Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bus drivers behaving badly

(photo from Google Images)

I've run into a bit of car trouble recently, so as of now I'm not going too many places, if I can help it. For those places I cannot get to I end up using AC Transit and/or BART. Today's blog entry is my sharing of what happened on my way home from church, south of Lake Merritt.

Normally, I don't file complaints, but felt the need to do so today. There were three incidents, which added up, caused me to do so.

First incident was when I was waiting for the bus. A bus from a different route was already in the bus stop, and when I noticed the bus I was waiting for down the block I raised my hand to make sure the driver knew I was waiting for her. She stopped 20 yards down in a red zone. I figured she was waiting for the first bus to pull out. After it did, she started pulling forward. However, instead of pulling all the way up to the stop, which was now vacant, she stops 10 feet down the street.

After I board and go find my seat in the back, I can hear her complaining to the passenger in the front seat about my not walking down the block to board the bus and how she would have been through the intersection, instead of sitting at the red light. She then complained to the passenger how she was 30 minutes behind schedule already.

Had this been the only incident I might have brushed it off just as someone having a bad day. However, when we got to the stop at 14th/San Pablo, there was a woman that called to the driver, saying she needed the backdoor ramp. The driver did not acknowledge her and then when everyone boarded she started pulling forward.

Figuring maybe the driver hadn't heard her request, the woman said something again. This time, the driver said she had to pull up a bit. That's fine. Those ramps can't be lowered if there's an obstruction that might be in there way. HOWEVER, when she came back to open the ramp she literally told the poor woman, "I can only do one thing at a time!"

After letting the woman out, she returned to her driving duties and joked for the next five minutes about fixing her hair. Mind you I was near the back of the bus, but she was so loud I couldn't help but hear her.

She did stop once to yell back, rather flustered sounding, wanting to know who kept pushing the button, and did they need help knowing where to get off? Mind you there were several of us in the back, and people had been coming and going along the way so it was probably several different people who had already exited.

The most egregious thing came about 20 minutes later in downtown Berkeley.

Perhaps she was still trying to make up time, but for whatever reason, she did not pull to the curb at one stop. Unfortunately for her, she had to stop at the intersection anyways as the light turned red.

A young man walked up to the coach door from the stop she had planned to bypass. I know she saw him as she started talking at him through the door. She NEVER opened the door to let him on the bus despite plenty of time to do so, nor did she pull over to the curb across the street.

In fact, she and another passenger seemed to think it was a funny thing when the young man whipped out his cell phone and took photos of the bus at the intersection as well as when it pulled away. I have to wonder if she's already a star on YouTube as I write this?

Now, I can understand being stressed if you're behind so much on your route and you'd normally be taking lunch at the end of this leg. However, there was no reason for what occurred.

Mind you, I don't think this driver is the rule, rather than a unique example. However, I thought it worth sharing on this nice sunny Sunday. To me it was a reminder that you never know how your behavior, negative OR positive, might have an effect on someone.

Hopefully, the next time I need to take the bus this week, it will be uneventful.

* * *

I've removed references to info that would identify the driver as there's no need to mention that here. I have already sent a letter to AC Transit Customer Service.

Should you find yourself in a circumstance such as this, the BEST thing to do is write down the coach number, the time of the event and the nearest stop you were by so Customer Service can pinpoint which driver was involved. This goes for any carrier, not just AC Transit.

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