Dear Passengers,My, how you have regressed since the cellphone explosion not quite a decade ago. Back then, you knew how to ride transit. You actually treated us with respect. Now, it seems most collective intelligence has been sucked out of your grey matter and into a tiny chip which stores all you hold dear.
Behold... your willful ignorance is something not to be treasured. Fight it! Come back into the light. Think. It's what separates us from the rest of the animals. Or, at least it once did. I'm beginning to believe we're doomed. Stephen King's book "Cell" is about to come true. Based on what I see from the seat of a bus, which is where many consider a lack of any intelligence whatsoever to reside, many of you are a lost cause. Even so, I'll step out on this trembling literary limb to boost you up from that murky intellectual-free fog and give you some real-life pointers.
Now Deke doesn't have to stop his bus (for perhaps the 889th time that day, truly), open the door and ask if you need a ride, only to be the recipient of a dismissive shake of the head and a one-eyed askew glance. I actually did not shoot your dog. Why look at me that way? You have cut 30-45 seconds off my time due to your casual indifference. The 30+ people on my bus are anxious to get to their connections, and they were at their stops on time. They don't deserve your selfishness and I desperately need to make my bladder gladder, so fuck you very much. I hope the bus you are waiting for broke down and isn't being filled for another 10 hours. Do not complain to me that you've been waiting six years for a different line and then demand I tell you when it's coming. You will not appreciate my answer.
SheltersOur transit agency seems to have hired the same fools who designed most shelters around the world, which do little or nothing to protect you from the elements. They are also very hard to see into or through. Don't sit there (yeah once again), looking down at your... whatever. Especially if you have a hair color other than glow-in-the-dark neon.
You are virtually invisible to us for any number of reasons: ads the agency makes piles of money on but fails to use the revenue to intelligently-improve such facilities; trash cans placed directly to the side which obscure the view of anything within; utility poles; illegally-parked delivery vehicles; arrays of discarded shopping carts stolen from the nearest store; or a sign advertising some nearby business. If I don't see you in a reasonable amount of time to stop my 20-ton beast, you standing up as I pass by with your hands outstretched (phone still clutched in one of them) will not guilt me into stopping suddenly. If I do, I'm liable for any number of resulting catastrophes within or around my vehicle. Stopping an air brake-equipped bus takes a lot of pressure and finesse to accomplish safely and smoothly. Your inattentiveness does not constitute an emergency on my part. Better luck next time! Simply pay attention. Once you're on my bus, you can resume looking at cartoon porn on your mental crutch.
ExitingWe must fully stop the bus before the doors can be activated for opening. We throw the switch, the rest is up to you. Even though instructions for opening the rear door are plainly visible on the freakin' doors themselves, you routinely ignore the green light above the door and stand there. Waiting for what? Me to get out of my seat, wipe your nose running after your cry of "BACK DOOR" falls on my suddenly-deaf ears, and open the damn thing for you? What, should I hold your widdle hand and see you safely across the street too? My job is done when I unlock the door. C'mon folks, bring back common sense. Hell, if you're not sure how it's done, why not watch what others do? Duh. It's far from neuroscience.
FareEven though transit management is vain in its attempt to be everything to everybody (except its frontline employees), paying your fare is still required to ride. Otherwise, you're subject to "fine or arrest."
This protective parenting act management plays with the public is ridiculous. "Pay your fare, but if not the big bad fare inspector might get you!" The cons are wise to this ruse, and they give us every excuse that's been used millions of times by their co-conspirators. Many are bold and tell us they're riding at their "own risk." Management has folded to special interests who charge them with picking on various ethnic groups just by asking everyone to show a valid fare when asked. In addition, it has drastically reduced the number of fare inspectors, placing most of it on the already-busy road supervisors.
Some advocate a free transit system here. I do not. It takes massive amounts of money to provide the millions of safe rides we do every year. Why should governments foot the entire bill? If it becomes free, you get what you pay for. A local economy depends on transit to move its employees. Those employees have to get to work somehow. Transit costs less than paying for a car, parking, insurance, etc. If you simply give a service away, its value is lost. We're already disrespected (district-wide) every minute we're in service. If the rides were free, we'd become (if we haven't already) the Homeless Hotel, with little room for the working public, Retired Rita, or Stanley Student.
EpilogueWhen did the public become unable to function intelligently? While most of it still has a brain, a growing segment seems to have lost a great deal of common sense. Transit management finds it necessary to micro-manage its operators but is too preoccupied with new capital projects to fix its aging infrastructure, or to educate the public. It also fails to stand behind the operators who make management possible. It forgets who does the real work of transit, those of us who are left to our own devices, disciplined for protecting ourselves, counseled for being late while failing to educate its customer base on how to use (and respect) the services we provide. It's a frustrating circle of misinformation, placing us directly in the middle. We're pummeled from all sides, and our hands are zip-tied behind our backs so self-defense is not possible.
Until a spoiled riding public and an inept media decide to support us, we're sitting ducks. Do I sound angry? Yes, I am. Quite frustrated too. We deserve better. Try harder, folks. We're waiting. Meanwhile, we'll keep doing our jobs.