How far do transit drivers go for their customers?
Transit drivers cover an average of 163 miles on an average weekday. Paratransit operators—those who help transport people with disabilities—cover an average of 146 miles on weekdays. To serve customers at peak travel periods, operators report as early as 5 a.m. on weekdays to work and leave as late as midnight, depending on their shift.
As they ride the bus, many of our customers have told us their transit drivers take the time to help with acts of kindness that go way beyond their jobs. As we celebrate Bus Transit Appreciation Day we’re sharing a few of their comments and inviting you to send us your own on Facebook and Twitter as we celebrate Transit Driver Appreciation Day.
From Tim Hoegemeyer who is a regular rider on the FRX line—a true story of a suit delivered on time!
“I usually take the bus where Kendrick Martin is our bus driver. He is usually prompt, courteous, safe, a smooth driver, and everything else that makes for a great bus driver. But one particular morning he went above and beyond in his service and I wanted to let you know about it.
I am an attorney for the State Auditor’s office, and while I rarely have to appear in court, I do wear suits to work every day. One Monday, about half way from Fuquay to Raleigh, I somehow realized that I forgot my suit jacket at home. That Monday just happened to be a day when I actually had to go to court later that morning and could not make it through the day without a jacket. I at first thought I’m going to have to get my wife to wake up our three kids, load them in the car, and drive my suit jacket to me in downtown Raleigh. Of course that saddened me because it would inconvenience my loved ones and also defeat the purpose of taking the bus that day.
That is when it hit me that Kendrick would be making at least one, if not more, roundtrips to Fuquay and back, and perhaps my wife could bring my jacket to the bus stop just one mile from our home in Fuquay, and it could ride into town on Kendrick’s bus and I could get it at my bus stop which is literally at the front door of my office. I was about 1 minute from where he had to drop me off when I hatched this plan. In that time span, we made the coordination, and I called my wife and set it in motion. When I came out of my office at the appointed time, I waited just a brief moment, and Kendrick’s bus pulled up, and while he left off passengers, I boarded, grabbed my jacket and completed the successful mission.
Kendrick’s professionalism and friendliness let me know that my “wild” plan was worth mentioning to him, and his willingness to help me and the amazing way he carried out the plan helped me out of a jam and kept me from inconveniencing my family. All this was done without inconveniencing any other FRX passenger.
I truly appreciate what Kendrick did for me that day and wanted his employer to know it.
Thanks for running the bus between Fuquay and Raleigh and thanks for employing drivers like Kendrick.”
From Kelly Chtcheprov who was wearing her suit when she thought she had missed the bus!
“I’m writing to commend the fantastic customer service and true act of kindness a driver showed me tonight on the Robertson bus from Duke to UNC. I was running late (literally sprinting in heels, and a suit jacket across campus). I got to the bus stop right as the doors closed and he began to pull off. In one of the nicest gestures I have ever seen, he pulled around the circle and came back to pick me up. I don’t think my own family would have done that. I sincerely hope that GoDurham has an employee award. If so, Nate is incredibly deserving!
From: Christy Cornell who was able to pick up her kids against all odds!
“I’m a fairly regular rider of route 305 from Lake Pine to the Raleigh Municipal Building, where I work. Today was a day beyond days, my car was in the shop, my husband had informed me earlier in the day the repair was $2,700 (yes, I’ll be riding the 305 more often). I had told my husband that if he retrieved my car from the shop, dropped it at Lake Pine, I would pick the girls up from Girl Scouts in Apex at 7:30 p.m. I was in my office and via the ROUTER app, had watched the bus leave Moore Square and noticed that it had picked up speed on Salisbury Street. I wasn’t even out of the building yet. Yikes! I walked out of the building to find the bus already on Hargett Street.
I tried to wave down the driver in front of the Municipal building, but he passed me proceeding to turn left onto Dawson towards the Martin Street stop. I started to panic. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to run that fast to the stop. Why bother? I thought, I knew I had missed my chance and was already thinking about my back-up plan as I started to run. Maybe I would see if I could make it . . . however, I just knew at some point, it was going to pull away from the stop leaving me behind . . . But instead . . . the bus waited. I sincerely thought it was waiting for the guy who also was running to the same stop but was way ahead of me. I thought, now, once he’s on it will pull away any minute. But it waited some more . . .so I started running faster . . . and it continued to wait.
The driver and I eventually made eye contact and I knew that he knew that I needed to get on that bus! He continued waited, even with several cars waiting behind him . . . for me! Our eyes met and I prayed for the light to change so I could quickly cross Dawson at Martin to get on the bus. As I boarded, breathless, I thanked him immensely for his patience with me. Literally, all the folks on the bus clapped for my accomplishment. Knowing this driver didn’t have to wait, knowing he had a tight time schedule to meet, which he is probably held accountable for meeting, just made me tear up that he valued me as a passenger over any deadline. As a result, I was going to be able to pick up my kids on time. I was so grateful for his kindness and public service to me. His name is Tony Vaughan, bus # 2826 on 10-20-16. Please thank him again and see that he is commended for his service tonight. He is my hero. I hope to ride his bus again soon, but next time, I’ll leave for my stop much earlier.”