One of the questions that come up when you meet other Metro bus drivers is whether you are full-time or part-time. In general, most part-time drivers have only been with Metro for a few years or less and are waiting for a chance to go full-time. I won’t go into detail about the differences between the two jobs other than to say that there is a trade-off of flexibility and ease of work-load vs. a guaranteed 40 hour work week with opportunities for overtime. There’s more to it than that, but you get the idea.
Last year, I was offered an opportunity to go full-time. Because I’d like to drive, sorry – “operate”, light rail some day, I seriously considered going full-time. (Currently, only full-time drivers can apply.) I thought long and hard about it but decided to stay part-time since I like the flexibility and, as a part-timer, I am not even *allowed* to work on weekends or holidays. Only full-time drivers drive on those days. Because I did not go full-time, the person immediately behind me in seniority was able to. His name is Paul and to the right is a picture of him, waiting to drive the 44 and 43. For the last year or so I have bumped into Paul, mostly at Atlantic base since that is where he has been choosing to work. I consider Paul my full-time shadow and take great interest in what his life at Metro is like since I could very easily be in his shoes. He seems to be enjoying full-time life, although you can tell it’s hard work. On the day that this photo was shot, I was heading home for the evening while Paul was waiting to relieve another driver on the 43/44 at around 7pm. He was scheduled to be on the road until 2:47am. For most people, this is not the ideal work schedule but if Paul hates it, he’s not complaining about it. (Well, other than the lack of available bathrooms, sorry – “comfort stations”, at 2am). Given time, he will be able to choose other work if he doesn’t like driving at night.
So next time you’re out late at night and taking the bus, or driving next to one, think of Paul. He may just be driving that bus. I’m probably at home watching TV, surfing the Internet, or in bed since I need to get up at 5am – just when Paul is probably starting to get some well deserved sleep.