IamA former Public Transit Bus Driver AMA!
My short bio: Hey! I was a bus operator in Boston for several years, up until about June of this year. I can't believe people actually want to know about the day-to-day of it, but I saw the request and figured why not. Here are my answers from the request thread:
- Have you ever run a red light? Did you have to pay the full amount for the ticket, or did the company/state cover part?
All the time. There's a safe range to stop for changing lights. We're trained to watch for "stale" greens, which means being aware of how long the light you're approaching has been green for and coasting towards it to anticipate a change. Sometimes that doesn't happen, if you see the light changing within a bus length (for the T, 40 feet), you keep on going. I'd average one red light or so a week. Never pulled over, never spoken to about it.
- Have you ever crashed into another vehicle, and whose fault was it? Did you get a penalty or a fine for it?
Never personally, but it happens a bit. I took a mirror off a taxi once. He was parked way too far out against a snowbank. We have an accident investigation inspector who pulls the video tapes off the bus, reads your report, and breaks it down into several possible outcomes:
P: What every driver fears. Preventable accident. Means there was something under your direct control that caused the accident. They had a lot of latitude to lay blame on the driver. You could legally found not at fault and still receive a P.
NP: Not preventable. Means you had absolutely no control over the situation.
R: Reinstruction. Means you might've had some control, but that you didn't technically do anything wrong. Most people get an R for their first accident. The inspector will tell you exactly how to avoid the situation going forward.
- Have you ever had to do something odd while driving? (eg; miss your turn and had to make a u-turn? Swerve lanes for a bad driver?)
All the time. Slam on the brakes for someone just randomly stopping in the middle of the road. Swerving to avoid someone pulling out in front of you without looking. Never missed a turn, but that happens frequently to new drivers.
- Whats the difference between driving a double tall and a single story bus? Is it worse? How much control do you have over your schedule?)
Never had to drive a double decker, so I have no clue. Control over our schedule is nice though. At the beginning of every quarter, you "pick" your work for the upcoming season. I can certainly get more into the process if people are interested.
- If you could change anything about your route/ bus/ the system, what would you change? Is there anything that really annoys you?
The only thing I'd change is the attitudes and relationships between the drivers and the passengers. People are brutal. As far as schedules go, we pick our work on a quarterly basis. It's a whole crazy process i can get into in detail if you want.
My Proof: I can PM proof to mods upon request, my specific transit authority had a bunch of NDA clauses, so I'd rather remain anonymous.