The People that Ride
As soon as we set off I start trying to imagine myself driving this bus. It's huge. I watch closely as Jim manoeuvres it out onto the road - there's not much room to get it into traffic - cars and trucks are coming at us, and we have to pull out onto a steep grade. Jim says, "I always leave lots of space cushion when pulling out of here." The route we're picking up is a 20 minute drive and Jim has already set the
sign to "Not in Service." Soon we're approaching the closest freeway ramp and I watch as Jim changes lanes, he really seems to watch the mirrors a lot. Once we're on the freeway Jim signals to get into the priority lane where we stay. Jim says this is part of our
route. Just as we're to get off the freeway it starts to snow. I ask, "What's the worst thing about snow?" Jim says, "it's the surprises that come at me. It could get icy; other drivers may start having a lot of trouble.
It slows me down and fouls up the schedule so I get late. This makes the riders anxious and I may have to exercise some of my customer relations skills. Summer is better!"
We're at the start of the route and sure enough there are people wanting on. Jim pulls in to the stop and opens the doors.
""Good morning everyone." Jim says. One calls out "Going to be a bad day for you with this snow!" "Oh no - a little snow can't stop me," Jim calls. Others say "Hi" as they get on and pay their
I realize that these people all know Jim. They are regulars. The same thing happens at the next stops. I ask, "Do you know all these people?"
"Most of them - when you've been driving as along as I have you might be surprised how much you get to know about them.
This is a good part of this job."
I sit back and think about how Jim must have to make an effort to be friendly.
But, then again, maybe being friendly and genuinely caring about people may be his nature. And maybe this also is what it means to be a professional.
I'm pulled out of my thoughts when Jim says, "There's a warning for the tail light! I'll have to fill out a
defect card. This is a task that is some what common and at the same time very important. Remember to have a look at how the Defect Card gets filled out. We will do that
before we do our check-out today."
If you are taking this course you likely have a driver's license. You may even have
an up-graded licence for operating a bus and be qualified to become trained as a bus operator.
So you already know a lot about driving, but there are specific skills that need to be mastered before one can become a safe and responsible bus operator. Bus operators need to be able to:
Another key aspect that bus operators need to monitor is their attitude and well being. Operators who focus their attitude on safety will
manoeuvre smoothly. There will be no jerky accelerations, no sudden stops or rough turns.