How To Cope With Being A Bus Driver


The truth is simple. 

Driving a bus is hard work. Not hard work as in concrete work, that is very hard work. It’s hard in a different way than is easily explained. So let me give this a try. 

When I write this blog I’m always looking for the positive story, the story no one has heard of about Tri-met, but to tell only the positive is to ignore the great difficulty bus operators face. So how do I do it? How do I write about the hard negative aspects of bus operations while keeping my post positive?

I thought I would show you how I cope with a hard day. What do I do when I feel that everything is crowding in on me. When people are entering my bus pissed off because the Portland Streetcars are broke down or the Max Train is blocked again and it’s freezing cold. 

Whenever I feel that tension building in me, this is what I do to remind myself of the good. At the first stop I can, I pull over and pull out my sharpie pen. (Love my sharpie) and I write on my left hand a message to myself.

Is Someone’s
Loved One


I read that over and over at red lights, I repeat it at stops and while driving. 

I keep my mind focused on that and it changes my frame of mind. 

I’m not perfect, nor do I pretend to be. Like all other drivers I feel the bite and edge of the job. 

To break the cycle of feeling bad, then having bad experiences that cause me to feel worse. I focus on what’s important. Not schedules, that’s for sure. A driver that chases their schedule is never happy. What makes you feel better is the human connection between you and your riders and even, yes, you and those crazy drivers around your bus. 

Once I write this down that simple message on my hand, my day changes. It may not be perfect but it always gets better. 

I know other drivers who have similar things they do. One driver clips a picture of his son to his sun shade. Another driver I know has a bracelet made for her by her sixth grade daughter. She puts that on and it fixes her day. Sometimes driver have a song or a saying they focus on. Any tool in the toolbox is a good tool if it helps you overcome those hard days. 

I thought there would be more to this story, turns out no, this is it. 

You all have a good day and you keep Rolling Easy. 

Love you all.