Of course, passenger safety is the number one priority of every MTA vehicle operator. That’s a heavy responsibility, and one that the MTA emphasizes at every opportunity. But that’s just the basis for everything our bus drivers do. On top of that, there’s paying attention to crazy or impatient car drivers, treating even unpredictable passengers with respect and courtesy, and maintaining a friendly face as much as possible. All those things are part of the job too.
That’s why we’re so proud of MTA Bus Operators like Karen Haskins. She says she loves driving a bus, and has even recommended it as a career choice for people in her family.
“It’s a good feeling to be able to handle that big bus,” she says. “In training, they tell you to use your mirrors, stay alert at all times, watch the traffic, watch everything. It’s a challenge, but you learn to adapt to all of it.”
Not everyone is cut out to steer a 21-ton vehicle down crowded streets for a living. But according to Ms. Haskins, “the biggest challenge is dealing with people. I think I’m a counselor sometimes. Other times I feel like a babysitter, or a psychologist. When you’re driving, you gotta learn how to tune out people talking to you.”
“On the other hand, you really get to know people. Sometimes it’s one big family.”
Think you might want to be a bus driver? Karen Haskins offers advice that’s served her well over the years.
“Just go with the flow.”