby me for having a cane.

    1. They are like multitasking masters. I agree, acknowledgement without pity is great.

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