CityLab: What You Should Know About Your Bus Driver, November 30, 2018


My first week of training was an intense, surreal experience. The skills course is held at Naval Air Station Alameda, not far from Oakland. You spend a week of your life on a sun-drenched former airstrip, 200 feet wide and 8,000 feet long, learning how to maneuver buses through an obstacle course designed to simulate the challenges you will soon encounter on the road. The runway is filled with orange cones and stanchions arranged in close formation to each other, and you have to avoid running them over while you learn to do things like parallel park a bus in a space not much bigger than the bus itself.

The airstrip sits next to the San Francisco Bay, and while you’re trying to master the skills course, you’re seeing these massive container ships bound for the Port of Oakland move slowly past—a reminder that braver people than you are piloting much larger vessels.