Career Guide

In the driver's seat: It takes more than just a licence

Doing the same thing every day for 26 long years is no easy feat. But that is exactly what Anuar Mohamed Ali, a bus driver, has been doing and he has no complaints.

A driver in the public bus services since 1986, the thought of changing jobs or trying out a new industry has never crossed Anuar’s mind, mainly because he enjoys what he is doing.

“I have been a bus driver for the longest time and I love what I do. Basically my job entails transporting passengers from one point to another.

“As a bus driver, there are certain things that I have to look into prior to starting my journey. This encompasses making sure the bus is in a good condition by checking the functions of the engine, brakes and other important parts,” he explains.

According to Anuar, this job is not a difficult one as all it requires you is to be able to drive a bus and to have a valid licence. However, one has to be always alert and careful.

“It is no more like those good old days where there were few vehicles on the road. Today, the roads are filled with cars, motorcycles, lorries and other buses.

“You have to be really careful while driving because one minor or careless mistake can land you in an accident.”

The daily journey

Anuar is assigned to the afternoon and evening shifts, so he is behind the wheels from 2pm till 6pm. He has a one-hour break and commences again from 7pm till the last bus trip which is at about 11pm.

For Anuar, his priority is to ensure the safety of his vehicle. When he begins his duty, he is responsible for ensuring the safety of his passengers and making sure they adhere to the rules and regulations.

“These include queuing up before boarding the bus and making sure they have the required fare for their journey.

“I also have to make sure that all passengers display good behaviour whilst riding on the bus. It is my job to make sure that there are no fights, quarrels or shoving in my bus. This is important to avoid any mishaps during travel,” he shares.

Besides that, Anuar also has the task of ensuring the safety of other road users while he is driving.

“As I am driving a big vehicle, I have to make sure that I don’t overlook the people who are walking on the road and the motorbike riders. One small mistake and I can end up hitting them.

“Many a time we hear of news of deaths due to negligence of bus drivers, so I am always careful when I am maneuvering my bus,” explains Anuar.

The challenges

“Apart from the massive traffic jam in KL, I guess the biggest challenge I face in my job is dealing with inconsiderate and problematic passengers. Some of them can be very rude.

“I have had passengers who stop the bus by using their legs, passengers who have thrown rocks at my bus shattering the glass, as well as ones who have been downright crude while talking to me,” he sighs.

Besides that, there is also the scenario of uncertain weather changes. Anuar says that on some days, it just rains unexpectedly and this causes in delays.

This will result in anxiety among passengers who will get agitated while shouting at the bus driver for arriving late. They fail to realise that the driver is caught in traffic due to the weather, he says.

“In this line of job, you meet various people ranging from the young, old, and the disabled. You also come across a diverse form of characters, some with whom you can be friends with and some with whom you can’t.”

Nevertheless, being a friendly and jovial person, Anuar loves what he is doing as it enables him to widen his network of contacts.

Fortunate connections

“In my job, I have the privilege of getting acquainted with people from all walks of life. It has given me the opportunity to make new friends and build good connections. Most of these connections have worked out very well for me.

“I remember speaking to a particular passenger once about my brother who was desperately looking for a job. This person told me to ask my brother to come see him.

“I passed the message to my brother and what do you know, this guy was actually a job recruiter who managed to hook my brother up with a company in no time,” says the cheerful father-of-five.

“A memorable incident which I am rather proud of is the fact that I managed to purchase our family house with the aid of a very helpful passenger who eased the purchasing process for me and helped me achieve my dream of owning a house. This is one incident that will always stay in my mind,” he says.

What motivates Anuar to get up and head to work each day can be summarised in two words: his family. He is very thankful to be blessed with a loving wife and children.

Anuar met his wife when he was on one of his routes, back in 1988. After four years of courtship, they tied the knot in 1992. They have five children, with the youngest born this year.

He spends the first half of his day helping out in the house and taking care of his children. The other half is spent in his bus, with his passengers.

“I am a house-husband in the mornings and a bus driver from the afternoon onwards,” chuckles Anuar.

“I am lucky to have the chance to watch my kids grow up and participate in their daily lives by sending them to school and helping them with their homework.”

What it takes

“People might think that driving a bus is easy and all it takes is a driver’s licence and the knowledge on how to handle the vehicle but there is more to it than that.

“You also need to be very patient as you are dealing with people with all sorts of behaviours each day. You cannot afford to lose your temper as it could cause you your job.

“At the same time, you have to be firm in order to ensure that the passengers do not do as they please on the bus. So you have to be very practical and careful while managing your passengers,” he says.

Anuar also believes in the importance of having good soft skills. He says that developing people skills is imperative to provide a comfortable environment for the passengers.

He always wants his passengers to feel that a journey in his bus is worth their money.

“Lastly, love your job. Never say you are bored of your work because that is an indication that you are not sincere in your career. When you are not sincere, then you will never do justice to your work.”

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