Things have been a little crazy on the city buses lately.
First there was the driver who was videotaped shouting, swearing and intimidating the student. (If you haven’t seen that video yet, here it is).
Then there was the driver of the #5 who, when challenged by a frustrated customer for arriving 40 minutes late, got off his bus and walked away.
The singing bus driver has been ordered to stop singing because a handful of crankypants passengers complained.
And now the head of the union is threatening to take the buses off the road if “the witch hunt” doesn’t stop.
Tensions are definitely escalating.
Should the verbally abusive driver who threatened to put his fist in that kid’s mouth be fired? I say yes. Being a bus driver involves way more than driving a bus. It also requires an ability to interact appropriately with customers. If you can be that big of a jerk towards a customer, it’s time to find a new job, like driving a truck.
I’m sure it’s hard dealing with customers while trying to drive a bus, especially when your customers are frequently irate because, through no fault of your own, your bus is often infuriatingly late. The bus drivers aren’t responsible for scheduling, yet they’re the ones who take the flack when it’s done badly.
I kind of respect the driver who walked away from his bus. At least he recognized his own limits. He was probably just as frustrated about the bus being 40 minutes late as his passengers were, yet they were blaming him for it. Not only that, but one of them was urging the others to contact their city councilors to complain about it. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I can see how it might have been the last straw for the driver. Frustration is cumulative, and his had probably been building for hours. A bus doesn’t suddenly become 40 minutes late.
He didn’t explode, he didn’t swear, he didn’t insult or threaten anybody. He just put on his coat and went for a walk. (My understanding is that when the bus is running late, the driver has to sacrifice his break, so on a chronically late bus like the #5, he might never get a break.)
Last but not least, we have Yves Roy, our happy, cheerful, friendly, singing bus driver, who has been ordered to stop singing. This even made the Huffington Post). I think he should be allowed to sing his little heart out while driving the bus. (Today is Sing On the Bus Day, by the way. Everybody’s encouraged to sing on the bus in support of Yves Roy.)
Anyway. Nobody expects the buses to be paradise. They’re crowded, uncomfortable, grumpy places filled with people who would rather be somewhere else. All things considered, most drivers and passengers are remarkably civilized to one another. There’s no point getting adversarial towards one other, since more often than not we’re frustrated by the same things – things that neither group controls.
Maybe it’s time for passengers and drivers to form some kind of alliance to lobby for improvements to the system.
(By the way, is anybody else worried about catching bedbugs on the bus?)