The County Council has declared this week bus driver appreciation week, partly in response to the assault on a driver last month.  This is not to be confused with the international bus driver appreciation day on March 18th.

I guess train drivers, being hermetically sealed from riders, are left out of the love.  They certainly have to put up with less from the passengers.  I ride enough of the sketchy routes (7, 124) to know that it’s a job I don’t think I could do.  Thanks guys!

27 Replies to “Bus Driver Appreciation Week”

  1. Yeah, but try giving homemade cookies to a bus driver who doesn’t know you…. I bet they’d end up in the trash. Bus drivers have to be paranoid that even the most mild-mannered passenger could be someone secretly bent on some kind of revenge… (sadly).

  2. Thanks so much! I have ridden Metro since I was in 1st grade and can attest to the great job that bus drivers do. My hats off to you.

  3. Yayyy bus drivers! What small tokens would bus drivers like to receive as a (non-creepy) sign of our appreciation?

      1. Deutsche Marks or Dollars, American Express will do nicely thank you!

        (No, I am not calling the KCMetro Coach Operators whores!)

  4. As a 27 year employee of Metro, and now a light rail operator, I remember the first driver appreciation day years ago and we even got pins from managment for doing a good job. Then it snowballed to include not just drivers but all transit employees and that made it very impersonal and not as important. For me, just a “Thanks for doing a good job” from someone leaving at their bus stop would be nice. I do agree that if I get something edible from someone like a cough drop or a cookie, if I don’t know them it would go into the trash, but after the person has left. It is just safer that way. As for us in rail, just a frendly wave of the hand is nice.

  5. Thanks to all the drivers/operators who do their jobs safely day after day — those of us who use transit appreciate that we can board buses and trains with confidence that we will arrive at our destination unharmed. (I’d certainly rather fight traffic while riding in a 15-ton bus than in my 1.5-ton PV.)

  6. I am very appreciative of drivers who make announcements just ahead of stops– especially on dark nights when it is hard to judge the next street. I also make a point in thanking those drivers who turn right on 24th Avenue NW off of NW Market Street, when safe, of course, on the red. That stop is interminably long with four cycles of lights, one for each street direction. Sometimes it takes several minutes to get through the congestion on NW Market Street before even coming to the light. Then to get the amber…I’m sure I’m the only one on the bus who cares, but… I also thank those drivers who bypass sometimes long backups on 15th Avenue W approaching the Ballard Bridge. Buses are allowed in the far right lane (which for cars is only to turn right just before the bridge, to Nickerson or to Emerson). Yet some bus drivers do not bypass and stay stuck in traffic for many minutes, all avoidable. I really appreciate those drivers who do those little extra steps to keep the buses moving along.

    1. You’re welcome. I’ve been driving the 15/18 for a few years now, a couple days a week and I do everything discribed above. Unless ofcourse I’m running early (Then you have to drag your feet.)
      I’ve been working nights lately, out until around midnight, but I switched back to days 2 weeks ago. I forgot how much I hated Market St on the 18 during the day on weekends. Takes atleast one or two light cycles to turn onto Market from Leary, and a couple more just to get to 24th.

      Thanks for everyone’s appreciation. Wish everyone felt that way about us.

  7. Yay drivers!

    Thank you for navigating traffic all day to take us riders where we need to go. Thanks for dealing with all the customers, including the weird ones, the tourists needing directions, and the commuters in a hurry. Thanks for being fast, efficient, and friendly.

    Without bus drivers, I couldn’t get around. Thanks!

  8. I make sure to thank the driver every time I exit the bus (at least when I go out through the front). I find it distasteful for riders to scurry off the bus without saying a word or acknowledgement to the driver.

    1. Having moved here from big cities back east, I find this practice to be one of the more oddly charming aspects of daily life in Seattle. Try thanking a bus driver in Chicago and you will get a strange look—if you get any response at all. The mutual cordiality, even downright kindness, between (most) bus operators and (most) passengers here is something I didn’t think existed anymore.

      1. It’s been a couple of years since I rode a CTA bus on a regular basis, but there weren’t any back then, or on the couple-few of buses I’ve ridden when visiting in the last 18 months or so. Guess they could be phasing them in slowly or something, altho a quick google just now came up empty.

      2. In NYC, they’re pleasantly surprised. In Boston, they’re scared you’re about to hand them something preachy.

  9. Agreed, I don’t see this courtesy anywhere else in the country. In fact, drivers and riders are downright rude to each other in most cities I’ve been too. Seattle at least has some form of common courtesy.

  10. An honest thank-you to all operators; especially when the lift starts acting up or the wheelchair restraints don’t want to budge, yet you still keep your cool.

  11. Many thanks to all the drivers out there – I’m deeply grateful for the helpful service you all provide.

  12. You’d do just fine on the Route 7, Martin. Those big sixty-foot Breda trolleybuses really are a lot of fun to drive. They were miserably underpowered in diesel when we used them for the dual-power Tunnel work, but they’ve got a good electric package.

    Trolleydriving is a classic skill, sort of like those guys at crafts fairs spinning copper candlesticks on a foot-pedal lathe. Takes about a year full-time ’til you really get it down. Everybody gets stuck on a “dead spot” at least once. Same with turning onto a street with no wire. And trying to pass another trolleybus with the poles of both buses on the same wire.

    Too bad they don’t include trolleybuses in “Bus Rodeos”- getting those poles back on the line is like some of those cowboy tricks- especially when the rope has wound itself around a signpost on the way down.

    Actually, that doesn’t happen so much with the new “retriever” mechanism. You’re also not so likely to get put on State Industrial from a spring triggering at the wrong time.

    You wouldn’t have any trouble with passengers, since you seem to be a pretty easygoing guy. I know you get worse abuse directed at you online every day- and do ok making sure your readers don’t have to put up with it- without getting rattled yourself.

    Since you’re trained in communications, and have good observation skills, you’ll learn quickly how to make police appear without anybody seeing you reach for the handset- before the perpetrators even get going on what they’ve been thinking about.

    Reason you should avoid this work: you’ve got a young family. Part-time maybe- though it might mean getting up at 3AM for a couple of hours’ work per day. But full-time is a hardship on normal people. HR used to have a test to weed these out- but if vigilance slips, results could be tragic.

    As for the old Driver Appreciation ceremonies- regret youthful cynicism about them twenty years ago- lightening up never hurt anybody. But a lot of us would have, and still would, much appreciate receiving the appreciation shown by being seriously included in the long-term and day-to-day operations planning of our transit system.

    Driver safety warning, however: may more drivers are injured by habitual ingestion of the cookies in the picture and the entire cuisine they represent than by berserk passengers. ATU Local 587 should insist on being appreciated with salads in future.

    Mark Dublin

  13. Thank you to all the friendly bus (and rail!) drivers who get me where I need to go! Whenever I say “thanks” as I tap my ORCA and hop off, please know I mean it sincerely.

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