Saturday, February 26, 2011

The wheels on the bus go round and round, and the driver of the bus goes "grrrrr grrrrr"!

Princess and I rode the bus the other evening since Mac had the car. She had never ridden any sort of public transportation before and we ended up with a very mean bus driver. It was not our best riding experience. Actually most of the time when I use public transportation, I have crummy experiences. I don't know if it's the luck of the draw, or what. Sometimes I have no other alternative than to ride with them; I hate that rock and hard place feeling.

I know other people who take it all the time and never had any issues and that's great for them. I also know this is better than nothing when you need a ride. I just hate the fact I get some grumpy drivers who always blame me for their issues. Or are mad at their dispatcher and then are in crappy humor with me the entire ride. I usually try and schedule my rides 24 hours (or more) in advance. And I never call and say "can you come get me in 10 minutes?" If I need a same day ride, I call in the early morning for a late afternoon or evening ride. If I do call for a same day ride, I am always prepared for snafus. Ugh!

Our transportation isn't like a regular bus. There isn't a regular route it runs and you walk to a stop and get on. No, instead, you schedule a pick up and they come get you as close to the appointed time you ask for. The policy says, I think, the bus has a 20 minute grace period either way of your assigned time. Yes, they could be 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late. As a rider, you are allotted 5 minutes to get your butt out the door and into the bus from the moment they arrive, even if they are 20 minutes early. Because of this stupid 20 minutes policy, I rarely use them when I am on a time crunch. I make sure I can be flexible.

The other night Princess and I were at the downtown coffee shop waiting for our 6:05pm pick up. We were sitting where we could see the street and we also were laughing at how many open parking spaces there were for the bus to pull in. I had to pee and thought I could wait but nature called. Now, this may be more than you want to or need to know, but it must be said. I can pee REALLY quickly. I've worked in education for the past 11 years and am used to only having a 3 minute passing period to get to a bathroom, do my business, wash my hands, and get back to my room before a bell. So I'm a quick pee-er. I ran to the bathroom and did my thing. From the moment I left my seat until I got back was less than 3 minutes, tops. And the bus came during the time. Princess waited for me and we boarded. That bus driver had waited, according to us anyway, for maybe 2 minutes. We were allowed five.

And the bus driver was some little, old, gray haired, ANGRY lady. She said she has been waiting forever for us. Princess and I looked at each other. The driver went on to say she even called dispatch to see where we were. I asked her where she had been waiting and she said "right here" which was smack in the front of the plate glass window where we had been sitting. So she was completely lying. She slammed the bus doors and told us to sit down and she drove away while I was still walking to my seat, muttering at me. I was pissed.

I actually called the person who schedules the rides the next day to see what the problem was and to explain our side of it. She blamed the other scheduler and said our driver was supposed to be off work at 6pm. Well, whoopee shit. Like that was MY fault?

Daddy-O used to drive for this company and he used to be a dispatcher as well, for years and years. He quit when he retired. I know the other side of this gig so whenever I schedule a ride, I certainly try and always be timely, flexible and friendly. I know what the drivers go through. I wish the drivers would offer that same service in return.

Other bad experiences: I waited my allotted 20 minutes late and then called to see where my ride was. No one could figure out why I wasn't picked up so after some phone calls to some drivers, they figured out my name never was put on any drivers' lists. New computer software was blamed and it was 40 minutes after my scheduled time that anyone finally got me. And when the driver finally did get me, she complained she was supposed to be off work 30 minutes ago and there were other drivers doing nothing so she didn't know why she was stuck getting me.

Another time I needed pick up at school. We have an office building on one side of the street and the school is on the other. When I called for that ride, I stressed that I was IN the school. So at my pick up time I see the bus just drive right on by the school and pull in the office building entrance and head to the parking lot, which is behind the building. I call to the office and ask if they could send the bus to the school. They do. The driver immediately starts chewing my butt, telling me I need to let the dispatcher know where I'll be. I calmly BUT firmly told that driver, "Look I told them the school. I stressed that I was a teacher and would be at the school. Furthermore, my dad worked for this place and I know the procedure so back off. I suggest you call and see if [dispatcher name] wrote it down or not." Then she proceeded to complain about her job all the way home.

It's better than nothing when I need a ride, I realize that. It beats being stranded. And right now, I have free ride passes which are valid until March 31 so I don't have to pay for any of these rides- they're all free. I guess, in this case, I'm getting what I pay for. But these drivers need to learn some customer service finesse.

And Princess thinks public transportation is now mean and scary. She's kinda right about that...


1 comment:

Curley said...

I think that you need to call the head of the transport depart. and tell him all of this. That is the only way they can fix the problems.