"I feel proud after returning from a safe trip.” “Yeungnam University students have good manners, but traffic road order is bad.” “Students need to be able to control themselves after drinking.” This is the unanimous voice of Yeungnam University bus drivers regarding the things they deal with everyday. They are the people who start and finish the day with us, but many times we simply don’t notice them. Let us take a closer look at their daily schedule and listen to their thoughts so we can all understand the role they play in our lives.
Circulation buses transport students around campus. Five circulation bus drivers at YU begin their days as our first contact with the university. I followed one of the bus drivers who is unique because she is the only female driver. The busiest time of a day is the morning rush hour. There are many standing passengers at that time. Students get on the bus even if there are no seats because students do not want to be late for class. It is sometimes almost impossible to close the door. The driver wants to ask students to take the next bus, but she understands the situation and accommodates the students the best she can. She tries to drive slowly for the students’ safety. After the morning rush ends, the driver can take a fifteen minute break to read the morning newspaper and take a deep breath. During these quiet times, she sometimes tries to get to know the students. She learns more about them by having simple conversations. If students she knows well take the bus, she makes jokes and asks them about their studies. For lunch, she usually has a box lunch from home. She also has some simple snacks for when she feels bored. The driver has a thirty minute afternoon break. At that time, she cleans the bus. On the day I spent with her there were spilled coffee and milk cartons everywhere. She would like the students to clean up after themselves when they get off the bus. After cleaning the bus, the rest of her time is spent strolling around campus. When driving, she is often surprised at how carelessly students cross the road and drive their cars. Moreover, since there are many student passengers on the bus, and the safety of the students is her top priority, she drives carefully. She felt proud on that day because there were no accidents.
Forty YU school bus drivers start their day at places like Chilgok and Banyawol, and then they drive a set route as they make their way to the university. The drivers silently count the number of students as they get on. All the students seem to be holding smart phones in their hands. One of the drivers said that he wants students to refrain from using their smart phones as they get on the bus because it can cause accidents and delay the next person from getting on. He added that it is uncomfortable if students insist on boarding the bus even though the bus is over capacity. For safety, they hope students can understand. After dropping off the students, they rest at a break room. The drivers either watch TV or read. Some of them sleep and exercise. Some use the time to repair and check their vehicles. They depart on their routes again. Students often fall asleep as soon as they get on the bus. The bus is tranquil. Although giving a thank you bow is sometimes bothersome, the drivers genuninely appreciate these small gestures. Drivers talk about many things. Today they talk about students vomiting on the buses.
Thoughts about their work
It is astonishing that some motorcycle drivers drive the wrong way on the road and that they drive so fast on campus. It is also common to see students jaywalking and not paying attention to traffic. One driver said he has driven for many other universities and what happen on the YU campus is typical of other universities. It is also extremely dangerous when students wear earphones.
Students vomiting on the bus or making excessive noise are the most annoying parts of the job. The driver recalled a time when 16 of 24 passengers threw up on the bus and it was the most difficult time. Drivers say they understand why students get sick after drinking, but students can ask drivers to give them plastic bags. If they use a plastic bag, it will be beneficial to both drivers and other passengers. Vomit must be cleaned up immediately otherwise it can be difficult for passengers who aren’t sick. Drivers go back home after one o’clock. Short hours of sleep and stressful add to their fatigue. This directly affects students’ safety. Drivers also wish students would dress appropriately, as seeing some students’ attire such as very short skirts, tight clothes and spike heels. Drivers sometimes worry about the recent trend of sexual harassment and violence. They consider the students to be like their children and they worry about them like parents. Drivers add that the inappropriate attire is also not good for students’ health. A driver felt pride in his work when a graduate student wrote a letter to thank him for driving him safely. Besides that, when students ask for a safe drive and deliver a vitamin drink with a smile, drivers can drive happily.
The way of finding lost property in a bus
Many students lose things on the bus. It is possible for students to find their belongings if they can remember the time that they rode the bus and reported it to the Lost and Found Office. Once a month, the Student Council comes to collect the lost property. However, the lost items can only be found if they haven’t been taken by others. Sometimes, even the drivers can lose things on the bus. Drivers hope that students bring lost items found on the bus to them as soon as they are found.
After covering the drivers’ daily lives, the Observer was grateful for their efforts. They do their jobs without any complaints, so we can ride on the bus safely and comfortably with good service. Their efforts should not be taken for granted. We can show them our gratitude simply by saying thank you and by observing small matters of etiquette. Let’s show them how much we appreciate them through our actions and understanding.