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Transportation

Copenhagen's Bus Drivers Are Learning Aikido

Japanese breathing techniques, meet rush hour.
People who may or may not be bus drivers practice the Japanese martial art of aikido.
People who may or may not be bus drivers practice the Japanese martial art of aikido.Wikimedia Commons/Jdcollins13

Driving a public bus is a notoriously stressful job. Navigating a hulking behemoth through oft-narrow and crowded city streets while sitting for huge swaths of time is bad enough. But bus driving is also a customer service job, one in which only people with a naturally calm demeanors, tolerance for irrational passengers, and low blood pressure can excel.

A number of studies show the horrifying impact bus driving can have on one’s health. A 1986 study of 1,500 American city bus drivers discovered these workers face significantly higher rates of hypertension than the rest of the population. Work from 1988 found bus drivers in the Netherlands to be twice as likely to become disabled as other male Dutch civil servants, mostly due to risks of back, tendon, and joint injury, mental disorders, and cardiovascular disease. A small British study of 22 bus drivers who had experienced violence on the job found that 23 percent had developed PTSD.