Thursday, June 6, 2013


Bus Driver Appreciation Day: Survey report back to employees

Bus Driver Appreciation Day (BDAD) is an "emerging" holiday that takes place each March 18. This year, TriMet got more involved in BDAD than we had in the past. Immediately following BDAD, all employees were invited to complete a four-question survey intended to gather feedback that will assist with planning and publicity as BDAD organizers go forward. The survey was available online and on paper; more than 100 employees completed it.* Because that's a small percentage of our workforce, these results aren't scientific--but they do provide food for thought and suggest some trends. This pages summarizes the responses.

Question #1

How did you participate in BDAD this year?

We gave respondents a list of BDAD activities and asked them to check as many as they participated in. (The average respondent checked about three boxes.) This chart shows the top seven answers; less popular answers are summarized below.
ess popular activities--checked off by fewer than 20% of respondents--included, in descending order of popularity, from 16% (Facebook) to 3% (Twitter):
  • Visited the Facebook page
  • Gave small thank-you card(s) to operator(s)
  • Helped organize it
  • Received small thank-you card(s) from customer(s)
  • Gave something other than a thank-you card to an operator
  • Showed other people the thank-you cards I received
  • Received something other than a thank-you card from a customer or member of the public
  • Used the hashtag #bdad on Twitter

"Other" activities were reported by some respondents, including:
"Thanked my riders, for making my job easier" -- "Drove the bus with a smile on my face." -- "Repaired buses for drivers!!!!" -- "Passed out thank you cards to customers to give to operators" -- "Liked and shared the Facebook page"

Question #2

Which aspects of BDAD do you think are most effective?

We told respondents, The purpose of BDAD is to "turn up the volume" on the appreciation that customers, coworkers and the public feel for their operators every day, then asked them to check up to three "most effective" items from a list of BDAD strategies. (As in Question 1, the average respondent checked about three boxes.)
Some respondents said "other" aspects were most effective, including:
"Saying thank you" -- "Personally thanking operators" -- "Gift card for special effort" -- "Banners at transit centers" -- "Social media-Facebook/Twitter/Website- all of them" -- "Outreach at bus stops"

Question #3

What is the most memorable, heartwarming, funny or meaningful BDAD moment you experienced, or heard about?

About half of the respondents answered this open-ended question. Here's a selection of the moments they shared:
"I received a card from a little boy and his mom. They ride my bus every day."
"I had a customer tell me about how she loved her bus driver and what a wonderful job he did. She did not think that the bus drivers get enough credit for the job that they do."
"Two riders spoke to me at length of their appreciation for my work on their bus AND shared, generally, their admiration and gratitude for TriMet Operators."
"Driver was thankful I repaired the bus so they could make pull out time!"
"After I thanked my bus operator I asked him was he enjoying bus driver appreciation day.  He said he got four cards, he pulled them out and held them up. He said one was from a four year old. He seemed quite moved. I was glad his experience was positive."
"I received many 'thank you' comments and some cards."
"A young lady who was developmentally disabled was on my bus and showing the driver her pin with a great many heartfelt 'thank yous' to him. It was great!"
"Before BDAD an older woman said she appreciates me every day."
"The most memorable thing that I saw was co-workers (non-union administrative workers) standing out in the elements waving and holding banners. It really made my day. I also had several customers thank me for doing my job which was fantastic."
"Had several operators at Rose Quarter who were genuinely touched by the 'thanks for getting up so early every day to safely take our customers to work' message."
"Handing out thank you cards to bus riders they were so excited to tell their operators thank you, they do LOVE their operators!"
"While serving food to Operators--being thanked by them."
"A friend, who is an avid baker, gave her bus drivers a each small bag of 'Death By Chocolate Chunk' cookies with a thank you card on her morning and evening commutes."
"Watching the Customer Service Agents going from bus to bus to thank the drivers, personally, was awesome."
"I always thank my driver and wish them a great day. I think we should be nice to co-workers everyday."
"I saw some people downtown holding signs for the drivers to see."
"Neil getting a hug from an operator at Transit Mall stop on 6th Ave."
"The number of friends who 'liked' my status thanking operators on my Facebook page. It was great to see how many others out there appreciate what they do."
"The anonymous donor who paid for operators' refreshments at the cafe by Gresham TC."
"A rider folded me an origami crane out of her transfer, very cool, I still have it!"

Question #4

Other feedback about Bus Driver Appreciation Day

About half of the respondents provided "other feedback." These are the general themes that emerged:
  • Need to recognize a broader range of employees, not just bus operators.
  • Especially appreciated the food.
  • Glad we did it.
  • Lots of work; worth it.
  • It's hard to believe in this event when you feel like the agency's actions--especially vis a vis labor negotiations--show hostility, not appreciation.
  • Need more publicity. Earlier and broader distribution of buttons; onboard publicity, such as channel cards; more clarity about the date, etc.
  • Need onboard publicity, such as channel cards or bulkheads
  • Need to do other kinds of recognition, such as an agency-wide event, gift cards, etc.

Thank you again to everyone at TriMet who took part in Bus Driver Appreciation Day 2013. A special thanks to those who took the time to fill out this survey. Keep an eye on, #bdad and as March 18, 2014, draws closer!


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