October 4, 2018

School Bus First Week Thoughts

Peter and I in a school bus

A quick follow-up to last weeks post about my new job as a School Bus Driver.

I had my first solo route drive last Thursday. My morning route is known as the Blue Route and it is pretty much driving due North out of town, picking up students until I get to my furthest pickup and then heading directly South while picking up a few more and then delivering them to their appropriate schools.

It's not a complicated route, but suitable for the newest driver. I have the route memorized now and am most of the way through getting my timings right. I'm still working on getting my turnarounds perfect and then I'll get to work on learning my students names.

The view from the driver's seat

Turnarounds are still my least favorite part of any route. School buses are long and the rear axle is about 2/3rd of the way back, so the turning isn't too bad in country lanes when driving forwards, but when backing into driveways to turn around, the back 1/3rd of the bus can feel like it's not behaving as well as I'd like. I haven't hit anything yet, but every backup is currently a very anxious experience for me still. I'm hoping that in the next week or two, I'll get them mastered as I have at least three each morning on the Blue Route and some other afternoon routes that I'm learning (so that I can substitute for when those drivers want time off) have more than that.

My morning student riders are a very quiet lot. I suppose it takes a while to get used to a new driver, but a couple of the boys spoke to me yesterday. Today was much less quiet on the bus as I took advantage of Benevolent Employers family ride along benefit and Peter accompanied me on the bus. He's been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks and he was quite talkative to some of the younger students. One of the girls seemed to take to him pretty quickly and let him play a game on her phone while we rode. Peter was soon laughing loudly enough that everyone on the bus was smiling.

Peter wanted to check the engine in the school bus

Tags: Personal Big Yellow School Bus