James Wang: What bus drivers should never do

​​In the motorcoach industry, just like in any other profession, some drivers care about their jobs and some don’t.

Sometimes, it’s because they are new to the job and don’t know any better. Experience and time will usually solve that if that individual cares about their profession.

But sometimes it’s just because they don’t care. I’ve seen and experienced a lot of things in this industry, and I’ve met and worked with many good drivers. To this very day,  when I see a seasoned driver with years of experience, I take every opportunity to absorb as much as I can from them. 

I’ve also seen drivers who do things that don’t reflect well on our industry and our image as bus drivers. 

And to be honest. I’ve done some of those things myself. And you know what? I’m still learning things today, things that will make me a better motorcoach operator and things that I can share with new drivers coming into the job.

As I put together my list of things that drivers do that make them look like rookies or unprofessional, I reached out to other drivers for their suggestions. Here’s the top of my list:: 

  1. Not caring about your appearance. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re operating a commercial passenger-carrying vehicle, it’s important to worry about what others think of your appearance and your vehicle’s appearance, inside and out. Your appearance represents the company you work for. 
  2. Drivers who stay in their seats while loading and unloading the passengers. At Peoria Charter, the company I work for, standing next to the door while passengers are boarding and disembarking is a paramount rule. It looks professional, as it allows the driver to present herself or himself to the passengers before departure. It also is a safety measure, as a driver can assist any passengers who may lose their footing during boarding or disembarking. 
  3. Filling their dash area with litter. An untidy driver’s area is an eyesore. There are lots of little nooks and crannies in the cockpit of a coach bus where a driver can shove their things, from clipboards to snacks. It looks especially sloppy from the outside if drivers stick papers and folders between the windshield and the dashboard. Some companies have rules about keeping the driver’s area tidy.
  4. Having their phone or a navigation device out, usually suctioned to the window. Nothing says “I don’t know where I’m going!” like an obtrusive GPS unit. I had never thought about this before, and it is something that I definitely am guilty of. I keep my navigation device mounted to the lower portion of my front windshield as close to the dash as I can. It’s not because I don’t know where I am going; I always make sure that I can get to where I need to go without my GPS. But I like to mount mine on the windshield and not on the side because If I do have to glance at it, I want to be able to keep my eyes forward so that I can still see the road. 
  5. Drivers looking like they got dressed in the dark. It’s definitely important to dress professionally. If you don’t look professional, then the passengers will be uncomfortable and scrutinize your driving even more than they already do. Some companies have uniforms and a uniform code that drivers have to follow. And damn, some of you look sharp. I’ve also seen a lot of coach bus companies that do not have uniforms but where the drivers still dress very professionally. You can definitely see the drivers who have pride in their jobs versus those who do not. Uniforms or not, if you show up to pick up your passengers looking like you just got out of bed, your passengers are not going to have a lot of confidence in you or your company. 

Check out my video to see my complete list of 10 things a bus driver should never do.

Viewers’ thoughts

Here’s what some of you had to say about my take on things a bus driver should never do. 

starcruze328: What really grinds my gears is seeing a coach go down the road so close to the vehicle ahead. It’s like they’re running at Talladega. Absolutely NO excuse for that.

matthewb9824: As a coach driver in Australia, I have to say I don’t get the whole “do not use GPS” thing. I’m not saying it should be solely relied upon, but it is a very useful tool, especially in today’s time-conscious world. Delays are sometimes unavoidable, but I personally find that by having a GPS running and showing my route, I am prepared for anything the road throws at me – be it an accident or an unexpected detour into unfamiliar territory. It saves me from stopping to look up where I have to go on a paper map or on the GPS while I have 50 or 60 pairs of eyes burning a hole in the back of my head! Some of the GPS units even have live traffic updates that will warn you of an impediment along your route and ask if you want to consider an alternative route. It can be a lifesaver and saved my butt a few times when I used to work as an airport bus operator where we just could not be late arriving!

Qwincyq6412: When I was a trainee driver, one company rule was that whenever you were outside the coach, you had to wear your uniform cap, whether greeting passengers, loading luggage, etc.


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