By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

IMG_2716Navigating heavily-congested thoroughfares, making tight turns in dense neighborhoods, assuring that everyone has paid their proper fare, seeing that senior citizens and disabled passengers have a seat—it’s clearly not easy to be a bus operator. The fact that they often have to juggle all these duties at the same time only makes the job more difficult.

This Friday is an opportunity for passengers to recognize all the hard work that goes into a transit operator’s job. March 18 has been designated as  Transit Driver Appreciation Day—a national effort to commend the sterling efforts and dedication of our country’s public transportation operators.

Whether it’s a handshake, a pat on the back, a friendly smile or a word of encouragement, any gesture that can brighten up the day of a transit operator on Friday would be greatly appreciated. For passengers who want to document their acts of goodwill on social media, the hashtag #tdad will be used nationwide as a way of celebrating Transit Driver Appreciation Day.

With ever-increasing traffic conditions and steep, hilly terrain throughout the region, the Bay Area is a particularly tough spot to be a transit operator. SamTrans drivers deal with all the obstacles, while making sure that their passengers are safe and that buses arrive on time.

10983613_1587280044817461_2077800750_nThe hard work and attention to detail of the SamTrans bus operators has telling results. Last year, SamTrans’ 337 Bus Operators drove approximately 5,880,655 miles, with an average of 72,600 miles between preventable accidents. That’s the equivalent of travelling back and forth across the continental United States roughly 25 times without an accident.

Usually, the only time an operator is noticed is if something goes wrong. National Transit Driver Appreciation Day is a chance to thank operators for all the time that things go right.

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