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?
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.