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MTA veteran's 20 years of safe driving

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MTA veteran's 20 years of safe driving

By Josh Max

Daily News Auto Correspondent

Tuesday, February 26th 2008

 

alg_sanua.jpg

Staying cool under pressure is key to safe driving, Sanua says.

 

NYC Transit bus operator Michael Sanua is some kind of bus-Zen master. He's been transporting New Yorkers to and fro since 1988 without a single smash-up. Figuring he must know something the rest of us don't, I asked him to share a few pointers. Speaking to the Daily News from the 100th St. depot, Sanua offered five tips for the rest of us cranky, always-in-a-hurry motorists to help us reduce stress, and dents.

 

Take a deep breath and relax. "Get your mentality together and whatnot," Sanua says. "We're all human, we're gonna have our days. Maybe one day in 20 years I was so upset I made myself sick. But that was more when I first started."

 

If a cab cuts you off, say to yourself, "Ok, that one's yours, this one's mine, have a nice day." "You don't want to be too aggressive because that's how things happen. Don't blow your top."

 

Don't let anything get to you. "It sounds simple, but it works."

 

Always smile. "Enjoy driving."

 

Keep both hands on the wheel at all times. And what kind of training do bus operators get? "It's been a long time," Sanua says. "Things have changed. They even changed the way they make right-hand turns. The ongoing test is really 'How many points do you have on your license?' And I don't have any."

 

At this point, Charles Seaton, director of public affairs, steps in. "Bus Operator training is performed over a period of seven to 10 days, including behind-the-wheel and simulator training," he says. "The bus is the classroom. Most training, as well as the driving skills test is done on the 'RTS' bus, the most common in the fleet. Everything is covered, from the proper way to make turns to adjusting mirrors to adjusting seats. Safety awareness is stressed at all times and applicants are told that if they are the type of person who flies off the handle easily, maybe the job is not for them."

 

"You're gonna find a lot of difficult people out there," the Bronx-born Sanua says. "You just have to let 'em go. People say, 'Where were you? What took you so long?' I say I'm here, that's more important. I take care of my customers — I call 'em my peeps. You have to keep the mentality that 'We're carrying fragile cargo, like eggs.' As you go, you get more experience. You're never too old to learn something."

 

Finally, both men have a message for civilians. The Kramden-esque term "bus driver" has been retired; the preferred nomenclature is "Bus operator."

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Goes to show some can tolerate being behind the wheel for such a long time. I know for a fact I can't, and wouldn't even pretend I could. That's me though.....

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That is quite an accomplishement,I wonder how many cab drivers can say the same thing. That steering wheel is huge,both hands at the wheel,yes but not at the 10-2 position right?

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That is quite an accomplishement,I wonder how many cab drivers can say the same thing.

 

I agree but how many other Bus Operators can say the same thing?

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I agree but how many other Bus Operators can say the same thing?

 

Very few my friend. Most with 20 years are shifting. They ain't going out on the road.

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Very few my friend. Most with 20 years are shifting. They ain't going out on the road.

Well in my opinion, this seems like one of those jobs that occurs to you the way you let it, perhaps if you have a more optimistic view of the job, your views might come true!

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