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Students driving force behind CABS service

Chris Scullin / Lantern photographer

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When rain begins to fall or snow starts piling up, some students hop on a Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) bus, many of which are driven by students themselves.

Sarah Blouch, executive director of transportation and parking services, said students are an integral part of their staff.

“We couldn’t make it without our student drivers,” Blouch said.

Rayvion Sanford, a third-year in chemical and biomolecular engineering, has been driving CABS buses since August 2010 and said she likes the simplicity of her job.

“It’s definitely an easy job,” Sanford said. “All we do is sit and drive.”

Of the 120 total drivers this quarter, about 65 or 70 are students, said Thomas Holman, assistant director of transportation operations.

Student drivers usually begin on the wash crew when they are hired, cleaning the buses each night and replacing the advertisements inside, Holman said.

After being on the wash crew, students start a training program that includes classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training.

When training is complete, typically after one academic quarter, students take an exam to receive their commercial driver’s license.

Sanford said she decided to apply after seeing an ad for CABS bus driver positions and making a joke with her friends.

“I was with a bunch of my friends and I said, ‘Oh my god, guys, I’m going to be a bus driver,’ and nobody believed me, so I did it anyway,” Sanford said.

Sanford said she never thought she would be a bus driver and has picked up some pet peeves since starting the job.

“No one talks to the bus drivers,” Sanford said. “Everyone’s always, like, shocked when I open my mouth and say something.”

Student drivers are cost-effective to hire and are able to relate to student riders, Blouch said.

“It’s kind of nice that they can certainly relate to what our university students are going through, trying to get to and from class,” Blouch said.

Sanford said she listens to audiobooks during longer shifts to make the time pass more quickly.

“I try not to listen to anything too sappy because a lot of things are audible and everyone would be looking at me like, ‘That’s the crazy bus driver,'” Sanford said.

Though Sanford admitted her road rage has gone up since she started, she likes the North Express route because of the traffic and it makes time pass more quickly.

“Driving in circles gets boring to me,” she said.

After almost 18 months behind the wheel, Sanford said some people still don’t believe that she drives buses.

“I may not look like one,” Sanford said. “But I’m a bus driver.”

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