Category Archives: Holidays

Transit articles about preparing for, travelling during and enjoying holidays and special occasions

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.

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?

Is Your Bus Company Ready for Mothering Sunday?

Mothering Sunday is March 6th in the UK, and it can be a busy day for transit companies.  As riders rush to and from church, and too and from visiting Mum, they may be irritable about family rows or the lack of space on the bus.  Here are some ideas for keeping the day running smoothly.

Take Transit this Mothering Sunday

1. Remind your drivers in advance that Mothering Sunday might be an extra busy day.  Remind them of the importance of being polite to riders, even and maybe especially to those who are rude.  Sometimes all it takes is a smile to turn someone’s day around, and bus drivers are generally so good at this.

Also, have your drivers keep an eye on bus capacity, and cap it if necessary.  An overcrowded bus is unsafe and miserable for everyone on board.

2. Will your route or schedule be changing on Mothering Sunday?  How will your riders know?  Unexpected changes can make even the most passive of us pretty irritated.  Your riders expect that information to be online and easily accessible through their smart phones.  People are much more likely to take the bus if the process is simple.  They want to be able to book their tickets online, and make a clear plan of exactly how they’ll get to their destination and any stops along the way.  If things do change, they want to be notified in real time.

We can provide all of this travel planning convenience for your customers.  It’s easy and affordable to get your schedules online and provide riders with real time status updates in the case of delays.    Contact us and find out how!

3. Are any of your drivers or other employees mothers?  Take a moment to appreciate all they do!  They might not get to see their families on Mothering Sunday if they are working, so bring a cake into the office, pass out some flowers, or give them each a card.  You might also find some ideas in our Employee Appreciation Day post.

We’d love to hear from you!  What are you doing to make Mothering Sunday special?

Happy Mothering Sunday from AddTransit!

Take Transit to See Mum for Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is March 6 in the UK, and if you’re planning to go see Mum, there are no shortage of transit options.

Take Transit to See Mum this Mothering Sunday

Ferries

The UK offers over 100 ferry routes to France, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and more!  This is a great option if you want to have your car with you when you get to your destination.  Does mum live closer than a ferry ride away?  Pick her up and take her on an outing!  Take the ferry, then take a drive through the countryside.

Coaches

Coaches are a lovely way to get around Britain, allowing you to relax and enjoy the sights instead of worrying about driving.  They’re also one of the least expensive ways to travel, so if you’ve thought that you couldn’t afford to see Mum this year, maybe an inexpensive coach ride is the way to go.

Channel Tunnel – An Undersea Train

If you need to quickly get from London to Paris, the undersea train can get you there in just over 2 hours.  There aren’t many places in the world where you can hop over to another country for lunch, so take advantage of where you live and take mom out to see the sights and enjoy some new cuisine.

Bus & Rail

For smaller, local trips, bus and rail offer convenience and speed.  You don’t have to worry about parking your car or the wear and tear on your vehicle.  If Mum takes a ride with you, and she’s worried about safety, let her know that the bus and train are safer than driving.  Traveling this way will also give the two of you the chance to fully connect with each other during the ride, rather than you being focus on traffic.  And if you have kids and bring them along, they’ll love the bus or the train, and Grandma will love watching their excitement!

Whichever way you choose to see Mum this year, we hope you have a lovely day together!  Happy Mothering Sunday from AddTransit!

 

 

 

Transit Employee Appreciation Day: Employee Thank You

Your transit company employees work hard every day to bring great customer service to your riders.  Your drivers keep your riders safe and happy.  Your janitors and maintenance workers don’t get any credit in the public eye for their unseen work making the company run smoothly.  Your office workers keep systems in place that make the whole company function.

Employee Appreciation Day is March 4, so we have rounded up some ideas to recognize the amazing work your employees do.

Transit Employee Appreciation Day: Employee Thank You

Employee Recognition

18 Creative Employee Recognition Idea (from TinyPulse)

From simple handwritten thank you notes to singing your employees praises on social media, sometimes just saying “thank you” is enough.  This list also has ideas for prizes, hack days, and surprise treats.

Themed Events

10 Theme Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day (from Baudville)

Here’s a list of 10 themes, like Office Olympics, Rock on! (, and Smells Like Team Spirit, to create a fun office party.

Gift Ideas

Here are some gift ideas for:

Bus Drivers (from Cafepress)

Bus Drivers (from Etsy)

Train Drivers (from Cafepress)

Train Drivers (from Etsy)

Ideas for the Whole Year

Don’t let your employees feel like Employee Appreciation Day is an obligatory yearly hassle for you.  Let your employees know you appreciate them all year long.

1. Have an office party for each employee’s birthday or, in a larger company, a party once a month celebrating all of the birthdays that month.

2.  Put up a poster that shows exactly how employee contributions are making the company better.  It can be a chart showing each person’s place in the system and regular updates on company profits, days without an accident, decreasing customer service complaints and increasing compliments.  Add the thank you notes from the charity to which your company donated and pictures of the summer employee BBQ.  Make it a one stop shop for everyone to see that their contributions matter in the larger picture.

3. Keep a jar in a central location where employees can drop each other thank you notes.  Read these notes out loud in meetings or post them (with permission) on social media along with a picture of the employees.

We’d love to hear what you are doing this year to say “thank you” to your employees!  Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and share your stories and pictures.

Valentine’s Day Romance on Buses and Trains

Valentine’s Day is a great day to express your love for your loved ones, and we think the best expressions are often on transit!  Here are some sweet past expressions of love that took place on buses and trains that will inspire you this year.

Valentine's Day Romance on Public Transit 2016

Vancouver Bus Stop Poster Starts Married Couple on Journey to Beautiful Love

This couple met when Elsa saw John’s smiling face on a United Gospel Mission poster at the bus stop and it prompted her to volunteer.   While she was volunteering, she got to meet John in person, and that was the beginning of their romance.  It just goes to show that you never know who you might meet at the bus stop…. even if it’s just their picture.

 

South Station Romance Stories

Nick proposed to Dinah at the bus station with an engagement ring in a breath mint box.  He says he “needed a moment that would have some romance to it when she absolutely would not see it coming, and that is where South Station fit perfectly.”

 

Bus Stop Romance

Last year, Steve and Roberta shared that they were celebrating their 20th anniversary after meeting on the bus and spending much time together during subsequent rides.   Read more stories about love on the bus!

 

Get Inspired This Valentine’s Day

Watch this sweet video of Adam proposing to Lucy on the train, after hiring the Adam Street Singers to sing Lovely Day to her.

 

Do you have a story of romance on transit to share?  We’d love to hear it!  You can post it in the comments on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ or email us at emstrength@addtransit.com and we’ll blog your story.

 

 

 

 

National Have Fun at Work Day

National Fun at Work Day is an unofficial American holiday on January 28th, but we’re proposing that it be celebrated world wide!

Have Fun At Work Day

If you think your company is too busy to have fun, consider this:

Forbes magazine says, “Beyond salary, psychological and social fulfilment can determine which employees are motivated to stay, perform, and contribute to organization success.”

Paul Dolan, Phd, author of Happiness by Design says, “Studies suggest that if you’re not happy at work, you’re less productive, more likely to take days off sick and a poor problem solver.” (Source)

Having happy employees is not only better for them, it’s better for your bottom line.

Of course, creating a company culture that contributes to happy, engaged employees is a year round effort, but if you’re looking for a way to kick off the New Year with fun, try some of these tips for National Fun at Work Day.

  • Put small basketball hoops in the office or the break room over the trash. You can even get your riders involved in the fun, and you just might find that you end up cleaning up less trash at the end of the day.
  • Start a box of silly toys and trinkets, and keep adding to it throughout the year. A whoopie cushion, a toy sword, masks…  Don’t hog all the fun for your employees!  Consider how you can brighten your riders’ days too.
  • During the morning meeting, have the person speaking wear a funny hat. Anyone who wants a turn talking must wear the hat.
  • Do you already have an especially fun employee on your team? Create an award for the Funnest* Employee of the Year and give an award like an enormous beach ball.  Get the team revved up about who will win the award for 2016 and the types of ideas that will work within your business.

*Funnest isn’t a word, but it will drive the grammar police in your company crazy.

  • Give everyone a “page a day” calendar with jokes or funny quotes to brighten their whole year.
  • Start a new routine of doing stretches, deep breathing or a joke at the morning meetings.
  • Ask each employee for interesting trivia about themselves, create a puzzle with the information, and pass it out on Fun at Work Day. Give a prize to the employee who matches the most bits of trivia with the correct employees.
  • Take suggestions for names for each one of your transit vehicles. On Fun at Work Day, put up pictures of each one and the name suggestions.  Employees can vote by writing the number that correspondences to the name on a bite sized candy bar with a permanent marker.  The person who suggested the winning name gets to keep the candy.
  • Have a white elephant auction and potluck to celebrate FUN!
  • Fill the break room with balloons and beach balls.

These ideas were taken from or inspired by Workplace Fun Ideas by David Koutsoukis and 52 Ways to Have Fun at Work by Baudville.

And finally remember, that Have Fun at Work Day should be an attitude that lasts the whole year!

Have a great day.