UD bus drivers see campus from unique vantage point
They had no trouble spotting the correct busTaylors picture was painted on the front and Christys was painted on the back. The couple posed two years ago when they were both UD cheerleaders.
Driving a wedding bus is one reason why the Universitys 11 full-time drivers and 20 part-timers say they love their jobs most days.
Eleven campus buses travel 255,000 miles a year on regular routes and charters to science facilities and fraternity formals. They carry 800,000 passengers a year. A driver s weekly schedule could include driving designated routes circles on campus, making a field trip to collect insects, or a riding into the belly of a C-5 transport airplane.
Bus drivers have rescued a baby pigeon that fell from the overhead walkway across West College Avenue. Theyve used their high perches to help Newark Police spot burglars and a bicycle thief. They routinely call in accidents they see enroute.
Then there was the day a student shouted, Dont anybody move. My ferrets lost. Driver Dan Davis said the boy didnt know the ferret had climbed into his backpack at home until he felt it wriggle out on the bus. Davis pulled over on Main Street and waited until the students found the missing pet.Almost every driver has an animal story:
Ever wonder what the bus drivers do during the indeterminate waits for museum-goers and ballgame fans?
When we go to New York City, we fill a cooler with deli food, go to FAO Schwartz, or go to the Metropolitan, Haggerty said. One time we went and the group we took was gone for six hours. When they came back, the students said, There are only two UD buses in all of New York City, and you people must have been everywhere because everywhere we went, we saw UD buses.
The drivers still laugh about the night supervisor Jo Ann Barnett tried to crawl through the roof hatch to get a better look at the fireworks after a Phillies game and got stuck. Her feet were just this far from the seat so the bottom half of her is going like this under the bus roof, Haggerty said, wiggling her straightened fingers back and forth to model Barnetts legs.
They say if you like your job, you never have to work a day in your life, Dan Davis said. Well, as far as Im concerned, I dont work at all because I love my job.
The charter list hits all the high and low spots in the Universitys life. One of Barnetts favorite runs was an African-American professional fraternitys charter. She was sitting in the drivers seat when the vice principal of a Philadelphia school walked on and she recognized him as a favorite student who rode her bus for his four years at UD. They talked the entire trip. Everyones saddest runs are the funeral trips when families hire UD buses to transport guests.
Because most of the 11 full-time drivers and many of the 20 part-timers have worked for the University for 10 years or more, they said theyve shared their lives and watched each others children grow up. They also shared Sept. 11, 2001.
One of our drivers was out on a run on 9/11, and he called in and said there was a young lady on her bus and someone had told her over the cell phone that her father was in one of the towers, supervisor Shearee Moore said. The driver called in and said, I cant drive. Im going to have to come in.
Haggerty remembered looking out her window at the other vehicles lined up for a light after the first tower fell. We were all listening to the same live feed from New York, she said. You could see people in the cars next to you crying.
Management experts say the number of times employees laugh during the day is a top indicator of whether they are productive, pleased with their jobs and pleasant to customers. UD bus drivers constantly joke with each other, and they seem to look on the bright side whether they are driving through snow or filling their 100-gallon tanks.
They laugh about the most-asked question, Does this bus go to the Field House? They marvel that the most-often-forgotten item has switched from the umbrella to the cell phone. They enjoy when they are at the beach or in a store and a young person turns to them and says, Hey, I ride your bus at UD.
Haggerty joked that bus drivers have something other employees wish for. Everybody wants a corner office with a window, she said. Well, Ill tell you what; Ive got a great window. You cant find an office with a better view.
By Kathy Canavan
To learn how to subscribe to UDaily, click here.