Driver-Mechanic Relations

Posted on January 1, 2002

Effective communication between drivers and mechanics is key to keeping buses in top shape and creating a pleasant, efficient work environment. To avoid communication gaps, some operators require that all repair requests, even those as small as the replacement of a light bulb, be submitted in writing. Others encourage verbal interaction between drivers and mechanics, under the assumption that drivers can best explain what is happening with their bus. At Park City (Utah) School District, head mechanic Brad Barker says that when small problems arise, he attaches a note to the toolbox of the mechanic who opens in the morning, so that he can work on the repair first thing. Larger items, he says, may need to be presented verbally so that an explanation can be given. “If I can't get the word out in a note to another mechanic in 10 words or less, I will talk directly to him,” he says. Barker and his staff use Microsoft Schedule to input job requests and repair details. “Most jobs are given out this way and not too much verbal instruction is needed,” says Barker. He adds, however, that each worker is different and communicates in his own way. “I have one mechanic who likes to ask for further instructions to make sure he understands each job. I have another who is great at figuring things out by himself and we do not communicate as often verbally,” he says. “Both of these guys do a great job, but they have different styles of working and communicating.”

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