Bryce Buderer, 24, has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat since 2015. Since Buderer was 5, he has been in love with buses. He’s wanted to see, touch and step on the buses, and talk with the drivers.
“I even had a collection of toy buses and pretended to drive them on my floor as a young kid,” he said. “I became a student driver while attending the University of Toledo. In my senior year, I was promoted to the safety supervisor and training supervisor, where I oversaw operations and trained college students how to obtain their CDL and trained them for the CDL test.”
Now, he works at Getaway Tours in Milan, Michigan.
“I love every bit of it. This industry is like no other. It’s my family. If it wasn’t for the people in this industry, I would probably not be here today. This job saved my life. I have spent numerous hours alone detailing buses to clear my head, to get away from my darkest moments. This is the biggest family in the work industry, because I know we all stick together through thick and thin.”
Bus & Motorcoach News caught up with Buderer to talk to him about why he loves driving a motorcoach, his career highs and lows, and his passion for the business.
What’s the biggest tip you received and the story behind it?
The biggest tip I received was enough money to support myself for two weeks without work. I was with a tour group that requested me. I went on a 10-day tour with them, and didn’t have to pay for a single thing. They paid for everything — all my food, my attraction tickets. All I had to do was drive. And we did a New England tour and an Atlantic City tour, back to back.
Your strangest or most bizarre group you’ve driven?
I think the most bizarre group I drove was from a bar. They owned the bar, and we went bar-hopping on St. Patrick’s Day. It was all of their employees for a party. Talk about people who love to drink! I saw everything and then some. I was even given a back rub while driving because the lady behind me, I think, was “falling in love” with my driving and said, “Oh, you deserve a back rub.” To top it off, I had a passenger in that group insist on driving. I had to convince them for 30 minutes to let me drive. (Don’t worry, the bus was in park and it wasn’t running). I handed them my keys and said, “If you can figure out out to start it, by all means, you can take it over.”
What’s your go-to phrase?
I’m just the bus driver.
How did you become a driver?
I started my bus driving career at the age of 19 at the University of Toledo as a student driver. I worked with the university for three years. During my last semester, I was hired by Getaway Tours.
What are your previous careers?
I worked at an ice cream shop at the age of 16, was a manager at a water park until I was 19, then became a bus driver.
How many miles or states have you driven a bus?
I’ve driven a bus in 24 states.
What are your favorite destination and why?
My favorite is Nashville because of the atmosphere and the food.
From the perspective of the driver’s seat, what is your favorite bus?
My favorite bus is my black 2018 MCI, No. 281. I’ve driven that bus everywhere. I love how the bus can lower and raise, up to 5 inches each way.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received?
My driving and my work ethic, not only to keep the passengers happy but to keep the coach in pristine condition.
What’s your funniest travel story?
There are so many, but it’s never a dull moment when transporting college fraternity and sorority students. Just when you think you have seen it all or heard it all, something new happens.
What’s your best piece of advice for a newbie?
it’s never a dull moment, and you will continue to learn things every day. But, most importantly, know the vehicle you’re driving. And if you have to think about putting your vehicle somewhere, then it’s probably not a good idea. Never think twice.
What’s your favorite bus feature and why?
I would say my favorite bus feature is on the newer MCI where the tag tire turns making the bus able to make tighter turns. Along with the raising and lowering of the entire bus adding or losing an additional 5 or so
What’s your career highlight?
Meeting new drivers along the way!
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If you are a motorcoach driver and would like to be featured in From the Driver’s Seat, contact Shandra Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.