Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"SIT DOWN BUS DRIVER!!!"
The entry for today will consist of 3 sections, all of which have a common theme. I just wanted the readers to know in case there was some confusion about the direction in which this particular blog was going. Read it as 3 separate submissions if you will.
Part 1 of 3 -
During my years at Texas A&M University I was a Transit Operator, which is a fancy title for “Bus Driver,” similar to when people use the phrases “vertically challenged” in reference to short individuals or “sanitation consultant” to describe one that cleans toilets. But yes I was a bus driver, I obtained and secured a Commercial Driver’s License, and no I do not still have one, so don’t get any ideas. I drove for the University and transported students on-campus, off-campus and on occasion chartered certain groups to specific destinations. Being a transit operator was a lucrative student job that provided well for me and I can say that I enjoyed my experience with transportation services. After dominating the routes and perfecting my bus driving skills I was promoted to a training position and was responsible for those aspiring to become transit operators themselves. My time on the routes had become very rare and the majority of my work was split between training and driving the para-transit vans (these were specifically for those who required special accommodations due to physical or mental conditions; I met some pretty extraordinary students and professors on these days). Sometimes, I would even pick up Kendall in my mini van from class and even though we jokingly accuse her of riding the short bus, for these instances she just happened to be at the right place at the right time. However, I can only imagine what people must have thought of Kendall as they were traveling to their next class in the most trafficked area of main campus…
One of my most rewarding experiences as a bus driver was when Texas A&M sent 10 busses down to San Antonio to aid with Hurricane Katrina Relief. A group of fellow drivers and myself left College Station at Midnight and went to Kelly Air Force base to help with refugees who were arriving by plane coming from the Superdome in New Orleans. It was a long trip with very little sleep, but definitely worth it! And although I have retired from being a Transit Operator, I still on occasion sport the Transportation Services Polo and relive the good ol’ days!
Bus Riding Etiquette 101 – Part 2 of 3 –
This next section is dedicated to a cause we all feel strongly about and that is Etiquette…this may be present in a future document which I cannot comment on too heavily since it is still in its beginning stages and I do not wish to ruin it for our fans… However, I feel it necessary and appropriate at this time to educate society on what is acceptable and unacceptable bus occupant behavior…
Bus is approaching a stop –
Occupants inside the bus who are wishing to exit should remain in their seats, the full stop of the bus has the ability to propel one forward in the standing position (Read up on Newton’s laws, I think these may be fitting, if not disregard).
Occupants outside the bus…do not crowd the doors, let the people on the bus get off, the bus driver will not leave you if you are already standing at the stop. They are required to have perfect vision and if one does not they are require to wear corrective lenses. And if that isn’t enough, if the requirement for corrective lenses is indeed needed then said individual is also required to supply a back up set of corrective lenses. So needless to say; THEY SEE YOU.
Those approaching the stop wanting to ride…do not continue to mosey along up to the stop, the driver will not wait if you do not show haste, plus it is just rude to the other riders, we are on a schedule and no it isn’t your schedule. “If you run you ride, you walk you wait”
While Riding the Bus –
Do not ask the driver how soon they are going to leave, they will leave when it is time to leave
Do not throw your stuff around and take up multiple seats, the bus is not your room at home
Follow the rules that are prominently displayed throughout the inside of the cabin…if it says stand behind the yellow line, stand behind the yellow line. If it says do not stand in the stairwell, do not stand in the stairwell…pretty simple. Just like if there was a sign in front of an entrance to a pond that stated “Do not Swim in Pond due to Hazardous chemical spill and oversized man-eating piranhas” you wouldn’t swan dive in, I didn’t think so.
Do not let out an obnoxiously exaggerated sigh when the bus is at Red Lights, stuck behind traffic, waiting for pedestrians to cross (this brings me to another point, if you are a pedestrian, don’t walk in front of the bus at a non-designated cross-walk, seriously), or stuck at a railroad crossing…there is nothing you or the driver can do about it.
If you get on the bus at a “stop and go stop” and the bus is primarily empty, if you enter in the doors by the driver, do not walk all the way to the back of the bus, this takes a lot longer than one may think, especially when you are the driver having to wait to take off from the stop to keep from propelling your face into the back seat.
Finally and probably the most important rule…do not talk on your cell phone in the bus the reasons are two fold…
1. It is annoying, no one cares about what grade you got, who Johnny kissed the night before, or what you are going to wear to the party that night.
2. It is annoying, there is a lot of noise on the bus and this requires you to speak loudly because you can’t hear them speak you think they can’t hear you. Yelling about how Karen wet the bed is TMI for other occupants plus I don’t think Karen will appreciate it either.
“Lindsey has a life size cut out of Homer Simpson”
– Part 3 of 3 –
So far in this entry, which has become quite lengthy, I apologize for the novel it has quickly turned into; I have discussed my experience as a bus driver and bus riding etiquette. This final part’s relevance is tied to the hours of operation a transit operator such as myself experienced. I preferred to get my routes over with in the morning and then attend class, therefore I would usually work a first shift, and these shifts began around 6AM. Needless to say I was up pretty early in the morning and always before my lovely roommates (at this time who were Kendall and Lindsey). Also, due to my early rise I was usually pretty early to bed as well. One night as I was deep in slumber Kendall and Lindsey who were still awake, obviously very bored, decided to cause mischief which would directly affect me...
Here is my story…
It was 5AM Wednesday morning, it was spring and before daylight savings time so it was still dark outside. I had to be at work by 5:45 that morning and had a 15minute drive to campus from our duplex. As always in attempt to maximize sleep I was running late. I had allotted myself with just enough time to brush my teeth and put on my usual “I don’t have to think too much about this” transportation services representative outfit which consisted of jeans, close toed shoes (these are required) and my transportation services polo. Don’t worry I had showered the night before and I wore deodorant. So I gathered the necessary materials I needed for the day, I grabbed the keys to my Explorer and was ready to head out. The door to my room opened inward so while opening the door I was turning off my lights because energy conservation is very important to me and to my surprise there is Homer all up in my face (remember in our first blog entry I mentioned how Lindsey owned a life size cardboard cut out of Homer Simpson). At 5:30 in the morning, when it is dark and you are half awake and open the door to a giant Homer a lot of things go through your mind. First you panic because you have yet to realize that it is just a card board version of Homer in front of you and not the evil individual who has broken into your duplex to rob and murder you. Second, you hope that you did not just pee in your pants due to fright because you don’t have another clean pair of jeans or enough time to change because you are already late for work. Third, you think about how much you dislike your roommates whom you can hear snickering in their beds after hearing you yell out of fright. After I came too and got over the initial shock of Homer standing in my door way, I punched him in the face, stepped over him and verbalized the statement of “Not Funny Guys” loud enough for them to hear, knowing they were awake and scared, if only they knew what my inner monologue was yelling…
4:30 or so that afternoon rolls around and I get a call from Lindsey Steckel, having forgotten the incident from the morning I answered with my normal answer, “Hey Hoe.” A timid Steckel on the other end responds with “hey, do you hate us?” Apparently Kendall and Lindsey were both on their way to the rec-center where they were lifeguards and Kendall, to chicken to do it herself, made Lindsey call me. In the end we all laugh about what had happened that morning, them more so than me, they got the extra laughs in that morning. Homer however was never the same due to the face disfiguration from the punch to the nose. I feel bad he had to suffer because of immaturity and practical joking; we all know he had no control over his whereabouts that morning. We could all learn from this experience.