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Please treat our bus drivers with respect

By Ryoma 3 August 2011 51

I have just come to work on a bus. As I was late (again!), I only just managed to catch it, and spent the first five minutes panting for breath.

But at one intersection, the bus driver hesitated as to where to go, and a guy sitting behind me roared out words to the effect of “turn left, you idiot”. The bus driver answered “OK, just needed to let that car go past” (which was true), which led to another round from Mr. Bozo along the lines of “hurry up, get on with it”.

The bus driver asked him to sit down and let him concentrate on the road, which caused another lady to have a crack at him. Things then went quiet until the end of the journey in a town centre. Fortunately the large male bozo got off with no further comment, but the lady wanted to let the bus driver have it. She said various choice words, and suggested that she would report him.

I was next in line to get off the bus, but after she’d stormed off, I thanked the bus driver and said I was sorry that people thought it was OK to be so rude. He thanked me for my concern, and explained that he’d been telephoned at 5.30am this morning to fill in for a sick colleague, but that he usually drove buses right at the other end of Canberra. Given that my office is only half-full at present given the numbers of people sick with winter cold and flu, this sounded plausible. I said to the driver I’d back him up if a complaint was made, and wished him a better day ahead.

On my arrival at work, I called the number he’d given me, and explained what had happened (from my point of view) to his supervisor. The supervisor explained that the guy had actually retired 3 years ago, but was on stand-by if they got stuck, and had been driving for 30-plus years. He thanked me for giving positive feedback, and would talk to the driver in question to see if he was OK.

The other bus-related thing this morning was to see a young man wearing headphones nearly get wiped out by a bus near the crossing to my office. This person walked straight out against a red pedestrian light, and didn’t look to his left at all. I screamed “”STOP!” and put my hands up, but he kept coming – and the bus missed him by less than a foot. 

Perhaps at times, some of our bus drivers can be a bit grumpy or lazy. Perhaps at times they run late, or they look as if they’d rather be doing anything else than driving a bus. Perhaps we feel we should have a better public transport service. But I’ve also met drivers at other times who are cheerful, friendly, and helpful.

However, these people are what allows us to actually have a public transport system at all. Given what their job involves – wrestling 10 tonnes of metal through an increasingly congested city for hours on end, and dealing with the general public – I suggest that many of us are not keen on doing either task, or the tasks of many people who work in other service industries.

So the next time you think about having a go at someone in a service role, especially with the excuse of “it’s their job”, a bit of humility and compassion would not go astray. It’s been a while, but my work experiences in these industries when I was younger shows me that such jobs are often a lot harder than they look on the surface…and the memories of how badly I did at many of them still haunt me…

Where would we be without bus drivers/waitresses/cleaning staff and the like? We already have a skills shortage, and it’s going to get worse. Maybe it’s time we gave these people the respect and consideration we’d like to recieve ourselves in any given situation.

What’s Your opinion?

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51 Responses to
Please treat our bus drivers with respect
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what_the 10:09 am 13 Aug 11

gazket said :

Why do buses only do 50 kp/h all the way to Gungahlin from Ginnenderra drive Belconnen yet can do 60 kp/h through the roundabouts so you can’t pass them. I see this every morning at 6:40 am .

Psst, ever noticed the please do not overtake turning vehicle signs on the back of buses?

Jaleekay 9:05 am 13 Aug 11

Ryoma, I totally agree with your post. Some people are infact very rude towards bus drivers – I find this especially the case when occassionally catching any of the 300 buses. The express buses aren’t so bad – every one on those ones are nice to each other as well as the bus driver. I don’t understand how people can have the nerve to talk to the bus drivers the way they do, or swear at them as I have seen before on the 300 buses. Please people – treat the bus drivers with respect. They’re there to assist you with your transportation needs. And they’re people just like us and they deserve respect!

BigDave 8:23 pm 11 Aug 11

What an excellent post, Ryoma! Lessons for us all to learn.
I’ll show it to my dad who happens to be probably the nicest bus driver you’ll meet. And he’s part of a MAJORITY of that type!
What a shame that this thread, as with others on this subject, has been hijacked by the usual Anti-Action keyboard heroes…

Feng 12:22 pm 05 Aug 11

Jivrashia said :

Feng said :

In many ways, people don’t hate bus drivers


At least that’s the age old adage.

Or was there a “don’t” as a prefix…? I’ve forgotten…

Again, read my post in full. It’s not just about shooting the messenger if all the messenger did was deliver the message. It’s because the messenger delivered the message with rudeness that caused them to be shot all the time. E.g. Adhering to stupid protocols without explaining why thus being unhelpful.

Watson 11:53 am 05 Aug 11

Skidd Marx said :

How about we just treat everyone with respect, bus drivers included?


And even if some are grumpy sometimes, it’s always going to be counterproductive to react aggressively. My strategy with cranky pants staff is always to become more and more cheerful and polite. If it doesn’t guilt them into lifting their game, at least I can get satisfaction out of the fact that my insufferable cheefulness must have annoyed them immensely. 😉

Skidd Marx 11:25 am 05 Aug 11

How about we just treat everyone with respect, bus drivers included?

Cantoangel 10:24 am 05 Aug 11

I’m glad you took the time to do this – and to highlight the fact that the services industry is just as important as whatever industry we work in.

I reckon everyone should be forced to do work experience in a services role just to understand how challenging it can be.

However, there *was* one incident where I was crossing Mort Street with the GREEN pedestrian lights…I had to stop walking (and stand in the middle of the street) as the bus driver decided to just turn his bus in front of my colleague and I. I wrote to ACTION but never received a reply. You get bad and good bus drivers I suppose.

Mr Gillespie 10:14 am 05 Aug 11

Jethro said :

…….I was always under the impression your preferred mode of transport would be a white Holden Commodore, not a pushy/bus combo. 🙂

On that particular day, I had to go to a place where there was no parking for miles all round (unless I was prepared to pay through the nose), and it was too hot to ride all the way to Civic, and for your information I don’t own a Holden Commodore.

Innovation 9:31 am 05 Aug 11

I’ve found this thread very interesting and informative. Kudos to Ryoma. No one should be treated like dirt. We all experience people that annoy us but it is rarely intentional and, while it is appropriate to let those people know when we are not happy with something, it is completely unneccessary to insult them or abuse them.

As for ACTION, most drivers and passengers I encounter are very considerate and polite. The problem is that the attitude and behaviour of a few can ruin the reputation of many. As has been pointed out here, ACTION has fundamental flaws in design and accountability, which no one individual is responsible for. I’m sure that many people vent their accumulated frustrations on bus drivers, especially if the driver is only human and has made a mistake, because these are the only people that those bus users ever deal with.

Darkfalz 1:33 am 05 Aug 11

I’m never rude to bus drivers, they’ve got a s*** job (which pays well enough, mind) and have to deal with refuse (some routes are significantly worse than others). Only problems I’ve had is when a bus right out of the depot decides he’s going to leave 5 minutes early in the morning, so I get to watch it whiz past on my way to the stop. This tends to happen early morning. On another occasion the driver decided he’d take a shortcut to the interchange and ignore my stop, so I reported him. Generally these are good folks though, and they put up with enough s***. I remember one moron on Northbourne avenue, way late for the bus and trying to flag him down about 20 metres after it had departed the stop, actually jumped in front of it and banged on the window, causing the driver to have to stop suddenly and jolt all the passengers.

Jivrashia 11:14 pm 04 Aug 11

Feng said :

In many ways, people don’t hate bus drivers


At least that’s the age old adage.

Or was there a “don’t” as a prefix…? I’ve forgotten…

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