Photo by Flickr User GodzillaRockit

Tomorrow is International Bus Driver Appreciation Day, as is March 18th each year. Sherwin summed up the idea perfectly last year:

Whether you only commute by bus, or run all your everyday errands on transit, we encourage you to show your appreciation through any way you can… Even though it may be “Bus” Driver Appreciation Day, it certainly doesn’t hurt to say a quick thanks to train or streetcar operators if you manage to catch of glimpse of them (as long as you’re not disrupting them in the cab).

For someone who doesn’t witness enough riders thanking their drivers when exiting out the front, here’s a big thanks to all our driver readers and their coworkers.

Apparently, Metro’s rules forbid Metro drivers from accepting gifts, and I imagine there’s a good reason for that. Given all they have to put up with, it is a nice gesture to take a minute to say “thanks” or other words of appreciation, even if you cannot give your driver a present.

10 Replies to “Tomorrow is Bus Driver Appreciation Day”

  1. Much deserved, Andrew. But it’s not just bus drivers. Some seriously-deferred appreciation, is about thirty years in arrears for a whole nation of working people, public and private both.

    Transit drivers do indeed occupy a special category, a segment with three distinguishing characteristics:

    1. A noticeable difference between doing the job well and doing it badly.

    2. Critical consequences connected to the difference.

    2. The need to make critical alterations in normal family life to do the work.

    The business world has never had a problem with the idea that the highest possible wages to attract top-quality management are a matter of corporate survival.

    How about celebrating this appreciation day by extending that exact same calculation to the whole payroll- instead of insisting that first-line workers be judged above all by willingness to accept less money and worse treatment than anybody else?

    A large barrage of e-mail to all our elected representatives insisting that the above become stated national policy, for transit workers and everybody else: that’s the kind of appreciation this country needs to hear this year- and even more, next year.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Personally I always thank my bus driver as I get off the bus, and I make sure to throw a sir or ma’am in there as well, whichever is appropriate.

  3. I’ll put in a plug for Equipment Service Worker appreciation day and Mechanic appreciation day. When somebody pukes in a bus we drivers just hands it off to ESW who get the joy of cleaning it up. As for the Mechanics all you need to do is watch them put chains on *once* to appreciate the job they do. Then just try to imagine them doing that over, and over, and over, and over again only to be told to pull them all off the next day when it doesn’t end up snowing. Yes, they get OT, but it’s a LOT of work.

    Supervisors… Yeah, I suppose you should appreciate them too. It’s easier for me to appreciate the work they do since I haven’t received a PR in a couple of years. :)

  4. I may seem irritable most of the time on this blog. Frankly, 75% of Metro experiences are legitimately irritating.

    But I’d like to say, for the record, that I really appreciate the vast majority of the drivers themselves. Those who make the most of the poorly designed system under which they labor. Those who move as quickly as possible while still being friendly. Those who drive like they know you can’t spend your whole day in transit and really care that you get where you’re going. Those already making efforts since the recent change in rear-door guidelines to get riders in the habit of rear-door exit and faster (“is someone exiting?” hesitation-free) entry.

    This may surprise the Blog, but I do make a point of being friendly, courteous, and thankful to these drivers every day of the year.

    And while my frustration with the vocal minority who defend slow-running and diffuse routing (because it’s all they know) is entirely legitimate — the first step to fixing bad transit is recognizing bad transit, especially from within the organizational structure — I really hope that all the great drivers (Vélo!) haven’t seen themselves in my barbs. I know I’ve sometimes overgeneralized deleteriously, and I want to directly apologize for that.

  5. Can’t hand them a gift?

    OK, hand them the receipt from the charity to which you gave money in their honor.

  6. You can do more than just say “thanks”. Every day people use the online form to send in complaints. Did you know you can also use it to send in a commendation?

    FYI, drivers are given a copy (sans identifying info) of all complaints and commendations. So if you have an issue – be nice. If you have a compliment, be as motivated to tell customer service as you would be if you were unhappy.

    1. Commendations are also posted on the wall at the base for all to read. The same drivers seem to receive them over and over again and those drivers tend to be the really friendly ones. I’ve only had one or two in all the years I’ve driven for Metro probably because I’m polite but not particularly friendly. It’s a defense mechanism I’ve developed over the years to avoid being engaged in chatter. Meh, whatever…

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