ONTARIO — For Steve Borwieck, driving has been his way of life.
On Friday, Borwieck was the afternoon driver for Snake River Transit/Malheur Express bus through Ontario, a job he has had for about three years.
Before that, he was long-haul truck driver, a job which took him all over the United States.
But having retired from that, he applied for two other driving jobs.
“It was between this [driving transit bus] or driving a school bus,” he said, and it came down to whichever called first.
Malheur County on Aging, which operates the transit system in Ontario and Malheur County got a hold of him first, he said.
“I like this job,” Borwieck said, adding quickly, “the people,” when asked what he liked about the job, and that includes his employers.
“The people I work for are absolutely wonderful,” he said. “I like to be able to help people. I like to visit with the riders.”
How busy it gets, as far as the number of riders, varies. On Fridays, from noon to 3 p.m. is one period that can get busy, Borwieck said.
The dynamics change toward the end of the month, he said, as people’s funds run out.
“Some people go window shopping. Some [just] ride for an hour.”
As a truck driver Borwieck said his goal was to see the United States and during his career he was able to see all the lower 48 states, while making money and earning a good retirement. Although based in Portland, Borwieck and his family lived in Payette, and the company he worked for, Schneider Transportation, made sure he got home when he need to, he said.
He also drove for HFI Transportation.
Borwieck is very proud of his driving record. “I’ve never had an accident or a ticket in my life, he said. “Zero accidents. Zero tickets. Zero incidents,” he said for emphasis.
Not all of the bus passengers are regular riders, Borwieck said. Some people’s vehicles break down and they ride the bus to go to get parts.
The heavy snow in 2017 was not a problem for him, he said. In fact, he enjoys the snow, he said. A driver just has to take it slow and be careful.
“A lot of people are depending on you.” he said. The reduction of an hour per day of service because of budget cuts hurt people, he said.
“I really love this job,” he repeated. The passengers kind of become a family to you.”