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?