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March 16, 2012

This Sunday, thank your bus driver

by Nicole Schlosser

While it may be slightly overshadowed by St. Patrick’s Day and the recently touted Pi Day, International Bus Driver Appreciation Day really does exist and should get more attention, both inside and outside the transportation industry.

This past year we have seen how difficult a job bus drivers have, as they work with what appears to be an increasingly hostile public. This month alone, there were news stories about a Brampton Transit driver who was attacked by two men on his bus and needed stitches, another who had to be treated at a hospital after a woman threw “a liquid believed to be rubbing alcohol” in his face, and Broward County Transit drivers calling for more protection after one was dealt a black eye from a passenger.

Late last year was no better. Detroit Department of Transportation drivers walked out on their jobs after one was attacked by a passenger, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority drivers were shot at, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus drivers were attacked on their buses in three separate incidents.

Meanwhile, these drivers take passengers to work, school, medical appointments, shopping and social events safely and cheaply, nearly every day, amid challenges including weather, unpopular fare increases and service cuts, and still-looming layoffs in quite a few places.

Considering all this, these workers in particular deserve some appreciation. TriMet is letting the public know about this chance to thank their bus drivers for all that they do. Surprisingly, a few Google searches over the past couple of days yielded no other results indicating transit agencies participating in acknowledging their employees in this way. Hopefully, that’s not true. Is your agency doing anything for drivers this Sunday?

Nicole Schlosser

Senior Editor

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  • Dave[ March 16th, 2012 @ 12:33pm ]

    As a TriMet employee, I can assure you that while March 18 is being touted as Bus Driver Appreciation Day, the other 364 days of the year (or 365 this year) are Assault on Union Workers Day. We are at 2 1/2 years without a contract, and TriMet management's latest tactic is a public relations campaign against us over the contract dispute. Bus Driver Appreciation DAY? How about frontline employee appreciation ALL YEAR LONG?

  • Angie Johnson[ March 16th, 2012 @ 4:52pm ]

    It was refreshing to read you little article on International Bus driver Appreciation Day. I wanted to share with you that I am a Safety & Training Manager for Mv Transportation. We are the contractor that operates transit busses for the Western Contra Costa County Transit Authority in Pinole California. Today we showed appreciation for our bus drivers by putting on what I must say was a great spread. Corned Beef & Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes, Rice, Pinto Beans, Corn Bread , followed with homemade peach cobbler!! We love and value each and evry driver and it was out small way of showing our deep appreaciation. I would be more than happy to share photos if you are interested.

  • R.C. Noderer[ March 16th, 2012 @ 6:53pm ]

    Don't see this being "embraced" in the Phoenix, AZ region this Sunday. The operators were on strike until today. A lot of hardship and ill will among patrons forced to deal with the issue.

  • Dick[ March 18th, 2012 @ 2:53pm ]

    Isn't it funny that these multi year contract negotiations that union members pay for either through their dues structure and or through added deductions in the form of assessements, contract negotiation funds, etc., are paid for on the other side by our tax dollars. Thats right my fellow union brothers and sisters, not only are we paying our hard earned dollars to negotiate with an "unwilling" employer and in many cases locally elected transit boards that know next to nothing about transit or possibly as little as the directors of our transit agencys themselves, we are paying through our tax dollars to pay their salaries as well as the exorbitant legal fees some of their "hired gun" negotiating attorneys charge. Citizens of your local tax based systems should be appraised of this fact, management does not care how long they stall, the cost is not coming our of their salary in any way except by the small percentage they may pay in local taxes...that is if they even live within the local district.

  • Communist John Defalque[ March 18th, 2012 @ 4:20pm ]

    Subways are the best form of mass transit, followed by buses.It's easier on the planet that sustains us all than everyone having a car.We should all live collectively, co-operatively and sustainably.What is frustrating for users is that we all know mass transit was better 70 yrs ago.GM should be made to rebuild the streetcar network that they destroyed.The auto sector should never be bailed out again.Cars, like ornamental lawns exist solely to create class envy and set us apart.Imagine how much clearer our streets would be if GM wasn't permitted to kill the competition?Imagine how cheap gasoline would be and how large our remaining reserves would still be.Imagine how much less of our water would be free of slick and acidification.Imagine how much cleaner our air would be.Imagine all the people sharing all the earth.

  • Larry F[ March 19th, 2012 @ 6:06am ]

    Is this/TriMet serious? Probably the most ridiculous "appreciation day" that has been thought of yet. How about drivers showing the customer an "appreciation day". In my Ohio city, rude, surly drivers are the norm - even to their own non-union co-workers. What am I supposed to appreciate? The drivers are unionized, have no perfromance standards, receive automatic raises, are highly overpaid (especially with O.T.), and takes an act of god to get fired. Listen - its the customer - day in and day out - that appreciation should be focused on, not the driver. Until that mentality is burnt into their unionized brain washed minds, public transit will remain second rate to the masses.

  • Mike[ March 20th, 2012 @ 3:58pm ]

    I will thank my bus driver by not riding the Phoenix bus system. They stranded me due to the Phoenix strike. I'm done with them.


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