Do you thank your bus driver?

Question for those from away: in your city do riders traditionally thank their city bus drivers when leaving the bus? Here in Charlottetown it seems the rule rather than the exception — most people seem to say “Thanks” or “Thank a lot” when getting off the bus. I find this both endearing and somewhat puzzling as a social custom.


Chuck McKinnon's picture
Chuck McKinnon on January 30, 2009 - 17:04 Permalink

In Calgary it’s a noticeable but diminishing custom. It used to be more frequent, and it’s something I usually did when I was riding the bus. Two years ago I started commuting by transit again and noticed it didn’t happen as often as I remembered. So either the citizenry are abandoning the tradition or my memory is faulty; it’s probably some combination of both.

deb's picture
deb on January 30, 2009 - 17:10 Permalink

I generally do. When I lived in Ottawa it was a “most of the time” thing. Here in New Brunswick it’s all the time.

Luisa's picture
Luisa on January 30, 2009 - 17:58 Permalink

In neither Copenhagen nor Malmoe do we thank the bus driver for actually driving the bus. Most people do, however, greet the driver when getting on the bus.

This may also have something to do with the fact that we enter the bus by the front door but exit by tha back door. Thus you would have to shout your ‘Thanks!’ over the heads of fellow passangers.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 30, 2009 - 18:15 Permalink

It seems less common in Charlottetown to greet the bus driver on entry.

Our buses have two doors too, but they seem to be designed so that the rear door is broken most of the time, so it’s common to exit the front door.

Also, our buses don’t hew to a rigorous set of pre-defined stops only; while there are officially signed stops, it’s also quite common to ask the bus driver to stop at some arbitrary other point, more convenient to your destination, somewhere along the route. I’ve even heard tell of buses offering to drive down another street to get someone closer to their door.

So perhaps, in our case, the thanks are genuine in the sense that it’s likely the driver has performed some generous service that, in Copenhagen, would likely get them fired.

vbj's picture
vbj on January 30, 2009 - 18:19 Permalink

This thread reminds me of my grandmother’s practice as she got on in years. She took the bus everywhere she went in San Francisco but would only pay the driver when she arrived at her destination.

Sue's picture
Sue on January 30, 2009 - 18:34 Permalink

In Halifax, people usually thank the driver. The most thankful passenger is usually my 4 year old. Thank yous usually occur when people are departing the bus.

Daniel Burka's picture
Daniel Burka on January 30, 2009 - 18:36 Permalink

People in San Francisco are a bit hit-or-miss on this. I do it about 50% of the time. It really is often a factor of how busy the bus is and if you’re exiting the front or the rear.

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on January 30, 2009 - 19:58 Permalink

I’ve caught myself doing this recently and wondered whether it was “normal”.

steve in montreal's picture
steve in montreal on January 30, 2009 - 20:45 Permalink

I had never thanked my bus driver until I moved to Montreal and observed Monique do it. She did it so naturally and so sincerely that I was tickled by the idea and do it now whenever I can. However like some other responders it is rare for me to exit a bus at the front door; it only works when the bus is not very crowded and its convenient to exit at the front.

Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on January 31, 2009 - 03:25 Permalink

In Vancouver thanking the bus driver is sort of elevated to the level of a distinguishing civic characteristic. People do it all the time, and not just from the fronto doors. People exiting the back doors will holler through a crowded bus “thank you!” as they unlight.

Diane in South Carolina's picture
Diane in South ... on January 31, 2009 - 16:28 Permalink

I always thank the driver—bus, taxi, friend—whether they’re paid to get me there or not, they did so safely.

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on January 31, 2009 - 16:34 Permalink

I first used a public bus while living in Halifax and hardly ever heard it, I would only say ‘thanks’ if I was exiting the front door or if I managed to strike up a conversation with the bus driver (I somehow manage to talk to bus drivers a lot). Living in Vancouver is where I picked it up and I have been doing it ever since. Chris mentioned how people will yell from the back door, I started doing that as well. I am surprised people in Vancouver do not thank the computer driven Skytrain. It is a good habit to have, in my opinion.

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on February 2, 2009 - 16:10 Permalink

In Sweden, and Denmark, in my experience, rudeness reigns.

Kids even throw rocks on the public transportation. Drivers are sometimes reluctant to drive certain routes, I heard.

transit user's picture
transit user on February 3, 2009 - 05:56 Permalink

Fredericton Transit — Typically yes
Codiac Transit — Typically yes
Metro Transit (Halifax) — Infrequently, but yes
Cape Breton Transit — Yes, all the time
Metrobus (St. John’s) — Yes, all the time
Kings Transit (Annapolis Valley) — Yes, all the time
BAT (Bangor) — Infrequently, but yes
OC Transpo — I used to hear it the odd time
TTC — Sometimes
LT (London, Ont) — Typically yes
Brantford Transit — Typically yes

56 Xpress's picture
56 Xpress on March 30, 2009 - 21:07 Permalink

Seattle — People are always thanking the Metro drivers and I don’t know why. Yes, they drove the bus. Yes, they stopped at the bus stop. Yes, they opened the door and let you out. This behaviour is expected. I thought it was a Seattle thing, but judging by these comments most of North America is thanks-happy.

B's picture
B on March 17, 2011 - 01:35 Permalink


Hey we were just talking about this in my english class how my teacher, being from an older generation, wasn’t used to thanking the bus driver. I’ve only been using public transit (on my own) regularly these past 2 years, and I learned this custom from my older sister, and found that large amount of people do the same.

I really like this custom just because its very “Canadian” and it’s interesting when the bus driver actually has a big smile on his face when responding back.

I personally smile when I walk through the front doors, and show my U-pass ID, and thank the bus driver as I’m leaving the back doors.

If you know when abouts this started or where it came from, please let me know!


anonymoose's picture
anonymoose on June 24, 2012 - 08:22 Permalink

the way i see it, you thank the person who’s paid to serve you at the supermarket, so why shouldn’t you thank the person who’s paid to drive you?

Pete Hanson's picture
Pete Hanson on August 28, 2012 - 00:28 Permalink

I first noticed this custom in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington, and I also saw it to a lesser degree in Anchorage, AK. I’m in Portland, OR now, where it is pretty much the norm.