Before we let this fine weekend fade to black, I want to remind everyone that Monday is Bus Driver Appreciation Day. We’ve mentioned this holiday— yes, I’m calling it a holiday– quite a few times in previous years. But it’s a day that’s very easy to overlook, especially since bus drivers can often be seen as just mechanical extensions of the bus itself. The reality, of course, is that our transit drivers are human, and as much as we complain about operator wages, slow drivers, mean drivers, etc., these folks are just other people trying to make a living.
It is true that no two transit operators are the same. They all have varying degrees of personality and operating prowess, so it’s very possible to find an operator who seems like the nicest person on the planet, but also just about the slowest driver ever. Conversely, there are drivers with little interest in customer service, but lots of interest in getting to their layover as quickly as possible. While yes, it is very important to maintain and enforce operating standards, it’s very easy to take our frustrations out on drivers when those standards aren’t met, despite the grueling responsibilities they have daily.
Instead of dwelling on negative feedback, the best thing we can do as riders is to focus on positive feedback and augment it when we see great things happening, while still remaining appreciative of each and every drivers’ work. For example, operators are often complimented more for their customer skills than they are for their ability to run on time. So when you encounter an operator doing the right thing, particularly displaying an uncanny ability to stay on schedule, submit a commendation! You’ll only be creating a positive feedback loop that will help even more drivers do the right thing.
So on Monday, and everyday, for that matter, appreciate your drivers. And for those that go the extra distance, be sure to let them know.