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The results of the August “Do you say ‘Thanks’ to bus drivers?” poll

The results are in for the “Do you say ‘Thanks’ to bus drivers?” poll. It seems most Buzzer readers say “Thanks” to bus drivers, but not always. This has overwhelmingly been the most popular Buzzer poll to date! Like the poll “When did you first ride the SkyTrain?“, saying “Thanks” to bus drivers is something many readers can relate to.

The results of the poll

The results of the poll

It’s also a phenomenon that’s not just experienced in Metro Vancouver. Verbally thanking your bus driver is something our readers have heard in Oxford and London (England), Paris, Brussels, Denver, New York,  San Francisco and in parts of Ontario. People may say “Merci” in Montreal, but judging by this comment on the TransLink Facebook page, I’m not sure if it’s a popular custom.

Comment from Facebook

Comment from Facebook

Always say “Thanks”

Going by the comments, those people who always thank the bus driver may be doing so because they truly want to express their gratitude. Some may also see driving a bus as a difficult job that deserves praise. Sally’s comment is a good reflection of this.

Sally: “Not only do I says “Thanks” but I look them in the eye so they know I mean it! I wouldn’t want to drive the 351 in the bus lanes – cars are always creating havoc. So yes, “Thanks” to all the drivers!”

Sometimes say “Thanks”

The “Sometimes camp” seems to be mostly divided into two groups. One group likes to say thanks, but when on articulated or over-crowed buses, they either feel their “Thanks” won’t be heard, or they don’t want to shout it out.

Bobo: “I think shouting from the back of the bus is sufficiently rude to cancel out the politeness of the “Thank you”. So I only say thanks when I don’t have to shout to be heard.”

The other group takes the actions/attitudes of bus drivers into consideration before deciding if they will say “Thanks.”

J: “If the bus driver doesn’t seem interested in my stepping on the bus, I’m not necessarily inclined to say ‘Thanks’ when I step off.”

Jacob: “If the driver does an great driving job (doesn’t accelerate too fast, waits for seniors to sit down, doesn’t leave Stops 1 minute early etc…) I say “Thank you” If the driver just does his job, I say “thanks” And if the driver does a bad job, I don’t say anything.”

The rest of the people who commented “Sometimes'” were either a combination of the two groups, or they mean to always say “Thanks” but sometimes forget.

Never say “Thanks”

There weren’t many of you, but Miguel wasn’t afraid to buck the trend.

Miguel: “They should thank the passengers. Just like any other business. I don’t thank the barista at Starbucks, he thanks me.”

A few people agreed with me that once you hear someone else say “Thanks”, it catches on, and you find yourself thanking bus drivers when you never did before.

Well, that about covers  the matter of saying “Thanks” to bus drivers. I guess you can’t verbally thank the SkyTrain since it’s driverless (you could, but it really wouldn’t do anyone or anything any good), and it’s harder to thank the operators of the SeaBus and West Coast Express in person.

I’d like to say thanks to all of you for taking the poll and helping me and others learn how well spread (or not) this custom really is and why people feel compelled (or not) to thank bus drivers.


4 Comments

  • By michael simatos, September 16, 2011 @ 6:11 am

    I say Bonjour all the time and even Merci when I leave the bus.
    It seems to be the older users but I have seen the young users that are vert polite
    Mike in Montreal

  • By cy, September 16, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

    I’ve taken transit in other cities and Vancouver is the only place where this annoying “thanks” is shouted out at every stop. Just shut up already. Who cares.

  • By Graeme, September 18, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    I’d hate live in Miguel’s world. Of course you thank the barista. Beyond basic courtesy, there’s an exchange of goods and services for money, where each party presumably benefits equally. If he feels that he is giving more than he is receiving, he might want to find a better coffee shop.

    I don’t see how showing appreciation can be considered rude.

  • By Lesley, September 19, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    I recently had a visitor from Burlington who was amazed at the number of people thanking the driver–she had never heard it before. To me, it’s common courtesy. The driver is a person with feelings so why act as if he/she weren’t there?

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