Many ask this question, and we drivers know who you are: Someone who has never driven for a living before! There are many negatives to being a driver, but not usually what you may think if all you’ve ever known is an office or in retail.
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No, the life of a driver is one more like that of a writer: interest in the people that cross your path. Tour bus driver guide, shuttle driver, taxi driver, and in delivery services, we get in get out, and have command of our own ship, so to speak--like our hero Robert Di Nero in the movie Brazil.
We learn the art of understanding and dealing with dispatchers or how to get a signature if squaring a delivery. We know what paths not to take during certain times, and secrets about how to cut delays.
There is no age limit on being a driver. Very few companies discriminate against us because they need us more than we need them. There are so many avenues of approach for a driving job, as, ultimately, our warm body behind the seat is very valuable. I see this every time I learn a new short cut from an experienced taxi driver who can get me to a destination five minutes faster and three dollars cheaper by the road less traveled. That’s what makes San Francisco so intriguing. There are so many ways to get from point A to B.
In riding home on a trolleybus, I heard another tale about an attempt to leave transit operator for another description.
I could not understand why many experienced bus drivers were getting the cold shoulder or disinterest in seeking other jobs with the city. My friend driving the bus on my ride home came up with a plausible reason for non-interest in consideration for another city job: It’s because Human Resources knows we are of most value to the city by keeping our driving job. A different job title or job class number may seem easier or like a promotion, but the fact of the matter is, our experience is our gold.
Not being fazed by the crazies, or knowing how or when to write a report becomes a key that can’t be entered into an hourly rate. We drivers are a class unto ourselves. Only those who have driven a bus before us understand the how and why of our thinking, and compassion for our split second decision-making that can appear incorrect from the black and white on a desk. The fear of what if can be a weapon used by those who do not drive, but we only find peace when we realize we cannot change their priorities. We cannot control what time they choose to enforce the rulebook. Only our intuition can be our guide.
We have a bypass that goes crosstown for cyclists called the wiggle. This is a bike path that follows streets around the Haight-Ashbury hill. A person new to town does not understand that it is possible to get from the Mission to the Haight without going up any major hill. In San Francisco, we have 43 hills over 47 square miles. This means we have one hill for every 1.1 square miles. Although SF is not one continuous grid pattern, most hills can be avoided by simply jogging over one block.
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Scott street bike path on "The Wiggle"
Check out this great video walk in San Fran (Part 2 of 4).
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Get the juice of two decades of experience in just a few pages in living color! (Resolution is 300 dpi and takes awhile to download on three bars or less wifi.)
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