Thrown under the bus

From The Battalion: Opinion

By Richard Creecy

Published: Monday, June 14, 2010

Although the spring semester is a recent memory, for many Aggies school continues into the summer. As parking pass prices have soared in recent years, coupled with the extreme prejudice of parking enforcement in College Station, the bus is certainly the most convenient form of transportation.

Every student at Texas A&M pays for the bus while enrolled. There is a $70 per semester fee, except in the summer when it is $35 per five-week term. This fee is to “provide unlimited free access to all students to the on-campus and off-campus services.”  Much like printing services and library enhancement fees, if you do not use it, you lose it. All students should utilize these services, and just as we riders and patrons of the transit system must conform to certain rules and standards like departure times and no spitting on the windows, bus drivers should also be held to certain standards.

Anyone that has ridden the bus with any consistency has come across this rogue bus driver. The one that does not stop for the person running to catch the bus, blares whatever music suits his fancy and keeps the temperature at such hot or cold extremes that passengers wish they had brought a wide variety of apparel. 

These are the bus drivers that give transit service a bad name. These drivers are forgetting the most fundamental aspect of having a job: being employed. Bus drivers are our employees, as we pay our $70 fee to partake of this service.  Imagine if while shopping at H.E.B. you went up to an employee to ask him a question, but your desperate pleas were drowned out by a large boom box blasting music as he went about his job. It would be inconsiderate and rude under any other circumstances, and is improper here. 

Bus drivers need to adhere to certain common workplace etiquette standards.  This is not to imply that the bus driver does not have the right to be comfortable while performing his or her duties, but that power is limited by prevailing customer opinion. After all, the customer is always right.  Also, there are a plethora of important-sounding facts and figures out there that state the obvious: too much noise is distracting, and being distracted while driving is never a good thing. 

Of course, most bus drivers are dedicated to their job and consequently provide great customer service. But students who are unfortunate enough to come across a less than courteous driver have options. 

“All the complaints we get are read and processed,” said June Broughton, communications and marketing manager for transportation services. “Students with complaints can go to the transit services website and submit a complaint form under the ‘contact us’ section, or they can call 979-847-Ride (7433).”

But students should be just as courteous to drivers and keep in mind that driving a bus is a stressful job. Remember that being a bus driver brings long, monotonous hours, and the constant stress of traffic is bound to make any one cranky once in a while.

No matter what the situation is, bus drivers need to remember they are public servants while performing their tasks on and off campus. The drivers should be a neutral presence while driving the buses by maintaining proper workplace etiquette. Proper courtesy and consideration by bus drivers and passengers can help both have a better ride.