Friday, April 5, 2013

Ever tried to help someone out only to make the situation worse?

This morning I noticed one of my bus mates standing at the lights instead of the bus stop.
It looked like he was heading back home so I asked him what was wrong thinking our bus had blown by early again and he'd given up on GO Transit. This has been the pattern over the past several weeks.
Our bus is scheduled to arrive at 6:38 am. On Easter Monday, the bus was 10 minutes early and the driver didn't even stop at the stop according to my other bus stop buddies who were walking towards the bus stop when the bus blew by. Everyone on that route had been forced to take the next bus.
On March 28th, the bus was five minutes early, but I requested the driver sit and wait until he was back on schedule. This morning the driver was running seven minutes early and we asked him to wait at another stop and get back on schedule. It screws over a lot of people when drivers run early.
Anyone who takes a bus knows it's all about routine. We build our mornings and our walks to the bus stops around this routine. If a bus is scheduled to arrive at 6:38 and the driver is running early, that driver should take pains to get back on schedule. It's only fair.
My bus mate tells me it's not the bus but that he had left his Presto card in his other jacket and had to go back home and fetch it.
I told him not to bother. I carry an extra Presto card and he could use it. There's money on it (or so I thought...).
The bus comes. We get on and my bus mate gets a card error. We can only presume it's because the card has no funds or is locked. The driver stares blankly at us.
I'm embarrassed and the card won't tap again. I had already tapped my card so I couldn't pay for my bus mate out of my e-wallet.
Myself, my bus mate and another bus mate all start scrounging around in our purses and bags to come up with enough fare to get him to the station where he could then square out the rest of his fare at the tellers with his debit card.
He was grateful but I was mortified. So much drama!


MATT said...

I leave my Presto card in my wallet, or (in the summer) my bag that I carry to work, so that I never have this issue.

Nothing sucks as much as watching your bus round the corner and approach your stop, reaching for your fare payment method, only to realize that you left your wallet/fare card at home.

Peter said...

The drivers have their “paddles” with timing points. To run ahead of schedule by that much, and repeatedly, needs to be reported to their supervisor.

I don’t understand why the driver didn’t take your bus mate to the train station with the stipulation the passenger had to buy the ticket for the bus fare from an agent inside and then come back to the bus to show the driver the ticket. Better still, the driver should have given this regular passenger a free ride – it happens all the time.

C.J. Smith said...

It's been reported.
Yes, the passenger should have been forgiven. The driver seemed very untrained.

MATT said...

Wow...It's one fucking fare. I don't think anyone would get bent out of shape over that. People on the train get free rides (aka warnings) all the time.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a driver from the swing board. If that was the case, he wouldn't know any of the regulars and in his head, everyone is a paying customer. Really, that's how it's supposed to work.

C.J. Smith said...

Let's see ... if I know my bus mates and my bus mates all know me - wouldn't this make us regulars and wouldn't the driver be smart enough to recognize that?!

We've had a different driver everyday since March 25 during the morning pickup. Why can't one of these swig drivers just be assigned the route?

mumzthewurd said...

I once told a man, on a very rainy day, that his nap sac was open and his papers were getting wet. He spun around to check, scattering all his documents onto the sodden sidewalk. I thought "my work here is done",apologized & hurried off to work.

Peter said...

@Anonymous: Whether you’re a driver on the swing/spare board or one who has picked their crew for the board period, you have to know the timings. We had young driver from the Oshawa garage doing work between Niagara Falls and Burlington in December. He had the paddle printed out and hanging on the dashboard; he had done his homework, and he was prepared. Drivers have been instructed to be accommodating to passengers – “that’s how it’s supposed to work”. Stop and think for a moment how many free rides GO Transit gives away every day . . . to their own staff.

AllanVS said...

There have been several times, I forgot (or didn't have the money) for my TTC monthly pass, until the first day - I explain to the driver I'm going right to the station to buy a pass, and show him the previous pass, and 9 out of 10 times, they let me on.
The one time he didn't, I waited for the NEXT bus, watched as we passed him, and at the station, when he showed up, showed him my new month pass, and said (ONE TIME) "don't you feel like an ass now?"
He said he did and was sorry for doubting me.

Anonymous said...

So, can you go to the gas station and tell the clerk "don't worry, I'll pay next time" and still get a fill up?

C.J. Smith said...

My parents have such a relationship with the guy who runs the station near their home.

lilnat86 said...

My fiancé had a relationship like that with the convenience store in Union. He had NO cash one morning when he was buying his coffee at Second Cup and his smokes at the c.s. Both places waved him off (SC wouldn't take his credit card for the $2 coffee and the c.s didn't accept credit) and said to pay later. He felt so humbled and bad at the same time that he made me go back and pay them later that morning. They were grateful but confused.

And I've had TTC guy do that for me, but because they didn't have any Metropasses at the beginning of the month and I needed it to get to work that day. He said not to worry, that it's not my fault he's out of passes and to buy one at King. And he wasn't even my regular attendant!

Long and short of it is that there has to be some understanding on the part of the driver. He had alternatives to provide the guy that would have been more efficient in everyone's time. At least he didn't throw the guy off the bus. A friend of ours tried to pay for a teenager on the TTC when she was short and the guy still threw the teen off the bus, even after our friend paid for her!