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Day in the life: Bus operator

Image - Day in the life: Bus operator

One of Aditi's most satisfying parts of the job is interacting with passengers. 

For most of our customers, their trip begins with the help of a bus operator.  

Even with more than 1600 bus operators on the OC Transpo team, it isn’t uncommon for customers to remember the operator on their route. For many operators, it is the same for their customers and the job is much more than driving a bus.  

We caught up with Aditi to find out what inspired her to work for OC Transpo and what it takes to be a bus operator. 

What does a typical day look like? 

Aditi looks forward to starting her route every morning when she arrives at her assigned garage at 6:20am.   

After she makes her way to her bus, she completes an inspection of the vehicle to ensure it’s safe and gets ready to hit the road. The moment the bus engine starts is when her shift officially begins. The morning run takes her from Blair Station to downtown and ends around 10:45am.  

There is a three-hour break between her morning and afternoon shift. She typically uses the time as needed, whether that’s getting some rest between shifts or running personal errands.   

Aditi is back on the road at 2:51pm. The assigned route this afternoon is on the 88 from Hurdman to Terry Fox, which is primarily made up of students on their way to afternoon and evening classes at Algonquin, as well as workers from area businesses and the Queensway Hospital. Once she’s made her last stop, she finishes her day at 6:45pm. 

Human Connection 

Aditi says she enjoys the routes she has because of the familiar faces she sees every day. It brings a smile to her face when she can make a connection with someone she sees regularly on the bus, whether it’s asking “how was your day” or a wave from the street.  

She says, “The human connection is an important and healthy part of our job,” adding that “the way you talk can immediately change someone’s tone. It makes a real impact.” 

Before her job as a bus operator, Aditi received her bachelor's degree in business administration with Human Resources as her Major.  

She also has two post graduate degrees, one in Human Resources and the second in Operations Management. All of which she finds are applicable and transferable to her position as a bus operator.

Aditi has been an OC Transpo bus operator for six months. 

What inspired you to become an operator? 

Working for OC Transpo is a family affair for bus operator Aditi. 

Aditi was inspired by the love and enthusiasm her two aunts and two uncles share for working at OC Transpo.  

“They are the biggest reason why I work for OC Transpo,” says Aditi. “I was inspired by their journey, and I’ve seen how much they love working for OC.” 

Aditi took that inspiration, her education, and applies it every day as a bus operator.  

It’s all about safety

Passenger safety is always on an operator’s mind and Aditi cares deeply about her passengers. Traffic, weather, and road conditions can all alter travel times and at times make commuting a challenge.  

If there’s one thing she wants passengers to know, it’s that operators must always prioritize safety over anything else.   

There are moments when a passenger decides to run for the bus and at times hit the door or back of the bus in frustration. “It scares me so much and it’s so dangerous for the passenger.” 

She wants customers to be aware of the safety concerns and the risk around this type of behavior. When a customer runs towards a moving bus it can be dangerous for both them and any other moving vehicles. Safety policies state that once the bus has left the stop the driver must commit to the action the vehicle has made and it cannot stop. 

“Once the bus is engaged, even if it seems to be close to the sidewalk, we cannot stop. Please don’t run after the bus, another one is coming.”

Aditi is excited about her future with OC Transpo. 

Excited about the future

When Aditi talks about her job it’s obvious she loves it. It’s infectious. 

“I like wearing my uniform to work and adding a bit of personal flair to it. I am proud of my job and to say I work for OC Transpo,” she says. 

She recently had the chance to participate in the EmpoWered at the Wheel event aimed at motivating women interested in a career as a bus operator.   

Aditi is a strong supporter of OC Transpo hiring more women bus operators and says any large organization has its challenges but wants more women to consider a job with OC Transpo.  

“It’s a great place to work regardless of gender” she says. “If you’re interested in working in the City of Ottawa, this is a great place to start” and she hopes to continue to see more women bus operators in the future. 

In her short time with OC Transpo, Aditi says that she sees plenty of opportunity for employee growth at OC Transpo.  

She is excited to see how her career evolves. Does she aspire to be General Manager of OC Transpo one day? “Never say never” she says. 

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