Transit Driver Appreciation Day: Thank You From AddTransit!

Have you ever thought about how hard your bus driver works?  They might make the job look like it’s just tootling around all day, but bus drivers have to work hard, be constantly alert, and perform their duties with a smile.

Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Here are some of the ways bus drivers do an amazing job:

They Keep You Safe

According to research done in the EU, buses are the safest way to travel.  They are even safer than walking!  This is in large part due to the excellent training that bus drivers receive.  They have to pass difficult knowledge and driving tests, take medical exams, and continue to take classes throughout their careers to improve their driving.

Most people have had the experience of driving the family car with the distractions of passengers talking or kids crying.  Now imagine doing it with 30 passengers while handling a 40 foot, 27,000 pound vehicle!  Bus drivers must be intensely focused at all times to keep you safe on the road.

 

They Drive in All Weather

Some people might choose to take the bus in the winter when the weather is bad so they don’t have to drive.  But the bus drivers are still driving in that nasty weather!  Bus drivers work in rain, sleet, hail, snow, and high winds, at all times of day and night.  Not only do they have to make sure their own driving is safe, slow, and careful, they have to watch out for other drivers who are going too fast for the conditions.  People slide on the ice or pull right out in front of buses, and those buses don’t stop on a dime!  Bus drivers have to be extremely skilled to stay safe in winter weather conditions.

 

They’re Usually on Time (and when they’re not, it’s usually for a good reason!)

Bus drivers do an excellent job of running their routes on time.  Think about how difficult it is to time a trip.  You’ve been to the same grocery store or friend’s house or you kid’s school dozens, maybe hundreds of times, but do you know exactly, down to the minute, how long it takes to get there?  Most of us estimate, “Oh, it takes about 10 minutes,” then when we hit a little traffic, we’re 5 minutes late!

Bus drivers stay on track the majority of the time.  It’s frustrating when they are late, but consider the reasons.  They may have had to help someone in a wheelchair get on or off the bus at the last stop.  Maybe there was a car accident and they were held up in traffic.  Maybe an elderly passenger took a long time fishing change out of her purse.  Try to be patient with your bus driver when he or she is late, and consider all the times they have been on time despite constant fluctuations in the contributing factors.

 

Bus Drivers Deal with All Sorts of People

Sometimes passengers get angry at bus drivers for not having change, for fare increases or for being 30 seconds late.  Sometimes passengers are intoxicated and acting rowdy.  Some passengers harass other passengers, threaten other passengers or the driver, or bring weapons on the bus.  Bus drivers deal with all of this in a professional and firm, yet kind manner.  They have to make judgement calls about allowing potentially troublesome passengers on the bus and how to handle rule violations like standing in the front of the bus, and they have to do it in such a way that does not escalate a possibly dangerous situation.

 

Bus Drivers Do It All With a Smile

Even on less eventful days, bus drivers have to deal with hundreds of people in a polite and professional manner.  They say “hello” and “good morning” and “have a nice day” dozens of times.  They patiently help an elderly passenger up the steps, give a lollypop to an upset child, and listen to that one passenger’s story about his cats for the 300th time.  They remember the names and the faces and the usual stops of their regular passengers, and they help new passengers figure out the transit map.  And they do it all with a smile!

 

On this Transit Driver Appreciation Day, AddTransit wants to say THANK YOU to all the bus drivers around the world for doing their job well, keeping their passengers safe, and providing excellent customer service!

If you’d like a special way to say thank you to your bus driver, check out the Transit Driver Appreciation Day website.  They have thank you cards you can print.  You can also use the #tdad hashtag on social media and tag your bus or public transit company.

Transit News Roundup – Latest Industry Updates

Every day we find transit news that is relevant and useful to you. But if you missed these daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Linkedin, you can find them all here in one place each week!

Here’s what happened in the transit world last week:

BUSES & SCHOOL BUSES:

Retiree’s Last Bus Ride Home Leads to a Sweet Surprise

Angelo Fracassa has taken the bus to work for 60 years.  On his last day, his family and friends surprised him by joining him on the bus and taking him to a retirement party.

 

Franchised Bus Routes Could Reap $1Billion

The Tourism and Transport Forum Australia reports that franchising bus routes in certain cities could add $1billion to government revenue over 5 years.

 

Big Brother Buses?  Union, Bus Agency in Eavesdropping Fight

A legal battle is underway about whether surveillance of bus passengers can include audio recording.

 

Is Your Bus Company Ready for Mothering Sunday?

Mothering Sunday was on March 6th in the UK, and we provided some ideas for bus companies to make sure they’re ready for the increased traffic, have their schedules online, and are showing appreciation to the hard working mothers on their teams.

 

Making School Bus Time Fun and Safe

Ideas from the school bus safety program.

 

Kiss-Blowing Grandma Receives Birthday Surprise from Kids on School Bus

Doris Vehar greets the kids on the school bus every day when they come by her house.  This year, they surprised her on her birthday.

 

EPA Helps Schools Get Cleaner-Burning Buses

The US Environmental Protection Agency is granting funds to schools bus providers to help them replace or retrofit old diesel buses with greener models.

Transit News by AddTransit

READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY

Puttin’ On the Push for Read Across America Day

James Ojeda is a bus driver who’s been reading Dr. Suess books to kids for almost 20 years on Read Across America Day.

 

Reading Celebration Tried and True in Truro

Among some other tried and true ideas to make Read Across America Day a success, the Truro Public Library has had Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess’s famous book The Cat in the Hat meet kids at the bus.

 

TRAINS

Here’s How to Connect to Mumbai Central’s Free Public WiFi

Google is providing free public WiFi to the Mumbai Central train station, and they will roll out WiFi to 100 more rail stations this year.

 

A Brief Overview of Rail History in the Foothills Cities

Watch an interesting video about rail in the San Gabriel Valley.

 

TRANSIT TECHNOLOGY

Startup Makes Sense of Transit Data

The new company Urban Engines helps transit companies take the massive amounts of data from transit research and turn it into actionable plans.

 

Zonar Announces Key Leadership Changes to Support Rapid Growth and Business Development

Zonar is a leading transportation technology company, and they just brought on four new executives to support their growth.

 

PUBLIC TRANSIT

How San Francisco Got Its New Rider Friendly Transport Map

This new transit map is nice, but we think having an app on your phone is easier to read and more convenient.  What do you think?

 

The Astonishing Human Potential Wasted on Commutes

It takes the average commuter 26 minutes to get to work.  That adds up to 1.8 trillion minutes that Americans spend getting to and from work!  This includes both time spent in the car and on public transit, but we know from other research that taking the bus or train can often be faster than driving.  It’s also cheaper and more environmentally sustainable, and you can work, sleep or read while you commute.  So if you have to commute, take transit, and don’t let that time be wasted.

 

Commuters Could Save 1000 Pounds Per Year by Choosing Bus Over Car, Research Shows

Commuting by bus is 55% cheaper than by car.   That’s a lot of savings!

 

The Best Cities for Public Transportation

Cities in the US were ranked according to the commute time, the percentage of commuters who use transit, and the median income of transit users.  10 cities came out on top.  Check them out!

 

Take Transit to See Mum for Mothering Sunday

The UK has a lot of transit options for visiting Mum on Mothering Sunday or on any other day.  Whether you took the ferry, coach, undersea train, bus or rail, we hope you utilized the money saving option of traveling by transit this week.  If not, go see Mum today!  And take her for a train ride- she’ll love it!

 

The Car Century was a Mistake.  It’s Time to Move On.

Some cities are exploring the benefits of making certain areas car-free.  With exceptions for moving freight, this article explores the option of using streets as social spaces and providing good public transit.

 

Making Public Transportation Part of the Elections

With the US elections coming up, the APTA encourages voters to make their wishes known about public transit to their representatives by writing letters to the editor, using social media and contacting politicians directly.

 

Everything’s Riding on Forecasts for Transit Plans

City Councillors in Toronto are trying to decide which transit projects to fund.

 

HYPERLOOP

A New Mode of Transportation

Students from MUN are just one of many teams who are working on developing the hyperloop.

 

Simulation Driven Design Fast Tracks Hyperloop Development

Design teams are getting ready for the hyperloop race by testing parameters and designs virtually.

 

Hyperloop is the Perfect Way to Move Goods, Not People

While the hyperloop is undeniably a really awesome concept, some people think that it might be better for transporting freight.  What do you think?

 

Trial Bringing Into Open New Datasets for Smarter Travel in Home Counties

This project will make multi-modal transportation information available so app developers can make better transit apps.

 

What do you think about any of the articles or topics?  We’d love to hear from you!

History of Women in Transit: Inspirational Women in Transport

Transportation has always been a male-dominated field, with women often discouraged or outright banned from participating in the industry.  However, many woman have overcome these challenges, proven their ability to do the job, and lobbied to get all-male unions and associations to change their rules.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting just a few of the  many women who have been involved in the transit industry.

History of Women in Transit: Inspirational Women in Transport

Anne Bush

Anne Bush was the first woman in the United States to receive a driver’s license, which at that time was called a “steam engineer’s license,” in the year 1900.

 

Alice Hulyer

Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive from one coast of the United States to the other.  She took three other women with her, and they traveled with no maps and often on dirt roads .  She said,“if we got lost, we’d take to the high ground and search the horizon for the nearest telephone poles with the most wires. It was a sure way of locating the transcontinental railroad which we knew would lead us back to civilization.”  She later began racing cars against men and frequently won.

 

Helen Shultz

In 1922, Helen Shultz started the Red Ball Transportation Company.  She dealt with heavy rains destroying the roads her buses traveled on and various financial struggles, but she capitalized on the newspapers calling her the “Iowa Bus Queen.”  She eventually sold the business for $200,000.

 

Mary Walton

Mary Walton received a patent in 1879 for a device that filtered smokestack emissions through water to clean the air of pollutants.  The device was used on trains in New York City.  Mary then received a patent for a sound dampening system that she sold to the Metropolitan Railroad of New York City.

 

Olive Dennis

Olive Dennis was the second woman to graduate college with a civil engineering degree, and she became the engineer of service for the B&O railroad.  She received a patent for her invention of the Dennis ventilator, and she contributed to the invention and design of air-conditioned coaches, dimmers on overhead lights, individual reclining seats, and stain-resistant upholstery.  She was also the first woman to be a member of the American Railway Engineering Association.

For more reading on these women, see Women in Transportation: Changing America’s History.

 

Kathleen Andrews

Kathleen Andrews was a bus driver and transport Manager.  She was the first woman to become a Transit Operator, Dispatcher and Manager in Alberta, Canada.

Read more about Kathleen Andrews here.

 

Joyce Barry

Joyce Barry was the first woman to become a tram driver in Australia.  She started as a conductor during WWII, and when all of the other female conductors were fired after the war was over, she was rehired.

The tramway union objected to women becoming drivers because of the strength it took to use the manual handbrake and the ability it took to climb onto the roof and retrieve the trolley-pole if the trolley-rope broke.   Having experience felling trees, driving tractors and milking cows, Joyce thought these objections were “‘complete balderdash.”  The union went so far as to go on strike to protest the training of Joyce and another woman, Catherine Stone.

In 1975, nearly 20 years after the union passed a resolution to forbid female drivers, the resolution was rescinded, and Joyce became Australia’s first female tram driver.   She worked as a driver for the next seven years.

Read more about Joyce Barry here.

 

Karen Harrison

Karen Harrison was the first female train driver in Britain.  She applied with the British Rail at only 16 years old, and when the recruiters met her and found out she was a woman, they tried to get her to become a secretary instead.   She said her career was “Ten years of hell, ten years of heaven,” because she enjoyed the job, but had to endure verbal and physical abuse from her male coworkers.   She was also an active trade unionist and eventually presided over the train driver’s union’s annual conference.

 

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is an icon of the defeat of the Jim Crow laws of racial segregation in the United States.  She refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in an act of protest and was subsequently arrested.  She followed in the footsteps of other African Americans who had protested in a similar way, such as Irene Morgan, Sarah Louise Keys and several other women and men.  She became a symbol of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and worked with other civil rights leaders such as Edgar Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr.   She was fired from her job as a seamstress and received many death threats.

The Women’s Political Council was the first group to endorse the bus boycott, and then the movement quickly spread as 40,000 African American bus commuters walked and took carpools rather than taking the bus.   Rosa Parks was considered by black community leaders to be the perfect plaintiff for their legal case, as she was a mature, responsible woman with steady employment.  The boycott continued for 381 days, and the supreme court finally ruled on a different case, Browder vs. Gayle, that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.  Rosa Parks is known around the world as a leader in the civil rights movement.

Read more about Rosa Parks here.

The history of women in transit has been a long, hard road, but today, women are involved in every level of transit.  They are still a much smaller percentage of the total transit workforce, however, especially in management positions.

In some cities in the US, women make up 36% of all transit employees, but only 4% of transportation companies having 50% or more women in management positions.   Read more here.

 

We’d love to hear from you!  Do you have a story about being a female first in the transit industry?  Or how your gender has influenced your opportunities and advancement?  How has working with women expanded your company’s perspective and vision?

Online Real-time Vehicle Tracking Software

Online real-time vehicle tracking software gives you the ability to view your bus positions, locate your trains and monitor your ferries or trams wherever they are.  Additionally, you can provide this same information to passengers so that they can plan their journeys and so that their friends and families can have the security of knowing when they will depart and arrive.

Real Time Vehicle Tracking Software

Vehicle Tracking Software – The Technology

AddTransit’s technology is easy to deploy.  There is no need for IT consultants or hardware that costs tens of thousands of dollars.  Instead we just add an app to a GPS enabled smartphone or tablet which is carried on the vehicle.  With the accuracy of smartphones now being approximately the size of a vehicle in an area with good mobile/cell coverage, this enables the vehicle location to easily be pinpointed.

The smartphone or tablet, then sends a secure signal using the HTTPS protocol to our servers, which then display the location on a map.

Secure and Accurate Vehicle Tracking

To ensure secure and accurate vehicle tracking, each vehicle is has its a unique identifier (e.g. a Licence Plate or Registration Number) entered and the on board company representative (e.g. driver, pilot, or other staff member) has to login.  Key trip details are also selected so that you can know which vehicle, company representative is currently logging the vehicles location.

Online  Vehicle Tracking- The Display

Tracking bus positions, or other vehicles locations is then as simple as logging into the AddTransit website.  The location of the bus, ferry, train or tram are shown on map and update at regular intervals. Depending on your need, you can select to monitor a particular vehicle, trip or route.  As the solution is online and real-time, you can monitor your vehicles from wherever your staff need to.  For example, your staff could monitor your vehicles from both the head office and from ticket sales locations, depots or docks.

Vehicle Tracking Apps, Journey Planners and Maps

Using AddTransit’s online real-time vehicle tracking also enables you to have your vehicle’s locations displayed on vehicle tracking apps, journey planners and maps.  We can provide a GTFS Real-time data feed which can be used by companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to display your vehicle’s locations on their maps.

Contact us to find out more or Sign up today!