Friday, April 8, 2011

Through the eyes of an OC Transpo driver

It's rare that people get the opportunity to hear the perspective of an OC Transpo bus driver in Ottawa. City politicians and union representatives are usually quoted, but drivers aren't really ever in front of the mic talking about their job. But a new blog called Drives In Circles might give us that opportunity. The writer of the blog anonymously posts as "drivesincircles", and says he's looking to change people's minds about bus drivers, implying that he feels there's a negative perception out there. Although it's still very much a new site (started in March, only eight posts so far), it's had some interesting posts already. Among the more interesting was the driver's perspective on "the art of saying no" to people who don't have bus fare. As drivesincircles says, he's got a responsibility to his employer to collect the fare, as well as the other riders who've already paid their full fares, "to ask everyone to pay". It's almost a no-win situation, and would be much easier simply to let the person on for free, but that's not always the right or best way to handle things. I think the author explains it well:
I've done a bit of soul searching over the years as I deal with the public. I've come to the realization that treating people well is a great feeling. It makes my job better, and it makes my life better. The concept of 'paying it forward' is such a happy place to live. The more I do it, the better I feel. Having said that, I still use the same phrase "I'm really sorry, but I have to ask everyone to pay." when faced with someone who asks to board for free. Paying it forward does not mean I need to be a doormat.
It's an interesting perspective that few have been privy to, but hopefully drivesincircles (and perhaps some of his peers at OC Transpo) will be willing to continue posting so we get a better idea of what they've got to deal with.

1 comment:

Zhu said...

Thanks for the find, I'll definitely have a look. I take the bus a lot and I'm not a huge fan of OCTranspo (understatement!) but I'm curious to see the other side of the story.