September 25, 2020

BY KELSEY HEELEY

Grand River Transit (GRT) bus drivers have a tough job. Although driving a bus all day may seem simple, it’s not.
Bus drivers have to put up with a lot of crap from people who use transit on a daily basis. Not only do they have to deal with passengers, but other drivers and pedestrians – who are too busy on their cellphones with ear buds in to pay attention.
As a girl who uses the bus almost every day, I can understand how the customer feels when the bus is late and they have to wait. However, as the daughter of a bus driver, I also understand how frustrating driving a bus is too.
I understand that people have places to go and things to do but a bus being late can’t always be helped. Red lights, car collisions, busy four-way stops, traffic jams, construction and breakdowns can all cause a bus to be late.
I’ve been on a broken down bus. After 15 minutes, a new bus arrived and the driver continued with the route trying his best to get back on schedule. An elderly woman got on the bus and started yelling at the driver because he was late and when he tried to get her to calm down so he could explain the situation, she wouldn’t listen.
I couldn’t believe how angry she was. With my luck she, of course, sat next to me and started ranting about the bus and how she didn’t like GRT. Before I got off, I apologized to the bus driver for her ignorance because he didn’t deserve it.
Passengers usually mind their own business and are fine. However, some people get on the bus drunk and they are sometimes harder to deal with.
I was on the No. 8 bus and two clearly intoxicated girls got on, followed by three mothers and their young children.
The bus was clearly going to be stopping in drama ville before it got to the Charles Street terminal. The two girls were talking as loud as they possibly could and were swearing like sailors. Well, the mothers who had toddlers didn’t appreciate it, for obvious reasons. When one of the mothers said something to the drunks, they flipped out.
A third party decided to add her two cents, nearly causing a brawl to break out. Although one of the drunken girls was clearly scared, the other kept antagonizing.
After some screaming, threats and cursing, the bus driver stepped in and told the two drunken girls to get off the bus. It was a peaceful ride after that.
Then there are those people who need a bus, but can’t read. It says right on the bus where it is going and on what street. For example; Fairview via Weber. That means the bus is going to Fairview Mall on Weber Street. I’ve seen this countless times. I have also heard countless stories from drivers, where the bus sign indicates it is going downtown but still passengers ask where the driver is heading. Are you kidding me?
Passengers who drive me up the wall the most are the ones who try to get out of the back door and can’t open it. It says right in the centre of the door, “Wave hand here.” Some people just stand there and yell “Back door!”
What we all need to remember is a little more common courtesy and awareness go a long way in making riding and driving the bus more enjoyable.