Steve Edwards has worked as a bus driver for the Vineyard Transit Authority for eight years. As an essential worker he has never stopped working during the pandemic and that’s the way he likes it.

At home, the news of the world gets him down, especially articles about how hard hit transportation workers are, but behind the wheel of the bus he feels he can get away from it all.

“In New Jersey and New York, they are taking a beating,” he says. “It’s hard to read about and we are stressed out but we are out there.”

Like all the bus drivers, Mr. Edwards is trained to drive every route.

“I love going up-Island to Aquinnah,” he says, relishing the long, scenic ride. He’s also a big fan of his passengers, especially the regulars, which these days is the majority of riders.

“Workers,” he says when asked who is riding the bus. “And a few homeless people. The regulars.”

But these days, with the safety precautions in place, it’s a lot harder to have conversations.

“People enter through the rear of the bus, and we stopped collecting fares. It’s in and out through the back.”

And yet some riders still want to chat, even walking to the front of the bus.

“I put a broom across the aisle by the luggage rack to let them know not to come too close,” Mr. Edwards says.

He is also looking out for his passengers like he always does.

“I see everything that goes on in the bus. The other day a rider took off his mask and was talking on the phone. I pulled over and told him to put his mask back on. There was some grumbling but he did it. I’m not worried about myself, I’m way up front, but it’s the safety of the other passengers I’m thinking about.”

Mr. Edwards is not the only one in his house heading out onto the front lines. It’s his whole family.

“Everyone is an essential worker,” he says. “My wife is a medical technician, my daughter is a midwife at Beth Israel and my son works for the Shellfish group. We are all out there.”

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love it,” he says. “Every stop is another adventure.”

— Bill Eville