Calm and self-control are required to be a bus driver in Paris (and, we guess, in cities world over) in order to manage the best a 2.5 meters wide and 12 meters long vehicle in the busy city traffic. Add to this the usual and frequent conflicts and stressful situations to face each and everyday, and the job can be very tiring. Trying to keep smile and good attitude then is not always an easy thing to do!... but so we try.
But, this apart, the
route is nice and it can
be enjoyable to ride the streets of this beautiful city, and sometimes
share friendly moments (anecdotes) with nice passengers... (Hope you'll be
one of them next time you'll come aboard ;-) Some came especially to meet
us from the website!
There are four types of duties: Mornings, afternoons, nights and "two-times" (one part in the morning and one in the afternoon).
The first driver of the line 38 to start at the depot in the morning, arrives at 5h43. The others following are arriving at the frequency of their respective departures (every 10mn early morning, and then every 4mn...). He (or she) has 10mn in order to : fill his road-sheet, get his shedules sheet (radar), check which bus is related to him and where it is parked in the depot, find it, get it ready to ride and then go out the depot to the terminal to have his first departure a few minutes later...
The drivers, especially for the afternoon and nights shifts, can also start at the terminal when their bus is already out, whether previously driven out by another driver or already riding on line (some buses leave the depot at 6h in the morning to come back around midnight!...).
Detailed duty (with every departure time) is indicated on a sheet called "radar". When the driver ends his shift, he leaves the seat to another driver at the terminal, or bring his bus back to the depot where the gazole is filled up and the cleaning (inside and outside) is being made, before parking.
A rest table (here under) is read by each driver. Generally, a different duty is on per week. This allows each driver to check his days off (here in black) according to the period of the year and then see which number of duty he will do for a given day.
A duty, the 48th for example, will not have the same schedules in january and in march... or even on monday and tuesday in the same week (!)... This time table is calculated according to the traffic supposed (usual, holidays, etc...). Usually, the drivers can see their duties one or two monthes in advance.
and so on...
A similar table is applicable for "out-lines" drivers (non affected to only one line). The rests are the same, but the duties and line, are revealed only 48hours in advance.
Many "out-lines" drivers are working on the 38 everyday (replacements, sick or missing agents, ...)...In the same way, some 38's drivers are sometimes in duty on another line, when their duty for the given day has no existence... You can then see some of us on linesand night buses ... and see other faces at 38's steering wheels! Well, it's fun to change the itinerary sometimes (not too often), but we're always glad to come back on bus 38, even if it is considered among bus drivers as one of the heaviest and busiest line in Paris!...