By Carla Saulter, Transportation Choices, Seattle:
What is Bus Driver Appreciation Day, you ask? It’s a holiday (started by a couple of Seattle bus riders in 2009) set aside to acknowledge, celebrate, and otherwise lift up all the hard-working men and women who get us where we’re going. Why March 18th? The first bus service in the world started on March 18th, 1662–in Paris, France.
Here are some ways to honor your bus drivers on this holiday.
- Say “thank you.” Many of us already take the time to thank our drivers as we get off the bus. (These days, the rear exit system in King County makes this more difficult for KC Metro riders, but some of us still shout it out.) On the holiday, make a special effort to thank your drivers when you board the bus. Something simple like, “Happy Bus Driver Appreciation Day,” or “Thank you for your service,” is all it really takes to acknowledge your drivers’ hard work—and maybe even make their day.
- Be a good bus citizen. Make your driver’s day easier by helping someone on or off, giving up your seat for an elderly or disabled passenger without being asked, or picking up trash if you find some near your seat.
- Submit a commendation. If your bus driver does a great job, let the agency know. Commendations are tracked, included in drivers’ files, and are often considered as part of operator of the month/year decisions. Most transit agencies have an easy way to do this through their website. Or, simply pick up the phone and call.
- Put up a sign. Create a handmade sign or banner to put up somewhere along your favorite bus route. That way, all the drivers who cover the route will feel the love.
- Give a small token. Some agencies have policies against giving drivers gifts, but we’ve heard from a number of drivers that cards and small, edible treats are very much appreciated.