Saturday, December 1, 2012

So your GO Bus driver made a wrong turn

One of my faithful readers and Twitter followers sent in a piece he wanted published.
Peter has become a texting BFF of mine. I haven't met him yet, but I'm hoping to. Logistics tend to get in the way.

I really liked this letter. We all need a bit more patience some days and to speak up more, instead of whining and getting no results.

November 30 2012
Written by Peter S.

In response to the comments about “spare” drivers not knowing where they’re going (Stinky Bus Ride), I think we passengers need to take a moment and reflect on the trip from the driver’s perspective. I’m not a driver, but I’ve talked to enough of them to understand some of the issues they face.

Drivers on the “spare board” for the garage they work out of can be given an assignment on any route that is within 100 km. of that garage. So, the drivers who were assigned to routes into and out of Oshawa may actually be based in Streetsville – that’s right, Mississauga. And even though the drivers are given written directions with timings on how to navigate the route, it’s a far cry from actually having driven it a few times to become familiar with the landmarks.

Experienced drivers are not afraid to ask passengers for assistance, whereas those who are new to the position may believe they should know how execute the trip on their own. Travelling back to St. Catharines last night I caught part of the radio conversation between a driver in Toronto and his colleagues, who were doing everything they could to assist that individual. Apparently, the driver had made a wrong turn in downtown Toronto; the emotional stress the driver was feeling was quite evident. Even permanent drivers, who are assigned to a route, can get stressed if traffic conditions force an impromptu detour.

Tomorrow, December 1, starts a new “board period” in which driver assignments may change. This board period is the shortest of the year; it’s for December only. So, don’t be surprised if you see a different driver at the wheel.

This is where we passengers need to step forward and lend a hand. Introduce yourself, and ask if the driver requires navigational assistance. If you have a smart phone with GPS capabilities, volunteer to ride shotgun and give your driver directions. Your driver will thank you.

Remember, if we keep silent, and the driver makes a wrong turn, not only are we screwed collectively, we’re all culpable.


GO GUY said...

Peter deserves a virtual high five...

TomW said...

Damn straight!

I once took the Hamilton-Union express. Somehow we ended up on the 407 and then did some weird loopy detour... and ended up at Union only 2 mins late. I knew it was wrong, bit how no idea how to make it right.

Wider point: why can't GO's bus drivers have GPS (or iPhones) programmed with the route? Would be worth it to save passenger frustration!

C.J. Smith said...

Ontario law restricts all drivers from using any hand-held device while driving, so no to iPhone use.

GPS units can be mounted to the dash and should be installed on all buses.

AllanVS said...

I agree all GO buses should have GPS. They have ones specific for transportation which can be locked to only show routes and now allow changes. They have others that dispatch can adjust if traffic or weather calls for it.

Jenn Jilks said...

Great post weary riders! #Happy2BeRetired

Anonymous said...

Our CSAs are also sometimes filling in from a spareboard! If a new face shows up, I'll sometimes let 'em know the side we're coming in on if they looked confused.

Marymary said...

I found this thanks to today's (Dec 1 2016) guest blog; Go voyager. New board period starting this Saturday, do you feel like reposting this letter from Peter? The buses now have the GPS talked about but still a lot of new drivers and new routes... :D