August 15, 2018

Winnipeg
20° C, Sunny

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

A 'thank you' to transit drivers could go a long way

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Bus passengers load buses in downtown Winnipeg.</p>

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Bus passengers load buses in downtown Winnipeg.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/8/2016 (739 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The disturbing incident of the passenger spitting on a Winnipeg Transit driver last week occurred at the same time I was doing research into how often riders said "thank you" when exiting a bus.

My research was prompted by a visit to Vancouver last year, where I was struck by how often people said “thank you” when leaving the vehicle.

At first, I thought it was just me—maybe I just happened to be on buses where people expressed gratitude. But then a friend experienced the same thing in June when he was in that city and used public transit.

“Very impressed that the vast majority of people getting off the bus THANKED the driver!” he wrote on Facebook.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/8/2016 (739 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The disturbing incident of the passenger spitting on a Winnipeg Transit driver last week occurred at the same time I was doing research into how often riders said "thank you" when exiting a bus.

My research was prompted by a visit to Vancouver last year, where I was struck by how often people said "thank you" when leaving the vehicle.

At first, I thought it was just me—maybe I just happened to be on buses where people expressed gratitude. But then a friend experienced the same thing in June when he was in that city and used public transit.

"Very impressed that the vast majority of people getting off the bus THANKED the driver!" he wrote on Facebook.

Curious, I did a bit of searching. Sure enough, there are pages of discussions online about how and why Vancouverites thank bus drivers, with many bus riders saying they do.

One discussion was started by a newcomer to Vancouver who asked: "What's the origin of saying ‘thanks’ to the bus driver when he drops you off at your spot? I've never had this experience before on public transit in Toronto, Mississauga, Halifax, Orlando or Memphis — only Vancouver.

"Is it just a delightful social practice that spread virally? Was there some campaign to increase friendliness between drivers and passengers? Are there any other cities that share the habit?"

What followed were comments speculating on the origin, along with suggestions of other cities in B.C. and England where the practice has been noted.

What about Winnipeg? I have taken the bus to work for over 30 years. I have rarely, if ever, heard anyone say thanks when leaving — or done it myself.

So this week I decided to ask Winnipeg bus drivers about their experience — do they get thanked very much? The answer seems to be "sometimes," but it is not a usual thing. Do they appreciate it? The answer was yes all around.

Some might say: They’re getting paid to do a job — why should they be thanked? True enough, but as we saw last week again, they can also find themselves in dangerous and stressful situations.

According to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, which represents Winnipeg Transit drivers, there were 60 reported assaults against drivers last year, up 54 percent from 2014.

Of course, saying thanks won’t stop the abuse. But it might be a way to make their days a little less stressful and anxious, not to mention injecting a little humanity into what is an otherwise impersonal and rote encounter.

As a commenter on a website about Vancouver buses said about expressing gratitude: "I just think it makes their day a bit better and less stressful. It's always nice to have someone be appreciative of what you do not because it is your job or part of your job duties."

Plus, I really am grateful that someone else is doing the driving, especially on winter days when the roads are icy and driving conditions are poor. I truly appreciate that I can sit back, relax and read as I make my way to work. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

So, beginning last month, I decided to emulate people in Vancouver by showing my gratitude when I leave the bus. Maybe more of us could do the same. And, who knows? Perhaps one day a visitor to Winnipeg will wonder: Why is it that everyone thanks bus drivers?

And we can say: "It’s a Winnipeg thing."

John Longhurst is the Faith Page columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.