Thursday, May 14, 2015

Has it come down to us throwing ourselves in front of a bus? Bus driver ignored by bus driver (I know, read it again)

If you see me standing near the on by!
as told to Ali Gator

Dear Passengers:

I am writing this to all the passengers like those in the Twitter posts that follow, who at one time or another have "missed the bus".

I just wanted to say that I really feel your pain!

On April 28, I took my bike to Burlington from Niagara Falls for the first time.  I had errands to run and needed some bicycle supplies.  It was a great trip in, and a fine spring day.  I was hoping to catch the return 13:54 from Burlington back to The Falls.

I was quite fatigued and thought that if I waved the bus down from the Plains Rd. local transit stop I would be able to board the bus from there, you know, using the old "Flag the Driver" technique, so common not too long ago.

I stood in the curb lane and waved at the bus with both hands, quite obviously attempting to flag the driver.  Although it is not a GO Transit stop, I was clearly able to get the attention of the driver as she descended the hill, even as early as part way down.  Also clear was my indication that I was an intending passenger.  Standing near the Burlington Transit bus stop, there was sufficient access (platform room for the bus) ahead of the stop available to the driver.  I was given the outstretched hand gesture part way down the hill, so common with drivers, meaning “What do you want me to do?” – like that needs an answer!

The bus didn't stop.  It proceeded to enter the left-turn lane at the intersection of Brant Street and Plains Road.

There was no attempt to accommodate an intending passenger.

This is not, as mentioned, a "Designated Stop", but that is not to say other drivers haven't made the stop for pick up, specifically if a passenger is making eye contact with the intention of catching the bus.

I thought that GO Transit stressed the requirement to accommodate passengers "wherever and whenever" it is safe to do so, and not necessarily at a designated stop.

On numerous occasions buses have returned to the origin of a trip or waited for passengers who may be running to catch the bus, and drivers have waited patiently.  IMO, there were no mitigating safety issues to prevent such action on that day – no heavy volume of traffic, no inclement weather.

The incident left me feeling a little exasperated.

Ample room to pull over ahead or behind the stop was clear.

I don't get it!

Not everything in a driver’s travel day is "cut and dried".  Exceptions can be made at "Undesignated Stops", wherever and whenever it is safe to do so.  At least that is what I remember from my training days with GO Transit, not so very long ago.

There are many reasons why people can't make it to a stop, e.g. perhaps they were dropped off at the wrong place, or they are seniors and could be disoriented, or there were family issues.

Yes, I am a driver for that same Route 12 and have many, many times gone out of my way to pick up a passenger who caught my attention, or stopped many hundred meters from a stop for a passenger who was scrambling to catch the bus.  How was this occasion so different?

Recently, I stopped at Tim Horton's and bought a coffee for a weary WMA passenger who had to wait at the chilly Burlington station because the prior bus had a wheelchair lift equipment problem. For that seemingly simple act, I received a commendation.

A little effort in the direction of Customer Service is not too much to ask – it’s within every driver's ability, whenever and wherever it is safe to do so!

A Caring Driver


91 guy - also done 96 and 90 (NOW RETIRED) said...

Well this was a surprise but I'm not guilty of this but that stop at Rudell, hard to miss passengers there.

This was well written and long overdue. We really do care. Well I know I really cared. I don't miss the job but I miss the people.

Hope you made it home okay eventually.

Squiggles said...

I am of two minds, but mostly: you were not at a designated GO stop. Therefore the driver was not obligated to stop for you!

Having been on buses that stopped so running people can catch it, it is nice, but irritating for those that managed to get to a stop and wait. In fact, there have been times when this behaviour has put the bus behind schedule and made people miss connections.

C.J. Smith said...

I'm with Squiggles. However, I had a situation in Feb where after 15 mins there was no GO bus so I decided to walk further west on Highway 2 to the DRT bus stop, as the stop I was at was only GO bus.

Where I live is rural so it's a long stretch.

When I got to the DRT stop, what do I see approaching? The fucking GO bus.

Did the driver stop? NOPE. This despite me being a familiar face and waving my arms like a lunatic. He just shook his head at me as if to say, "Nope, can't stop there..."

I just let it go as I was the one who decided to leave the original stop as I tried to come up with another way to get to the station. I had no idea when the next DRT bus would be but I figured it had to be soon and 20 minutes later along comes the DRT bus followed by the next fucking GO bus scheduled for the stop I was it. I didn't leave the DRT stop to walk back because I figured that's when the DRT bus would arrive - when I'm between stops.

Needless to say I was INSANELY pissed off that morning. It took 3 DRT buses to get to Oshawa GO and by the time I got to work, it has been 4 hours since I left my house (6:30 to 10:30). I'm usually at my office by 8:15 am.

Anonymous said...

I've said it a million times: Buses are for losers. Sorry folks, but anytime you have to stand at the side of a busy the road in some God forsaken suburb waiting for a ride that may or may not arrive, you have to ask yourself: Where did I go wrong?

C.J. Smith said...

Do you pay taxes?

Actually, of course you do. So guess what, you're a loser along with the rest of us because I don't think the way you do. I think, "Is that what I'm paying taxes for? I deserve better."

If you drive a car, you're still paying for me to take a bus. Just like my taxes pay for the roads, signals and other maintenance you need to drive safely to where ever you are going...

So whether you like or not, we're all losers. No matter where we live. We all pay for transit and transportation.

Anonymous said...

What's taxes got to do with it? I pay taxes. I don't own a car. I moved downtown because I once waited an hour for a bus that didn't come and realized, 'Wow, I'm a loser!'.

I don't mean it to be insulting, just to say that the bus is a truly awful way to travel and if people had a choice they wouldn't opt for it.

C.J. Smith said...

I deeply apologize. I get a lot of trolling comments and it remains difficult for me to determine whose trying to make a valid point and who is just looking to be a jerk.

When buses run when they should, when agencies actually have their act together, when operators actually do their job, public transit is an amazing thing.

Squiggles said...

I opt to take the bus, and leave the car in the driveway. For the most part, it was cheaper and quicker than to drive. Now that DRT raised the co-fare, it is a tossup. I am still taking it because A) habits are hard to break and B) it stops me from the unnecessary errands. Though, I do start rethinking when I am standing at a stop and it is pissing down rain.

Anonymous said...

I've spent my life riding the bus and it's not a choice I would make if I didn't have to. Streetcars run every few minutes and are fun to ride. The subway is noisy and grimy but it's quick. Walking can be great if the street is wide and interesting and safe. Same for cycling. Bus travel is infrequent, unreliable and uncomfortable. Not to say it's not a viable option for outlying areas, but it the years since I started using it, it has failed to improve much. I believe a main reason for this is that most people who ride the bus are less inclined or able to influence the powers that be. 'Transit is for the poor' is the mantra in many mid-sized cities. If that's true then the bus is for the destitute.

Anonymous said...

It's not a stop
A city bus was behind the Go bus heading to pick up their passengers.
It would take too much time to load the bike as well
There is a city stop on Maple
The Go bus would then have to cross three lanes to the turn in a very short distance. It isn't safe!
Being that you are a driver you should know better than to put your fellow driver in that position. Passengers could stop everywhere and anywhere causing unsafe situations. It isnt fare for the passengers that do get to the bus on time.
I was that driver and I would do it again!

Anonymous said...

As a fellow Driver you are stepping over the line in a big way.
The driver in question treated you no different than anyone else.
It was an unsafe location from what i know of the location.
If the driver had stopped, that driver would then have to make 2 unsafe lane changes as the Left turn is less than 100 meters from the stop that you are referring too and this could easily lead to charges for "Unsafe lane change" (2 - 3 demerit points?) which reflects heavily on their own personal insurance.
Drivers constantly go out of there way daily to help out passengers, but what She or myself deem unsafe, others take the risk without thinking of the consequences.

Serge Forward

C.J. Smith said...

I guess it's a different perspective when you're standing on the side of the road instead of at a bus stop. I appreciate the additional input but I found her story interesting. It's interesting because it gives us bus passengers insight on what you all deal with and why you all make the decisions that you do.

No customer wants any driver to do anything illegal.

Anonymous said...

We take pride in our jobs and it is our #1 priority to get everyone home safe. Sometimes that doesn't come across as "nice" but we do care☺

C.J. Smith said...

Absolutele nothing trumps safety.

Anonymous said...

As a bus driver for TTC, we accommodate last minute passengers when
a) It is safe to do so.
b) Doesn't inconvenience other passengers and the schedule.

If both of these 2 conditions are not met then we don't stop. Sure we can accommodate the last passenger but if we get a red light, then we're 2 minutes late multiply that by dozens of intersections and we get short turned later.

retired GO said...

Your attitude stinks. You drive for GO? Not the GO I drove for. Do you threaten passengers too? I quote, "I was that driver and I'd do it again"? This is how you honor the code of conduct and how you respect your colleagues? CJ was too gracious with you. You should go sweep floors for a living. It's a nice isolated way to make a living a I hear.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight...a person/off duty driver who works on route 12 was late for the scheduled departure to which they obviously know the departure times to or at least they shoukd know.... misses the bus then accuses their driver of not being considerate, really who"s the inconsiderate one! I've been riding this route for about a year and i believe that it would not be safe to go from left lane to the right and back to the left for left turn in a matter 100ft just not safe, even if it was to pick up an employee!!

C.J. Smith said...

Is it 100 feet or 100 metres?

Anonymous said...

If its unsafe i wouldnt stop either, and i would say it again, if its not safe im not going to do it... Btw i am not the driver but i am a transit driver, in my experience many of the old guys like yourself who retired were far less caring actually quite arrogant and talk about attitudes! They were the senior drivers who knew everything (not).

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm not great with distances, from the stop in question to the traffic lights/intersection approximately 3 bus lengths whatever that is. Would you consider that distance to be safe? Either way if the left turning signal turned red theres a good chance the bus would end up on an angle blocking traffic in the two right lanes.

Mary said...

I'm a little curious why this person didn't ride their bike to the next stop. They said they were quite fatigued but when you know you only have a little further to go it's surprising how we can pull together one last boost of energy to get there.
(drivers thoughts: "you have a bike")

C.J. Smith said...

Re safe to turn etc...
I've seen bus drivers do some amazing and safe maneuvers when they are suddenly cut off, a car breaks down right in front of them or for whatever reason they can't continue in the lane they are in and have to move.

Isn't it called a signal?

Anonymous said...

I too work for GO and I am extremely embarrassed to be associated with someone who would write in about a fellow co worker like that.
The driver in question did nothing wrong, you were not the one driving the bus so you have no say in whether they deemed it safe to pull over or not.
shame on you.

Anonymous said...

This has been happening for years.
I have had bus drivers wave to me when I have been stood waiting for their bus.

Anonymous said...

This thread is more entertaining then the original story.

C.J. Smith said...

Thanks! I aim to please.