Christiano: Please treat your bus driver kindly

In an interview with Kathy Trainor, Staff Assistant in Student and Campus life, I asked about the many challenges faced by the Geneseo Livingston Area Transportation Services bus drivers.  The bus drivers of Geneseo often do not get the recognition or respect that they deserve.  Since they are such an integral part of the Geneseo community it is important to highlight how difficult it is to be a bus driver.

A common problem that many drivers face is arriving on time to bus stops.  There is a lot of pressure for the bus drivers to pick up the students and bring them to their destination because students must arrive to class on time.  If drivers are late there are complaints and grievances from the students.  What students fail to realize is that depending on the season or time of the day, there are many obstacles drivers must face.  When there is a lot of snow on the ground drivers often must change their route to choose a driving path that is most safe for the students.  Snow banks and icy roads obstruct and hinder the travel of buses.

Weekend transit poses a whole separate set of challenges for bus drivers.  On an average weekend, buses transport 500 students a night.  The transportation advisory board must meet to discuss how bus drivers may make safe decisions while driving students.  There are restrictions as to how many people should be on a bus at a given time.  However, drivers do not have the time nor do passengers have the patience for them to count how many people are on the bus.  As a result the bus drivers must make the decision based on an estimation of the number of people on the bus and they must decide whether or not to let people on the bus.  Drivers often feel uncomfortable telling people to exit the bus if they are being too rowdy, but may be ticketed by the village police if buses are overcrowded or provide unsafe conditions.  Sometimes passengers behave indecently, at times exiting dangerously from the emergency exit of the bus.

The biggest complaint drivers have about their job stems from their feeling of being alone.  When driving around Geneseo, there is no one on the bus to assist them.  At times they feel like they are caught in the middle of upholding legal standards and upholding the requests of the passengers.  It is difficult to create a win-win situation for everyone.  Furthermore, most of the bus drivers have lived around the Geneseo area all of their life and are not accustomed to urban behavior.  In many situations they do not know how to react to the rambunctious and outgoing personalities of some riders.

To make life easier for divers, students can educate themselves on the rules of riding a community bus.  Knowledge of the bus procedures will also help students to be more understanding of the trouble bus drivers go through to ensure safe and timely travel around campus.