Before I purchased
the Orléans Star from TC Media in November, 2016
I had to work an assortment of jobs to make sure the rent
was paid. One of the those jobs was a school bus driver.
In fact, I drove my last route on the day the purchase was
it was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. It
was also one of the most important jobs I’ve ever had.
Being a school
bus driver comes with an enormous amount of responsibility.
From the moment the kids get on your bus to the moment they
get off and are safely on their way home, you are solely
responsible for their well-being. Being a school bus driver
is not for the faint of heart, but is a fun and rewarding
job for anyone looking for some extra income.
I was fortunate
enough to work for M.L. Bradley Ltd. The family-owned independent
bus company located near Navan. It was launched by Lorne
Bradley back in 1965 – or at least semi-launched.
bid to operate two routes in the former Cumberland Township,
but he had neither drivers or buses. He did have a good
friend, however, in Ed Inglis who was the owner of Capital
Coach Lines which would eventually become Laidlaw.
Inglis sold Bradley
two buses and together with his father Morris and family
friend Ted Dashney, who shared the driving duties, Lorne
launched M.L. Bradley.
The company would
purchase four more buses in 1975 and in 1986 the school
board asked him to take on eight more routes which required
eight more buses and eight more drivers.
The next day,
a sign was posted in what is now J.T. Bradley’s Convenience
Store. It read “Drivers wanted. Will train.”
More than a dozen
people answered the ad, most of them local residents. In
fact some of those people are still driving for Bradley’s
33 years later. The reason is simple – M.L. Bradley is one
of the best companies you could ever work for.
Today it is owned
by Lorne’s daughter Kathleen and her husband Gord Both,
but the day-to-day operations are left in the hands of their
son – and Lorne Bradley’s grandson Andrew Both.
I mention all
this because M.L. Bradley is once again in need of drivers.
Being a school bus driver is not as difficult as it seems,
but its not an easy job either. It requires the ability
to be constantly aware of your surroundings, a firm knowledge
of the rules of the road, an empathy for and understanding
of children of all ages and the willingness to take on the
immense responsibility for their safety and security.
It also requires
a willingness to do all of the above forbarely more than
the minimum wage Now I know what you’re thinking... to put
up with Ottawa drivers, the odd unruly child and the responsibility
that comes with transporting kids to and from schoo for
barely more than the minimum wage is peanuts..
But before you
get your shorts in a knot over remuneration, understand
that the rate is set by the province which provides the
school boards with the funding for school buses.
And while it
would be nice to make more money for driving a school bus,
it is what it is and that’s what the job pays.
On the plus side,
M.L. Bradley still trains all of its school bus drivers
free of charge. All you need is a valid driver’s license.
You will also need to take the St. John Ambulance First
Aid and CPR course.
sessions takes just two weeks to complete, at the end of
which you are tested. Pass the test and you receive your
Although a school
bus driver’s schedule depends on which route they are assigned,
most mornings start at 7 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. The afternoon
shift usually starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.
As for the job
satisfaction, being a school bus driver is one of those
jobs in which you get out of it whatever you put into it.
You can make it as personal or impersonal as you want.
My aspect of
the job was getting to know the kids. I had two routes.
The first route involved driving high school students from
Cumberland and Navan to Canterbury High School. The second
route involved driving elementary school students from Kindergarten
to Grade 4 to and from their school.
I made it a personal
mission to get to know every student by name. For one thing
it made it a lot easier to get them to do what I asked,
and for another, it made the job a great deal more rewarding.
If driving a
school bus is something you might be interested in doing
then you should call M.L. Bradley at 613- 835-2488 or drop
them an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise, you won’t
(If you wish
to comment on this or any other View Point column please
write to Fred Sherwin at email@example.com)