The life of a bus driver seems a bit hectic at times. I take the bus all the time, mostly because of the convenience. I can get to where I need to be within a reasonable amount of time, without having to worry about dealing with the traffic and crazy drivers. I can just sit back and enjoy the ride without any real stress.
I can’t say the same for some of the bus drivers. They have an enormous responsibility even if regular people don’t think about it much. They are constantly driving and stopping, dealing with multitudes of personalities and attitudes all at once. And that’s just the city bus drivers. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with a busload of school-age children. Just because I love kids as much as anyone else doesn’t mean I want to drive them all of town every day.
So, now that bus driver has to deal with everything above, and yet try to keep on time for his scheduled route. It may look easy enough, but if it was, why is there such a bus driver shortage? A lot of people simply don’t want to deal with other people it seems. It takes a certain kind of person to deal with day-to-day problems inside as well as outside the bus. But there are a few things might want to consider the next time they take a bus, because the drivers know more about you and your habits than you can ever imagine. Hopefully you’ll learn a few things about yourself and bus drivers as you check out what people don’t know about bus drivers.
20 Licensed To Carry: Not All Bus Drivers Are The Same
Bus drivers cannot become drivers without going through a few procedures. These may include, but are not limited to video exams, psychological tests, attention-to-detail checks, and so forth. Once you pass a very thorough background check, there are still written evaluations and if you pass everything, then you will proceed to train on the bus for your assigned job, while at the same time preparing for your permanent license and certifications. Bus driver’s need to be CDL (commercial driver’s license) certified and pass certifications for their rating, such as A or B, etc., depending on what type of bus they are driving.
19 Cop A Squat: Why Kids Are Assigned Seats On School Buses
Bus drivers assign kids to certain seats if you didn’t know. The reasoning behind this is so the driver can more or less keep the kids equal as far as what grade they’re in, etc.
It’s also used to keep bullying under control.
There’s nothing worse for a kid than to start the day being picked on before he/she even gets to the school. This is done for all grades from preschool on up. Most kids are also kept separated by sex too. This takes care of other problems that might eventually arise.
18 Parents Can Be More Of A Handful Than Their Children
Sometimes (Most times actually) parents will berate the bus driver for all sorts of reasons, or no reason at all. Jobstr.com reports that the parent might not like where their child is sitting or claim their kid can’t sit next to a certain person. I’ve even read where some parents accuse the driver themselves about picking on their child or worse. I think when this happens, that the parent is being very unprofessional and needs to arrange a meeting with the bus driver’s boss and the school board to hammer out the real reasons for any altercation or concerns they might have.
17 King Of The Road: Bus Drivers Are Far Safer Than Regular Drivers
It’s true, bus drivers are safer than regular drivers. They have to be able to be very organized and their multitasking abilities are honed to a great degree. With so many passengers and stops, potential problems inside and outside the bus, the drivers are extremely careful and professional at the same time.
Cars fly around buses all the time, tailgate them, cut them off or worse.
I myself have never witnessed a bus driver going through anything like road rage or worse, because they seem to have better morals than someone trying to style their hair and drink their Starbucks at the same time while flying down the road driving past the speed limit.
16 Long Hours: Sometimes Drivers Fall Asleep While Driving
Yep, it’s a true statement. Sometimes bus drivers fall asleep at the wheel. Lots of long-haul bus drivers experience what they call “black dog” periods. The phrase comes from an old Patrick Swayze film where he’s a tired truck driver who keeps seeing a black dog run past his truck. The phrase was adopted by bus drivers, according to yahoo.com. A bus driver on the site explains that the phrase can stand for any type of hallucination when the driver is very tired, might even fall asleep for a few seconds, and is overdue for a break. Scary to say the least.
15 Bus Drivers Know Child Behaviour Better Than Most
Everyone knows how kids can be. This is especially true for school bus drivers, since they have plenty of time to get to know the kids. Parents always seem to be baffled as to why their kid got kicked off the bus for attacking a driver, or even suspended from their school.
Until they see the film of their darling, angelic, precious child punching the bus driver for no reason.
This happens more times than worth mentioning, reading a report from cracked.com. As kids become more and more confident, they sometimes step up their driver attacks, spitting, swearing, etc., until the driver has reached his limit, called for police assistance, and the little angel is arrested.
14 Time To Go: People Can Be Kicked Off The Bus
It might not make much sense, but people can and do get kicked off of buses all the time, whether they deserved it or not. Is there a reason for this action? Sometimes yes, but mostly no. I’ll give you an example and you decide for yourself. In November 2017 a Ph.D candidate was traveling on Greyhound was told by the bus driver that he wasn’t welcome and was told to get off the bus, somewhere between Dallas and Missouri at 3 am. He was never given a reason according to Newsweek. The police were called, the female driver said she didn’t want the guy on the bus, with no further explanation. Oh, the guy’s name was Mohammed. The police could do nothing but escort Mohammed off the bus because Greyhound is considered to be “private property”. Mohammed had to pay an additional $250 with Lyft just to get to his destination. True story.
13 Give A Transfer Or Else: Reasons Why Drivers Get Attacked
Some people are just plain disturbed. Violence against bus drivers isn’t a localized thing. It happens far more then people care to think about. Some drivers are even fatally injured. The New York Times reports that a bus driver was stabbed to death by a passenger, because the driver refused to give a transfer to the passenger, who refused to pay for his original bus ticket.
Drivers are spat on, called names, punched or even worse by people who think they can get away with it.
It’s a shame that those same people think they are right when attacking the drivers.
12 Breathe In, Breathe Out: Drivers Know Who The Crazy Ones Are
Bus drivers, much like taxi drivers, mostly know when they are going to run into a problem with someone. You might think the driver isn’t paying much attention to you when you and 25 or 30 others are trying to board, but believe me, they are studying you like a hawk studying a rabbit. Just because someone might have some mental issues doesn’t mean that they are the ones that will be a problem during the bus journey though. That’s why everyone is given the onceover when they board. This gives the driver enough time to see where the person in question is if something were to happen.
11 Not Budging: Why A Driver Can Refuse To Drive
Sometimes while you’re waiting for the bus, you might actually see it a couple of stops from you down the road. You wait and wait, wondering what the delay is. Most of the time, the delay is due to a person who feels he doesn’t have to pay. Sometimes a person with a mental issue might also be having a problem. In these cases, the bus driver can refuse to drive any further until the problem gets rectified. Yes, this upsets a lot of customers that had nothing to do with the problem, but it’s the risk you take when using public transportation.
10 Make That Bank: Drivers Can Earn A Lot
Bus driver’s salaries can range quite a bit on where they live and work. Money.com reports that the most high-paying drivers make over $64,000 per year, while the lower paying jobs sit at around $24,000.
But that’s not including overtime and other incentives.
Most drivers I’ve asked where I live said they make nearly $100,000 per year, simply because there is a severe bus driver shortage. Most say they enjoy the extra pay, but not all of the overtime hours, with a lot of them working 15-hour shifts with a 45-minute break. I guess money is nice to have, but not if you’re too tired to enjoy it.
9 Can’t Touch This: Why A Driver Might Not Get Involved In A Confrontation
Little Bethany runs home screaming to mommy that some bully beat her up on the bus. Mommy thinks it’s the bus driver’s fault for not stepping in. She complains to the school board and the driver’s boss that she wants the driver fired. The school and the dispatcher say no. Mommy’s upset. Too bad. It’s not the driver’s fault that Bethany got thumped good. The driver’s responsibility is to protect the children not involved in the confrontation as well as him/herself. Only if it were a serious bodily injury or life-threatening event would a driver act to step in. Why? Because if the driver were to even dare touch a hair on Bethany, her parents could/would say their child was touched/assaulted by an adult. It’s the way the parent’s want it, so they are ones who’ll have to deal with it.
8 Catch A Movie: What Some Drivers Do Between Shifts
There are some perks to being a bus driver depending on where the driver is. For instance, if the driver takes the kids on a field trip, they get in for free and can enjoy the museum or waterpark along with everyone else. If on a tour bus, the driver can enjoy all the stops and scenic points too. I know I would. MSN.com says that a lot of drivers take in a matinee when they have free time for instance, because they can watch a popular movie without all of the crazy crowds, and it doesn’t cost nearly as much. If their garage is close enough, most will go home and chill out until the next shift starts.
7 Push The Button: What Happens When People Don’t Want To Pay
Every public bus driver has gone through this scenario time and time again. A person gets on the bus knowing they don’t have enough money to pay for the fare. What happens in that case? The driver is simply instructed to let the customer know what the price is for the fare. Then they let the so-called passenger sit down for the ride. For free. True fact.
A lot of people that ride the bus get away with not paying.
The driver hits his special “No Fare Paid” button and that is that. Then those same “passengers” demand a transfer ticket, but normally never get one. It’s scenes like this that the other passengers don’t think about. Bus drivers have been killed because of arguments with non-paying customers. A lot of nice passengers will pay, but it’s a vicious circle, because now those non-payees know that someone will eventually “hook them up” for a free ride.
6 Sorry I’m Late: Why The Bus Is Sometimes Behind Schedule
Buses are late sometimes. I get that and understand it. There are those whoever that do not get it. They blame the driver for making them late to get to wherever they are going. They don’t realize that the driver was probably dealing with an emergency, or a non-paying customer, or a confrontation, etc. They simply don’t care. Bus drivers have a set schedule when making each and every stop. There’s a digital timer displayed on one of their numerous gages that tells them the exact time and also tells them when to be at their next assigned stop. Bus drivers are penalized if they arrive early to a stop. They actually have to wait until the buses timer says they can move on to the next stop. So, buses can always be late, but they can never, ever be early.
5 Not A Conversationalist: Why Drivers Rarely Speak To Passengers
Most bus drivers don’t mind speaking to you. It’s just with all of the regular distractions going on every second inside and outside of the bus, there’s very little time to have a heartfelt discussion with you. They are not taxis in the sense that an Uber or Lyft might be. There’s rarely a one-on-one conversation with a bus driver unless they wish to say something directly to you. And that’s a good thing, because you know the driver is simply devoting their time to get you to your next destination as safely and efficiently as possible without being even more distracted than they already are.
4 When Drivers Take A Stand
Everyone has their limits, including bus drivers. I would say a bus driver’s limits are quite different than most other people.
They are already used to dealing with lots of different personalities, so I feel they have a much higher tolerance with dealing with a person’s attitude.
This Huffington Post articlebest explains how people really treat some drivers. I have seen this first hand myself where I live and am in awe of others with this much restraint. There’s also the CBC.com article where parents forced the firing of a bus driver who was assaulted by a student, because he dared to touch the student. The bus driver was later reinstated when video evidence showed the parents how their precious little angel behaves on the bus. As if they didn’t already know this.
3 In Case Of Emergency: Keep A Phone Handy
Bus drivers have no need for a phone. They have a radio to their dispatch available when needed. Bus drivers need to radio their dispatch headquarter for just about anything they need. Some people mistakenly think that the driver is supposed to provide them with a phone when requested, but that’s not, nor has ever been the case. Cell phones are universal, anyone that wants one can go out and get one. When something such as an emergency pops up on the bus, the driver will notify their dispatch and the dispatch will take care of everything else. If people were that concerned, they would just dial 911 instead of livestreaming a dying person on their favorite social media account.
2 Pit Stops
Yep, they sure do. Bus drivers have access to all sorts of facilities they can use when they need to. In most mid to large cities, bus drivers are given a special key that allows them access to bathrooms, or rather Comfort Stations scattered all over the city, as transitriders.org reports. In some other cities there are also agreements in place for drivers to utilize the bathrooms of hotels and different businesses, where they can also take their breaks if they want. I think that’s a nice touch, having someplace to go even if it’s just to stretch your legs.
1 Most Drivers Love Their Job
Whether it’s the pay or the satisfaction of the job, most bus drivers wouldn’t trade their jobs for anything. I really can’t blame them, as I love writing articles for people to see, read and enjoy. Some drivers I spoke to said it was the rush of the people constantly hopping on or off the bus.
Others say it’s the great pay that keeps them motivated.
No matter the reason, I admire anyone who really enjoys what they do for a living. Not a lot of people can say that, or at least won’t admit it. All bus drivers, here’s to you.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com; mvd.com; nytimes.com