Clarifying 4 Myths About Driving Public Transit

In my time driving the bus I’ve seen a thing or two. I’m sure if i wrote all of it down, I’d have enough to write some sort of small book. But here’s the thing, anytime you work with people stuff will happen.

In my current and former life, I had always had the heart to recruit bus operators because I thought it was a really good opportunity. It’s kinda like, hey I think this is really cool and I think you should try it. It was an uphill battle. Truthfully speaking, I think one of the major factors in this current shortage is that social media had painted driving public transit as this super dangerous job for the last decade and transit didn’t respond. So we’re currently dealing with people who for the last 10 years have only been presented one side of the argument. Not to mention our society from its algorithms to the way we entertain has a bad habit of putting the negative stuff to the forefront. We called it “engagement”. This results in only one side of the argument being considered, and unfortunately because of that people have already made their minds up that this is some sort of bad evil job. 

Now, It’s outdated and suffers from legacy issues, but so does Congress

Myth One: The Passengers Are Confrontational

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For starters, people are confrontational, and nearly every job on this planet current is customer service oriented in some capacity. Anytime you have people you will have the potential for heated situations. Passengers are no different than the people who throw hissy fits in restaurants or Walmart. The reality is there are some people, that just suck…period.  They live to make s*** difficult for others. They can’t be bought, reasoned, or bargained with.

However, they only will represent about 1% of the passengers you will come into contact with. Most passengers, generally become disgruntled when they feel their time is being wasted. Which for the most part is the rule of thumb for most human beings. If you know your bus is late or there are delays of sorts, get in front of it. Understand the passengers, be apologetic and smile. You’ll avoid 99% of potential issues. The 1% will be the folks we talked about earlier. Having good customer service will avoid most issues while driving the bus. I may have had 5 super bad passengers in my career. While I’ve transported millions.

Myth Two: You’re Always at Work

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This myth has some truth but again has been promoted as a one-sided argument. When compared to the 71% of Americans who work between 7-3, -8-4, or 9-5 it could appear that bus drivers don’t have a lot of time home. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Transit has a wide array of shifts that allow you to truly be flexible. You just have to be strategic. People prefer 9-5’s because it automates their life and they can fit in with most Americans. Simply put it’s easier, because America is built around the 9-5 worker. Managing a transit job takes a little more thought, but provides more benefits. I went to college and drove the bus at the same time and was still home in enough time to watch Thursday Night Football I was a driver who preferred split shifts with 4-5 hour breaks because it gave me more productive sunlight hours.

Do you know how much you can get accomplished being on break from 10-3pm every day? You can build a business called Supir. You can visit your kid’s school, you can go to the gym, you can go to doctor’s appointments. The list goes on.

Perception is everything.

Myth Three: The Culture is Toxic and High School Like

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Again some truth, as I have written about the culture here but there are things to consider. When compared to a factory worker, you could make the argument that our culture is bad and like high school. But I would raise this question, where are the jobs that involve multiple people that don’t have their water cooler drama? Now to management, Transit like a lot of infrastructures in this country is run and managed by out-of-touch older white guys, and unfortunately, a lot of that bleeds into transit operations. But again, outside of your Silicon Valley start-ups, what job doesn’t have its “people problems”. Doctors? Maybe, I don’t know Grey’s Anatomy would suggest otherwise.

Myth Four: You Get Fired For Anything

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Now we’re getting warmer but again not true. You get micromanaged on everything, but fired? Naw. Actually driving transit especially if you’re backed by a union, is probably thee hardest job to get fired from. There are only 2 ways to get immediately fired from a transit job with no sort of progressive discipline or investigation. Those are talking on the phone while driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s literally it. Also consider, with unions and various policies, it could take up to a year to officially be terminated for something, and with things like arbitration if you are wrongfully terminated you’ll be brought back with back pay.

In summary, transit like nearly every other job on this planet has its stuff but the key is how you view it and how you can make it work for you. When you really break down the layers and make the job fit you, transit is an incredible opportunity! That pays lifelong dividends To find out more about how you can leverage the transit platform to start a promising career, join Supir, and connect with one of our team members today.

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