There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bus Driver Appreciation Day

It was early in the No. 82's run from American River College to Sacramento State. It was the second stop after I boarded and took my customary seat in the very back on the driver's side.

The bus had stopped to let a couple of passengers board and was just pulling away from the curb when I saw a head bobbing up and down and a hand waiving just outside the bus. Someone was running to catch the bus.

"You have a runner," I yelled to the driver.

"Thank you," said the driver as he stopped the bus and opened the door to let the young Sacramento State student board.

The other day after the SACOG meeting, I was discussing Sacramento Regional Transit bus service with two women as we all waited for the next No. 30 bus. One of the women had absolutely nothing good to say about RT bus drivers and especially those drivers who arrive at a stop early and then refuse to wait for runners.

"I've been told by drivers that I have to be at my stop five minutes early," she said. "If I'm not, I'm out of luck. Drivers have refused to open the door when I was standing beside the bus."

I tried my Pollyanna act and told her of the time a driver waited while a passenger ran across the street to get change, but it was only a half-hearted effort to apply lipstick on the drivers who don't mind leaving people behind. After all, it had only been a couple of weeks since I last watched a driver deliberately leave someone behind even after he was told he had a runner.

It was nice to start my weekly commute with one of the RT drivers who cares.

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