A Hoot of a Time on the Hummingbird Pub Bus

Tommy Transit, or Tommy T for short, is the most entertaining bus driver you’ll ever have.

Many years ago, after a couple of tough turns in his life, he decided what he really wanted to do was drive a transit bus in Vancouver, B.C. He ended up driving one for 21 years, affecting many lives and becoming a national hero in the process.

Tommy realized that he had a chance to interact with thousands of people every day in his job as a bus driver. He could make every day special for so many. He talked, joked, and related to his customers. He made the bus commute fun with snappy comments and off the wall announcements to the entire bus. “You are a sharp dresser” to the man in suit. “That is a beautiful necklace you are wearing…” to the elderly woman struggling to get on the bus with her bags.

This went on for years with many enlightening experiences with his passengers. He made them happy and received a great deal of satisfaction every day while doing his job. At the same time he had fun. He became a folk hero in Vancouver, appearing on TV and in newspaper articles. Now “retired,” he drives the Hummingbird Pub bus on Galiano Island in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

A ride with Tommy from the Montague Marina to the Pub starts with Tommy’s big greeting when you board that always drives a smile. His long gray hair flows out from under a big hat. Hawaiian shirt. Red gloves, of course.  Soon the music begins. For an old school bus, it has a pretty awesome sound system. As the bus rolls on, Tommy hands back tambourines, maracas, shakers and even spoons that get passed to all in the bus. Above Tommy’s seat is a percussion section mounted to the bus with cymbals, cow bells and drum boxes. Tommy drives with a drum stick in one hand, steering down the windy island road with the other. Pretty soon the whole bus is playing along with Tommy as he comes over the sound system with his quips and comments. At one point he stops and fakes the bus stalling, over the sound system you hear an engine’s grinding start, the lead-in to the classic song, “Pink Cadillac” by Natalie Cole. The bus goes wild with percussion and rhythm as we rock down the narrow, tree-lined island road above the water. You just don’t want the trip to the pub to end.

Tommy T has a new career, in addition to his driving the Hummingbird Pub bus. He is a motivational speaker for bus drivers and the author of a book Tommy Transit’s Bus Tales – How to Change the World from 9-5. Tommy is also a motivational speaker about the “Art of Acknowledgement” a subject he carries beyond just bus drivers and on to corporate groups. His premise is that we all like to be acknowledged in our busy world. This is a key to success and it makes the world a much more pleasant place.