This Broward County Bus Driver Finds Beauty In The Mundane; Then He Blogs About It
Robert Rutherford is behind the wheel at least five days a week, which means that inspiration for a story can hit him at any bus stop.
The Wilton Manors native is a driver for Broward County Transit and also the author of a blog that documents what he sees in his drives across the county.
The blog is called Bus Tropical. It's a play-on-words for a subtropical climate (bus spelled backwards is sub).
He says the purpose of his blog is quite simple: "to document the beauty of our community. This is not a ranting blog, it is a love song to Broward County."
"Almost all of the posts are a day-in-the-life," he said. "There's so much beauty out there, in the dirtiest places that people do not expect."
Four years ago Rutherford was in a very different place - he was working in the printing business, inside an office. He said he was craving a better view and started to drive the buses that he'd been riding all his life.
Hardly any of the passengers that Rutherford drives around know that he writes about his experiences on the road with them. Rutherford's is among blogs written by a small community of bus drivers around the country. Broward County has its own 'love song,' but bus drivers in Seattle and Portland write about their communities in motion, too.
The stories Rutherford writes almost weekly on the blog reflect everyday observations while he drives. Many of the stories have a poetic rhythm and include unnamed characters that he picks up and drops off during his shift.
His routes change every few months, but he's usually driving north and south on U.S. 1, or State Road 7. He even drives along Sunrise, Broward and Commercial Boulevards. That means he gets to take a front seat to life along the main arteries of the county.
"It’s really impossible to give a clear picture of one type of customer because really the whole community - and really the whole world - comes through the door," he said.
Here's what Rutherford had to say about a sleepy Sunday morning, back on Oct. 2, 2018:
Ahhh, Sundays on Federal Highway. The slow day of the week, when all chaos and furor subside to give us a day of rest. This shift on the 10 meant starting with the rising sun, a hopeful time when the day is born anew…..Someone was playing music without headphones, but low enough that no one seemed bothered by the classic Marley jam. "Don't worry, about a thing..." It was Sunday after all - the slow day of the week.
Rutherford lives in Oakland Park. When he's not driving or writing his blog posts, he's busy lobbying for a park for his neighborhood association, of which he's the president. He said his sense of community stems back to his Broward pride, because there's not one type of person who lives in the county.
"It's really gonna be a reflection of our community, our part of the world," Rutherford said about Bus Tropical. "Hopefully it tells stories of the story-less and stories that would not be told otherwise and, show the world what's going on in our part of the world."
WLRN met Rutherford on the road - along with a lot more of the people he drives. You can explore rush hour along State Rd. 7 - and the stories that go along with it - in the interactive map, below: