Pictured above: Community Transit driver Abraham Berhe stands out front of the yard shack in the morning.
Are you a morning person? At Community Transit, our first bus of the day starts picking up riders at 4:05 a.m., long before the sun rises. In fact, on weekday mornings, about 80 of our drivers start their shifts between the hours of 3-5 a.m. Our early morning drivers play an important role in ensuring a smooth start to the day for countless commuters.
A typical early morning shift
Community Transit bus drivers all follow a similar routine when they come into work. A driver who starts work at 3:30 a.m. may wake up around 2:30 a.m. to get ready for their day. When they arrive at Community Transit, they will clock in and check with the dispatchers to see if there are any updates or road construction that might impact their route.
Their journey continues with a visit to the "yard shack" to receive their bus assignment and a pre-trip inspection to ensure safety both inside and outside the bus. Only after this thorough check do our drivers embark on their routes.
It can take 20 or more minutes for our drivers to get to their first stop of the day, which is another reason why they need to get to work so early.
Why would anyone want to work so early?
While our drivers bid on their bus routes and times based on seniority, many of them choose to work the early morning shifts for a variety of reasons. In addition to our drivers with scheduled morning routes, there are also “extra board” drivers who report to base early in the morning in case someone calls in sick. Having these drivers on standby helps to ensure that all our trips get started on time
Pictured above: Community Transit driver Abraham Berhe performing a pre-check of his assigned bus before heading out on his route.
Abraham Berhe has worked for Community Transit for eight years. He currently drives the Swift Green Line and clocks in for work at 3:27 a.m. “I have always preferred the morning shifts. I am off work at 11:27 a.m., which is nice,” he said.
Abraham also prefers early morning shifts because there are few people driving on the roads at that time. “I like that the first four or five trips of my morning there are very few cars on the road. I don’t have to deal with traffic and I get all green lights. I am just picking up passengers and taking them to their stop without worrying about a lot of other cars on the roads,” he said.