Driving A Bus

I have only ever had a Class 5 Driver’s License. In fact, the only Driver’s Test I have ever had got me a License restricted to Automatic Transmissions.

But, I once drove an ETS (Edmonton Transit System) bus. On the High Level Bridge.

In November 1977, I was riding Route 43 across the High Level Bridge during Afternoon Rush Hour going South. It was about -30C, so it was Cold.

As so often occurred, there was an accident up ahead. The Bridge was two way back then, so one accident usually shut down the entire bridge. The bus driver got out to see what he could do to speed things up.

He left the front door open and, even with the bus’ heaters running, it soon was very cold inside. That is when I made my big mistake.

Having sat near the front of this type of GM bus for years, I knew where the lever was to open and close the front door. I also knew that the driver could open the door by simply reaching through the rubber seals and pushing the two front doors open.

I walked up to the driver’s seat and moved the lever to close the door so the heaters could do their job. Things started to warm up and everything was fine, until a lady spoke loudly, “The bus is moving.”

It was not going to be long before the bus rear-ended the vehicle in front of it. I ran back forward, jumped into the driver’s seat, hit the brake pedal, waited for the bus to stop and then moved the lever to open the front door again.

The Bus Driver never knew anything had happened, at least not until I was safely off the bus at my stop. It is possible, but not likely, that one of the passengers told him after I got off.