I’d like to use this space to talk about what it is like to work for Goose Creek Transit. I feel very fortunate to have the job I do as director. In the two decades that I have been in this line of work, I have not had a finer group of people to work with.
I have a staff of 21 drivers and dispatchers that I use to cover the roughly 430 man-hours per week that it takes to do the job we do. Typically, we will have seven to eight buses on the road during the week and two to three buses on the weekends. We do, on average, about 150 trips per day. It is a pretty physical job with a lot of climbing in and out of the bus and bending and stooping to secure wheelchairs. And there is the exposure to the elements. In summer, the work can be very hot and in winter, it is sloppy and cold.
But I think it is very satisfying work and I think my staff would agree. In any given month, we will transport about 300 unique individuals, and, during the typical year, we will get to know about 800 different people who will use our bus service. Some use our service nearly every day and others we see just occasionally.
As a driver or dispatcher, you get to know these people pretty well. You learn about what is going on in their lives and you can take great satisfaction knowing that the job you do is so vitally important. We help people do everyday activities like shopping or appointments or social activities. This allows people to stay in their homes for more years, which is better for all.
Most of the drivers choose to work part time. From a management standpoint, that is a good thing. It helps with staffing and keeps the overtime to a minimum. As is the case with every transportation job I have ever had, the drivers who have been here the longest get priority when they choose the days they want to work and the newest employees help cover where needed. If a driver has an unexpected emergency and can’t come in to drive, we don’t cancel all the trips on his or her schedule. We find another driver to come in, often on very short notice.
The best thing about working with the people I do is that they really work together as a team. One of the best features of working for Goose Creek Transit is that when you need to take time off from work, someone else will help cover for you. I know that time away from work is very important and I work very hard to accommodate those requests. Because we work so well together as a team, in the nearly four years that I have been in this position, I have never had to compel a driver or dispatcher to work. I have always been able to find another driver who will be willing to work an extra shift or two this week, knowing that when it is their turn to take time off, there will be a driver willing to cover for them too.
So that is a little information about what it is like to be a member of the Goose Creek Transit team.
And lastly, I would not be doing my job if I failed to mention that we are “public transportation.” We will provide rides for anyone. You don’t have to be a senior to use our service.
Guest columnist Steve Ainslie is the director of Goose Creek Transit, the public bus service in Sheridan. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.