Eaton’s AMT Solution and Bus Driver

Safe, efficient public transport matters. Eaton makes what matters work.

Pain. My first thought in the morning, the last at night. Pain that throbs with the slightest movement, spreading through my right hand and left foot like fire. The tools of my trade.

Each new day became harder and harder to face. Until that unthinkable word was forced out to the tip of my tongue: “quit”. But how could I? With a family to feed and bills to pay, quitting seemed impossible. And still, the pain was growing worse.

How many more weekends could I look into my son’s face, full of disappointment, and tell him I can’t play basketball with him in the park? There had to be another way.

My name is Chen Shibo and I work as a bus driver in Shanghai. That’s right, a bus driver. ‘What’s so painful about driving?’ you might wonder.

‘Isn’t it easy?’ Let me take you on a journey. But this time, you’re in the driver’s seat.

Imagine. You pull out of the garage into the street to begin a new day.

You shift up through the gears as you pick up speed. Your left foot pushes the clutch pedal, heavy like tar. Your right hand grapples the gearstick, stiff and unyielding. The first set of lights turn red as you approach. Right foot on break, left foot pushes hard on the clutch, right hand grips the gearstick. You stop, exhale deeply from the effort.

Throughout the eight hours you will spend driving today you will make these movements about 1,500 times. As you near the end of your shift, the clutch and gearstick seem to put up ever more resistance. A piercing ache drives through the muscles, tendons and bones of your hand and foot, and by the time you pull into the garage you’re biting your lip against the pain.

This was my work day, six days a week. I watched my body suffer over time. Even minimal use of my right hand and shoulder brought fatigue.

Eating became a struggle as my chopsticks slipped from my trembling hands. My wife pleaded with me to change jobs. She’d already witnessed the effects of this occupational hazard force one of her relatives, also a driver, into early retirement.


  We make Bus work

Then one day our fortunes changed forever. Our company announced it had decided to replace the manual transmissions in the entire fleet with a new automatic transmission system, provided by Eaton.

The difference was immediate and powerful.

Not only would it cut fuel consumption by 20% and slash maintenance days, but it would transform the lives of us drivers in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Finally free of the laborious handling of the clutch and gearstick, I could focus fully on the conditions of the road ahead. Driving became safer for passengers, other vehicles and pedestrians on the road, and for myself, without the distractions of operating the controls.

My regular customers were delighted with the smoother ride afforded by the steadier acceleration and deceleration of the new system. No more shuddering stops and jerking starts.  

My family felt relieved that I could continue working without causing further damage to my health, in greater safety than ever before.

And my pain? With time, I’ve made a full recovery, and now when Saturday morning comes, I look into my son’s face, full of joy, and run with him to the basketball court. These are the moments we live for. They are precious, and without good health, they slip through our fingers.

“You know, you young ones are lucky,” said one of the more experienced drivers. “Good times are ahead.”