If you’ve ever wondered what the bus commute from Vancouver to Richmond was like a half-century ago, this 1965 TV documentary is worth a watch.
“A Day in the Life of a Vancouver Bus Driver” shows the workday of Bill Menzies, a 20-year veteran at the bus wheel, taking the Richmond Express run.
Menzies’ day starts at the The Oakridge Transit Depot, then CBUT (CBC Vancouver) documents his repeated runs to Richmond, which Menzies calls “the island.” Menzies is affectionate towards “the island,” in part because he used to work there, but also because of the attractive young wives who now live in Richmond who Menzies says he used to drive those same women as five year old girls.
Yep, Menzies is just a pinch sexist, as evidenced by his take on helping riders out: “A lot of people don’t ask the right–the question in the right manner. Consequently the bus driver often gets blamed for giving the wrong information. The worst offenders are the ladies, I’m afraid. I find men very businesslike.”
Among the excitement of Menzies’ day is the discovery of a Woodward’s department store box in the back of the bus containing a “dirty old dress,” leaving Menzies to surmise a woman must have changed her dress in the back of the bus. Goodness!
The whole thing is set, curiously, to an instrumental version of the “West Side Story” score. All in all, Menzies is a people person: “You have to like people on this job, or they’ll get in your hair if you don’t.”
Happy travels, modern viewers!