When James Heath applied for a job as an MTA bus driver, he didn’t even have a license. Now a seasoned professional, James straddles the line between TU student and employee—often driving the students he attends classes with. Read on to learn about James’ motivation to go to school and the strangest thing he’s seen while driving the bus…
What made you apply to work at TU?
I heard that it was a good place to work, and I was already licensed as a bus driver. The crazy thing is that when I initially applied to drive a bus with the MTA, I didn’t even have a license! Once I got my learner’s permit, they put me in a class and taught me how to drive the bus—some people were nervous but I was confident I could do it.
Funniest thing you’ve seen while driving the bus?
A student dressed as Spiderman waiting at the bus stop. I opened the doors and he hopped right on!
What’s about TU sticks out to you as a bus driver?
The students here are so nice and easy to work with, and my coworkers are great.
What’s something about bus driving that the average person wouldn’t know?
Driving a bus requires a lot of focus! You have to be able to compartmentalize whatever conversations or noises are happening inside the bus so that you can pay attention to other drivers on the road—especially because drivers aren’t always friendly to us big buses!
How do you balance schoolwork and driving full time?
I had always thought of going to college but never followed through until I came to work here. My boss, Robert Walton, actually encouraged me to continue my education so that I’d have more career opportunities. Now I’m majoring in Business Management, and if all goes well I’ll graduate in 2016. Balancing my schoolwork and driving can be difficult, though. I have to make time to study and do homework in addition to driving. Some nights I’ll work late and then have to stay up into the night studying for a test the next morning. But I have a lot of motivation because I love to drive, and because I’m confident that school will pay off in terms of a brighter future.
When I’m not at work, you can find me…
At the library studying, or at Paws playing ping-pong and pool—I’m especially good at ping-pong.
Leave a comment below to share words of encouragement for James as he continues toward his degree!
Written by Tyler New