Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bus drivers are human too!

Living in a city like Chicago, there are hundreds of thousands of us that rely on public transportation at one point or another during the time that we live here. In spite of its shortcomings, we really have a great system in the city, especially compared with other big cities. In what feels like a previous lifetime, I lived on the bus or the el going back and forth to work day in day out. There were plenty of days that I wanted to strangle a fellow passenger or the bus driver. It happens to the best of us, especially in the crush of rush hour. And I've been out there waiting and waiting for that bus to arrive and then 3 come at the same time. Was I late more then once to work, yes, but often times I knew I was leaving too late to actually make it on time anyway. There were many days were I actually felt bad for the drivers. There was one day on my trusty 156 LaSalle, that the bus made a sudden stop to avoid a car that had gone through a very red light. A sight and hearing impaired woman seated on the bus hit her wrist on the seat in front of her and was quite upset. Several passengers tried to calm her and explain what had happened. Upon exiting the bus a couple stops later, she confronted the driver who offered to get her medical assistance repeatedly. She refused. The bus driver later asked us to fill out a report as witnesses to the incident and to his response for fear that she would report him. I was surprised to see that all but one or two people on the bus voluntarily filled out the form for him. I can't imagine driving a bus day in, day out and while I know there are some terrible bus drivers out there, they're human too. They stress out just like you do and might even hate their job sometimes just like you do. They can't make traffic move faster, they can't control the number of people waiting for the bus, nor can they control the CTA management. Try saying good morning to them every once in a while, you might be pleasantly surprised.

And since as passengers we always get to gripe, here's the bus driver's perspective courtesy of the Red Eye.

Bus vs. them
How to be a better rider