Today, I talked with sophomore biology student and UMBC bus driver Sean Gamble. Let’s take a ride with Sean!
Why did you get into the transportation industry?
It seemed like a really appealing on-campus job and I thought having a CDL would be beneficial for the future. It’s also an interesting and rare job for a person of my age.
What does being a UMBC student bus driver entail? What are your responsibilities?
The first part was getting the CDL permit after a written test. The initial bus training took a few months of working six to eight hours a week. It was a lot of learning basic driving skills, but for the bus and a memorization of the bus’ parts, functions and more. I probably parallel parked that 40 foot bus more than 50 times. After that, I had to take tests at the MVA. I got the license and then had to memorize the bus routes.
Before I start the day, I have to do a check up on the bus to make sure everything is there and working. I do my best to ensure that I am punctual. Recording passenger numbers and checking red IDs is also required. The most important part is obviously driving the route safely.
What is it like driving a bus? How is it different from driving a car?
It’s really easy, just like driving a car. But when I’m driving the longer buses, I have to check my mirrors to make sure I can clear turns. When I’m driving the bus, I notice that other drivers tend to get out of my way more often.
What’s your favorite route or shift to drive?
I like the downtown route, driving into Baltimore and seeing the city. Unfortunately, I get caught in traffic whenever I get that route in the afternoon.
What’s the best part of your job?
I enjoy the regulars on my route. They talk to me and help me enjoy my job. I also enjoy having a good job with steady pay on campus.
What’s the funniest or strangest experience you ever had while driving the bus?
I was recently caught in traffic because President Obama was in Baltimore. There were a lot of blocked off roads, so I had to call in on the radio to ask for directions to I-95. This was when the roads were covered in snow, mind you.
If you could drive another vehicle besides a bus to transport students, what would it be?
I would love to transport students to their study abroad locations by passenger jet. I’m hoping to get my pilot license soon.
One last question; if you could participate in a bus race, would you win?
Absolutely. First place, every time.