There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wanted: Transit Operator Awards -- and cup holders -- and bag holders!!

Here's a guest post from the wife

I meant to write the other day, about the driver of the 73 bus that picked me up on the way to Mather Mills Station one late afternoon last week. It was about 5:45 pm, the next stop on Data Drive was a timed stop, and we waited a couple minutes.

It worked perfectly for the driver, who got up and calmly strode to the back of the bus. There was a woman who had been yapping loudly about something with her boyfriend and the f-words were flying. I think there were a couple other people on the bus.

The driver was a tall, older black gentleman with a touch of gray and a ton of dignity; lean and straight as an arrow, to borrow a cliche. Quietly, slowly, he asked the woman where her stop was. Startled yapping, impudent, belligerent yapping. The rest of us peered intently at whatever was at hand. The driver - soft-spoken, but as firm as, well, a minister - asked her again where she was getting off. He did not need to say any more. The woman's tone changed. She well knew that the driver could simply put her off the bus, and she backed down, half-apologetically. We continued on our way in quiet.

I could hear the couple mumble and the boyfriend ask if she wanted him to "take care of him." But the woman said no because she needed the ride; she needed to be able to ride the bus.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I tried to give the driver my most sincerely grateful "Thank You" as I left the bus at Mather.

Bless this driver and nominate him for Driver of the Month or Sustained Career Excellence, or something! He was not just having a good day. This gentleman has control of his route and we riders feel much safer that way.

I am impressed with drivers everyday and I see a lot of regulars who have a great relationship with the bus drivers. Even though society is going through some very hard times, it's all the more reason to recognize and reward excellence in service and performance.

Please actively promote driver recognition. As with other government workers, transit employees serve the public and the public needs to appreciate the workers and services a little more.

Now, I admit it's a little harder to get up close and friendly with the train operators. But I notice that the people who use the ramp tend to be regulars and can get to know the drivers if they choose.

After that bus ride, I got on the Sac Valley Station Train and at the Butterfield stop, a woman's voice, the train operator's, boomed over the PA: "The young man who got off of car 2 and got on car 3 - put your shirt on."

Thank you, again, RT, for these conscientious employees who keep transit comfortable and safe, as much as they can.

Monday morning, the 82 was stopped in the left turn lane at the intersection of Watt and Whitney. I looked up from my book hearing the driver talking to someone through the open door. She was talking to the driver of the car in the next lane. I don't know how he got her attention, but he said he was on his way to the stop and she was early. She said, "No, I'm on time, but don't worry, I'll wait for you." He said he was told 7:33 and she said cheerfully, "Yes, it's 7:32 and I should be there right at 7:33, but don't worry, I'll wait for you."

We waited as the man drove through the parking lot of the strip mall, parked under a bit of shade, and hobbled onto the bus with a cane.

Our drivers will stop and wait if they see you waving or running. I am quite sure they do not do that in SF or NY.

Next thing - cup holders AND bag holders on the bus! Under every window, a cup holder with a hook on the bottom for one's purse, shopping bag, etc. Yes!

Next - have a drawing once a month for a free monthly pass! Everyone who buys a monthly enters their pass number on the RT site with name, address, etc., and once a month someone gets a free pass. Market this with the cup holder for the commuters. How about a year's pass for $950?

Next - I was on a bus where a 30-something man rested his foot on the seat across the isle. OK, call me prissy, but I do not like people resting their shoes and sandles on the upholstery. It's bad enough that you have to look carefully at the seats to ascertain whether a spot is new or old. I was disappointed that the driver did not ask the man to remove his foot from the seat. I know my gentleman driver in Rancho would.

1 comment:

owen howlett said...

I'm guilty of putting my feet on the seats in light rail, but it's just so uncomfortable in those seats over a half-hour ride, and the seats are so slick that I eventually slip off them unless I prop myself up with a foot or sit sideways. I expect it would add some cost to get bucket seats instead of bench seats, but I'd pay an extra buck for them.