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.

Here's some mail I have from them for now.

Comments: 72 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

Totes_mahgotes21 karma

Genuine question; how do drivers feel about people who say "Thank you" to you before they exit the bus? I've always wondered.

I always try to thank my driver because I know he/she probably has or had a long day ahead of them, and I always hope that it may make it better if they might've recently come across an asshole passenger or if they're having just a rough day. I wanna just let them know I appreciate them doing their job and bringing me to my destination.


Whether we show it or not, it makes our day. The people who go out of their way to say good morning or thank you will always be remembered. If you ever forget your pass or wallet, we got you ;)

carpy224 karma

How about a wave as we exit the through the back?


I usually give a thumbs up or point to acknowledge it.

Emerald_Triangle13 karma

How much does it annoy you when passengers don't have their fare ready?

because it annoys the shit outta me as a passenger as we have to wait 5 minutes for someone to fumble through their purse.


It's infuriating. Especially when there's any sort of weather going on outside, people who aren't ready always seem to push to the front of the line and then load their cards in pennies. If I'm in a shitty mood, I'll tell them to get off and hit the back of the line.

jaxsonthotnton10 karma

How do you feel about the common stereotype of a bus driver? Ya know how in tv shows bus drivers are always fat gross slobs? Does that stereotype carry much truth from your co workers?


I gained like 40lbs working there. It's brutal. You sit in a seat all day with no movement, work 12-15 hour days, then get called for OT. By the time you get out, you just want to go eat whatever is the quickest and go to sleep. It's a pretty fair stereotype, and definitely for a reason.

ccyhkvyhilivul7 karma

How often did you have to call the police on someone for simply refusing to pay a fare?



If someone got on the bus and said "Hey man, I just don't have it today", I'd let them slide. 99.999% of the time, they'd be thankful and never ask again. For teenagers, I'd tell them everyone gets one freebie and that's it. After that, they wouldn't ask.

Riversongspoilerss2 karma

Do you have a good face memory? I mean, if you don't you could by mistake let someone do it twice, three times as long as they don't do it every day..


Extremely. Most of the people you pick up, you'll see more than once. The people trying to scam a free ride usually are habitual. If you're firm the first time, they'll wait on another driver to try and test.

Gentleman_Retard6 karma



Mia Khalifa, yo.

sherrysalt5 karma

Have you had any favorite regulars? What about least favorite regulars?


I had a ton of favorite regulars. They'd stand right up at the yellow line and just talk about random stuff. That always made the trip go by quick, and is always appreciated. I had one not-so-great regular that'd do the same thing, except she always traveled with a rolling suitcase. Not sure why, she didn't have a job or anything, but she'd clog the aisle and people weren't able to get out the front door. Tell her to sit, she pretends she didn't hear you. Sweet lady, total pain in the ass.

Ta2whitey5 karma

Hey. Fellow operator here. In the bay area. Do you participate in the rodeos?


I don't! I wanted to, but I valued my day off more. I will say, no better feeling than maneuvering a 40' beast through tough situations.

Ta2whitey2 karma

Yea. Did you watch the American Top Gear where they featured Big Rig driving? Tanner Foust himself said something to the tune "that commercial driving is tougher than driving a race car. It's a skill set that is so much more intense". I am most likely misquoting him.


I'm gonna have to watch that. What kind of equipment are you driving on a day to day? I really wanted to give the 60 foot DMAs a shot, but couldn't get into the garage that uses em.

Ta2whitey3 karma

My everyday is a 40 footer hybrid from Gillig. I really dig the degenerate braking system. Only two gears essentially. There is no lag from throttle to brake or vice versa. So, exceptional control. I hear other drives gripe about the turning, but it doesn't effect me.

The 63 footers are for our commuter routes. I was on it a few bids ago. We use them for our special assignments such as filling in for our subway system when they are making repairs. I just drove one yesterday for that scenario. They are good. They aren't low shelf though, so the elderly takes some time.


Those Gillig hybrids look damn sharp. I started out in the RTS, boy were those ugly. Fantastic in the snow, but that was about it. Moved onto the New Flyer buses a few years back. Those babies can move.

jc-miles5 karma

Do you get bored driving the same road every day?


Extremely, but you don't necessarily do the same route over and over. Most of the work is built so you'll do 3 or 4 routes a day.

While it can be monotonous, Boston traffic always gives you something new.

PoorlyCoded4 karma

What was the strangest thing that's happened on your bus?


Had a junkie steal my paycheck out of my pocket once. Never found that bitch again.

mib57993 karma

Y u no direct deposit?


I was too lazy to take the time to go downtown and file it with payroll.

ziarki3 karma

Did you deal with alot of pikeys?


Yes. I hate them.

Jtsup3 karma

Nicest person you have ever encountered?


I have this old poet named Bruce, he always chases my bus down to give me pens and calenders with his name on it. Awesome guy, plus his pens have a flashlight on the tip, makes 5am pullouts with no lighting in the garage easier.

InsanitySheWolf3 karma

When you park the bus and get off at the end of your shift, do you close the door from the outside or leave them open?


There's an air pressure dump by the driver's window that releases all air pressure from the front doors. At the end of your night, you pull the bus into line, dump the air and shut the bus off. I'd typically leave the doors open for the fuelers, they have to grab the bus a few minutes after you drop it and fuel/clean it.

062103112 karma

Given that you did picks, were you in ATU?


Yep! ATU and Boston Carmen's Union Local 589.

062103112 karma

I used to be in 1005. It sucked.


It all sounds great in training, once you get out there it feels like blood money. How long did you put in?

062103113 karma

3 years, but I was on the clerical side. I moved to a non rep position about a year ago, and my pay and working conditions are much better. I never felt supported or valued by the leadership anyway, to be honest.


That seems to be the industry standard, not supporting the working people. Glad you got into a better position!

Thehighvegan2 karma

Did you ever have to deal with someone causing problems on the bus? What happened?


All the time. I've had one or two physical fights, for those you just pull over, open both doors so that people can get off if they want and call for police via radio. Most of the time, it was just people playing music on their phones or screaming at their phone on speakerphone. I liked to remind them that we're all just trying to get to/from work and that they needed to cut the nonsense. Normally, once the driver says something, a few of the passengers will give the person grief until they comply.

superphily22 karma

How do you drive for hours without feeling sleepy? Also how do you overcome the bus blind spots when you turn and back up?


Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

As far as blind spots go, there's a million of em. Just have to bob and weave in your seat. As far as backing up goes, they train us to never have to back up while in service.

I've only had to three or four times. You're supposed to have a spotter back you up by waving you on, but I just beep the horn a few times and hope for the best. Most people won't get in the way of a 20ton sled moving backwards.

SinSmithy2 karma

Ever have anyone famous or supposedly famous (ie saying "Don't you know who I am?")


A lot of "my dad is your bosses bosses uncle's sister" type of shit. Most "do you know who I am" types won't take the bus where I was driving ;)

carpy222 karma

Dot? Mattapan? Southie? Quincy?


First was Matapan, then I moved to Lynn.

spirit_spine2 karma

As an office worker, how do you manage to stay seated for such long a time?


When driving a bus, I'd walk around the interior and exterior while on layover.

zeroReiZero2 karma

Why did you leave the job and what are you doing/looking for, job wise?


The environment was toxic. Ridership hates you, the management treats you like a child. I have a cushy office job with weekends off now.

Ellthan2 karma

Have you ever caught someone masturbating or a couple having sex in the bus? How did you handle it if so and what did they say when caught?


Never really encountered that. I do encounter a lot of smoking, drinking, and vaping. I just play the announcement and glare really meanly into the rear view mirror. Those problems take care of themselves.

lulush14-8 karma

How often do you uppercut women?


Is that some weird stereotype I'm not aware of?