Friday, October 5, 2018

We Can't Please 'Em All the Time

"Our policy is that when someone approaches your bus at an intersection, you're supposed to board them," the voice told me. Not my voice, but one of authority. In order not to publicly bash my union fellows, I won't say who or what department. They were simply stating local policy.

In my mind, I was thinking "Bullshit I'm gonna let that dumbass on my bus." Checking myself, I told the other voice in a controlled one of my own, "I'm aware of policy. In this instance, I determined it wasn't safe."

While the blubbering heads of transit spout more "gotta please everyone all the time" bullshit every day, operators are finding it harder to balance common sense with the insanity we face on the road. Especially when we're on the transit mall, certain operator rules of the road must be followed just to keep the flow rolling. When I'm in the first position, I'm watching the cross-street pedestrian timer. Once it hits three seconds, I close my doors. This means I'm no longer accepting passengers, no matter how frantic they appear. During rush hour, there could be up to five buses behind me waiting to roll up, and I won't delay them. If you're not on my bus when the doors close, you're too late Sorry, but that's the culture management has sown, and they need to back us on it or roll the wheels back a few decades. This "let them on" mentality is in direct conflict with its on-time bullshit. If that's what they want, okay then. Just cancel the customer servicey crap because it just doesn't jive with being on time. It certainly doesn't encourage safe driving practices, but evidently that no longer matters because the "Safety First" signs disappeared from our inner sanctum last year. You can have schedule, but not also safety and customer service all packaged together. It just doesn't work.

Not too long ago, Portland's transit was ranked Numero Uno by the National Transit Safety Board, but now languishes around 20th. We're no longer the passenger-friendly system, but don't blame the operator. We're controlled by a group of neo-corporate bumblers who have never driven a transit vehicle in service. They have no idea what damage their edicts have done. They took driver training and think they know it all, but we have the inside track. If you want a good system, fire management and hire from within. We'll right the wrongs and the ship will sail to the front once again.

Until then, be at the stop on time, or you're simply early for the next bus. We have a schedule to keep, and it's an unforgiving one. Whine to the CS Line all you want, but we can't please you and management at the same time. Get used to it, chums.


  1. I heard the dispach call for that total bullshit. Hell I was even standing there watching buses and I saw your bus in a sticky predicament there and the fact that dispach says you should've boarded that guy makes me angry.

    1. AWESOME! Thanks for the comment! It was truly a predicament, and I appreciate your having my back here. I'm of the firm belief that if you're stupid enough to demand I let you on in the middle of the street, then you're too f*****g stupid to ride my bus! As for Dispatch, I could tell by the tone of his voice that he sympathized with me and was forced to quote protocol. I'll bet if he was driving, he would have done the same thing.