Stop thanking your bus driver


Dear anonymous bus driver: someone else has already done me the courtesy of vandalising the back of one of your bus seats with these words: “Stop thanking these mutant bus drivers.” I never would have written them, but after your late arrival and aloof demeanour as I stepped aboard, I secretly hope it’s you who has to scrub them off the hard, plastic seat. Perhaps then I would feel sympathy toward you in your contract dispute with B.C. Transit, but as it is, I only feel resentment knowing I will be late getting to class.

Anonymous bus driver, what is it about me that repulses you so? Let me make pit stops at various hypotheses while you speed through red lights. Could it be your aversion to my university student status? Maybe. After all, students were some of the few who dared rail against inadequate B.C. Transit services with the “Passed Up, WTF” campaign of 2010. Could it be that you feel you’re wasting time driving a near-empty bus in the middle of the day? Perhaps. Without the existence of a B.C. Transit Smartphone app providing by-the-minute updates on overtime route cancellations, your usual riders have most likely abandoned their bus shelters and sought other means of transportation by now. Think of all that time saved!

Why are you so grouchy, anonymous bus driver? Do you find it unfair that you receive up to $26 per hour to sit on your ass and move your foot from pedal to pedal while some of us, including myself, hold two degrees and still can find no work? Do you find it uncomfortable to dress in street clothes during your partial union strike, leaving riders unable to properly identify if their driver really is a B.C. Transit employee? Talk about a recipe for disaster: just add a pinch of unprofessionalism here, a dash of danger there . . .

I’ll let you in on a little secret, anonymous bus driver: I also have many years of customer service under my belt. Perhaps I am not as seasoned in your methods of passive-aggressiveness toward strangers, but five years as a cashier in a grocery store has taught me a thing or two about human interaction. Let me demonstrate using the following three scenarios.

Scenario 1: A rider boards a bus. Do you smile and greet them, or do you stare straight ahead and pretend they don’t exist? Scenario 2: An elderly woman is slow to take her seat. Do you offer assistance, or do you mumble “Goddamn” and check your watch? And finally, Scenario 3: When a rider asks you directions to a particular street within your route, do you chat with them to figure out exactly where they wish to go, or do you offer a mere “I dunno, man,” followed by a shrug? If you don’t know how these scenarios should end, I’m afraid you’ll have to repeat Communications 101: How To Be a Better Bus Driver.

In conclusion, you’ll find no sympathy from me, anonymous bus driver, toward your union and its crusade. Your lackadaisical attitude has left me no choice but to consider driving my own vehicle. I don’t approve of producing further greenhouse gas emissions, but I don’t approve of your services, either. So I’m at a crossroads. And I’m also at my stop. This will be the last time I board your bus for a while. I plan on meeting with a local car salesman to discuss payment plan options for a new SUV. Sure, it’s big and loud and hogs the road, just like your bus, but aren’t V8 diesel engines all the rage these days?