He had never driven anything longer than a pickup truck, but that didn’t stop a local driver from signing up to pilot a city bus through narrow downtown streets. Since starting with Kingston Transit he has struggled on occasion, and admits that much of the job is just figuring it out as he goes along.
“Some days I have no idea where stops are,” confessed the bus driver. “I’m usually good with the route, so I make the turns and just look for signs and hope for the best. Usually that works out fine, and if I miss one or two, people are pretty understanding.”
Procedures on the bus were also an uphill battle. The noises and indicators were initially confusing, and bordering on dangerously distracting. He admits it took a few runs to realize what the “stop requested” sign was about, and still hasn’t figured out all the different fare structures.
“It’s amazing how honest people are. I just glare at them, and they will present a pass, or scan a pass, or drop coins in. I haven’t got a clue what each one of them is, or what the amount is they’re supposed to pay, but people just work it out for themselves. If they are stuck and look to me for help, I just wave them on because I’m just as lost as they are.”
Recently, the experience under his belt has started to turn things around, and there has been a noticeable difference in the riders and their attitudes.
“When I started I would get yelled at all the time. ‘you missed a stop’ and ‘where are you going’ and ‘you’re 20 minutes late!’ “, the bus driver recited mockingly. “But now it’s only every once in a while, and it’s usually something like I turned too fast and tipped a stroller, or I sideswiped another car and didn’t notice. You know, little stuff.”
With the new transit expansion plan looming, the driver is worried about the future of his position.
“All those new routes, new people who aren’t used to us… it’s going to be a struggle.” he confessed. “but we’ll just have to keep going and hope for the best.”