Monday, October 20, 2014

Conversations with a GO bus driver

Every day last week and this morning, my route GO bus driver, due to arrive at my stop at 6:43 am, has been late. The lastest being last Thursday when he arrived at 6:57 am.

This morning, I checked the GO mobile app to make sure my route hasn't had a time change, since the bus was late, again. The arrival time was still 6:43 am. The bus showed up at 6:53 am.

This is irritating. If this driver runs 10 minutes behind, then I'll run 10 minutes behind. You know what I can do with 10 extra minutes? Have breakfast. At home. 

When I boarded, I politely inquired if there had been a route time change. His answer? A terse "nope". I asked if the bus is supposed to be at this stop by 6:43 am? I got a terse, "Yep". I then asked, "Are you late because of volume?" He said, "Nope".

I stood there for a second, waiting, you know, for an answer, maybe an apology? Nothing.

So I said loudly, for the whole bus to hear, "Okay, well tomorrow, I'll make sure I'm at the stop at 6:50 then." And I sat down.

I'm a paying customer. I think it's fair to expect answer.


Anonymous said...

Nothing will change CJ unless you WRITE AND COMPLAIN! On that note, we had a lovely TTC driver yesterday who actually stopped for a running passenger. I should probably write and give him kudos (it works both ways right?)

C.J. Smith said...

I know! I pay kudos when it's due. But I plan to talk to the driver tomorrow when we arrive at the station.

Warren Downe said...

I agree the driver should have provided better responses than he did, and most do. Is this your regular driver or a report? Is he the only one that has problems staying on schedule? Does the bus make it to Oshawa station 10 (or more) minutes past the posted arrival time? How much time do you have to transfer to the train?

Squiggles said...

A similar situation on my DRT route in the morning. Only the driver is at least 5 mins early. This was found out by almost missing the bus one morning I was running late. On top of that, she drives so fast, she A) almost misses the waiting passengers and B) overshots every stop because of this. I am still flip/flopping if it is enough to report. I worry, because of the sudden stops that someone could get hurt.

As for the reporting, do it. I wrote into customer service this past summer because the 18.18 LSE was constantly late in arriving to Union and therefore leaving. We were lucky to be leaving by 18.30. Within a month, it seems things were fixed and the train is not only leaving on time, it is in the station at least 10 mins before leaving.

C.J. Smith said...

He's a driver on the route. What do you mean by regular? Every 3 months, the drivers change. I don't recognize him but he's consistently late.

I've never had any other driver not be at the stop on time every single day. He's the first.

We are due at Oshawa at 7:13 am and he arrives around that time (7:14 am this morning) and we connect with the 7:28 am train. So applause all around. All I want to know is why he can't get to my stop on time. Generally, the other drivers arrive well before 7:13 allowing passengers time to catch the 7:15. I could care less.

What I'm expecting is if he needs more time to service Bomanville and Courtice area, and I can stay home for 10 extra minutes, then the schedule should be adjusted.

Bicky said...

Yeah, and the one day you figure he'll be late, so you'll be late ... he would have shown up on time or even early.

C.J. Smith said...

I know buses are told to hold for late trains. But no, trains don't wait for buses.

Anonymous said...

It could be many reasons why he's late. He could have had technical difficulties with the bus prior to leaving the garage or on route.
He could have picked up many people at the start of the route only going a few stops each.
He could have had a person in a wheelchair again going only to the next zone.
He could have had a big bulky stroller going to again only a few stops.
All these small stops and starts with people who need alittle extra time getting on and off the bus holds up service. Remember your getting on the bus half way through the route, you are not seeing the full picture.

I can understand your frustration, but really you stopping to ask the driver while he's in service is again only holding up the service more. It may not seem like much but when people stop to ask multiple questions it holds up service. By your own words the bus ended up only one minute late to the station. Hardly worth getting upset about.

C.J. Smith said...

I'm not upset about the time we arrive at the station. I am wondering why the schedule has not been adjusted for my stop to accommodate for the daily lateness. I arrive 6 minutes before the bus is due. Add the 10 minutes he's consistently late and that's 16 minutes I'm standing there. I an aware I'm not getting the whole picture and the driver had ample time once we arrived at the station to explain his tardiness. Most GO bus drivers have no issue with addressing lateness. I'm not asking for a chat over coffee here. Drivers are also ambassadors. It would not have taken more than a few seconds to say technical difficulties and done.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for that driver. It could have been in your delivery. Then you made a comment soon after, again getting their guard up. I know myself, I don't say much or anything because I know, I don't want a customer complaint. If you had asked me at the station when we got there, I would have answered you off the bus.

If you really look at schedules they say on them estimated times. Yes we all try to stay on schedule but planning makes up these times, which I personally think are done at 3am on a stat holiday, they are in most cases unrealistic keeping too. Traffic, weather, passenger volume, people needing more time to board don't seem to factor in.

Anonymous said...

Again if the driver is starting his trip on time and making it to the station under 15 minutes of his or her scheduled arrival, planning will do nothing to adjust the times. It is not considered to be late enough.

C.J. Smith said...

I have to say, thank you to the bus drivers who stepped in and helped me better manage my expectations.
Part of my frustration stems from GO's silence about service. It's like there's a big veil of secrecy about why things happen the way they do.
As for my reaction, I get like that sometimes, especially if I feel brushed aside. I'm used to drivers on my route who are more cordial and friendly. I realize not all drivers can manage that.
Tomorrow I don't plan on being on time as there no point in standing in wet, cold weather when another bus is due a mere 10 minutes after. With an injured knee, standing is excruciating so I'll avoid it.
I miss my regular drivers. Don't get mad at me for feeling let down.

Anonymous said...

I definitely empathize with you. We as drivers feel the same way regarding the big veil of secrecy. Management has trained employees to be silent. Either be stump or risk being labeled as a trouble maker. Remember governments don't want smart employees. They just want employees smart enough to push the buttons, and passive enough to accept it.

Anonymous said...

Govt's want incredibly smart , conscientious employees! More experienced employees, typically peers, beat that out of them fairly quickly. As it was likely beaten out of them.

Anonymous said...

In my experience working in the public sector. Only 2 kinds of people advance over their peers. 1. Friends and family.
2. Employees who know how to schmooze the boss, while others do the work.
For every 1 good boss that is hired, 5 more of these types are hired.
Having worked in the public sector for many years, I have watched many good men get passed over for positions because of these 2 main reasons. I think your definition of smart conscientious more experienced employees is flawed.

Anonymous said...

You could also have your breakfast AT HOME if you wake up 10 mins earlier too. How soon we forget common sense.

C.J. Smith said...

^ Asshole comment. Total 100% asshole comment because you missed the point.

Getting up at 5:15 am is early enough. I don't lecture people about their work/life balance and I sure as fuck don't ride GO Transit for free. Do I?

If it was free I would have ZERO expectations about the service.

Usually trollish comments don't bother me but this one I had to take on.

If eating food at 5 am is how you run your life, then brav-fuck-oh to you.

I like to get as much out of my evening with my FAMILY as much as I can, seeing as I get home at 7 and go to bed at 9:30.

Yeah, so you can take your breakfast at home comment and shove it.

Dan-1 said...

Better late than early - I once had a GO bus driver that would constantly run 10 minutes early. I remember arriving at the mall terminal 10 minutes early one day and walking to the GO bus stop, seeing his bus coming and figuring he's going to stop in the terminal and lay over until the scheduled departure. Nope, blows right through the terminal before I even get there - 10 minutes early.

I should have complained, but then I started taking a different bus at a different time. Such is life.

Anonymous said...

Mainly the buses are five to fifteen minutes late arriving at the Aurora carpool lot. Especially for the ones that taken on passengers arriving from Barrie.

There have been times however where I've shown up at the Aurora car pool lot minutes early, only to see the bus disappearing onto the 404.

No win. You have to be early just to be sure of catching the bus, and end up waiting fifteen minutes half of the time.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is incredibly illuminating. All transit riders everywhere need to read through this to feel sane. Bravo.