2002-07-27 / Letters

Bus Driver Answers Complaints

Bus Driver Answers Complaints

Dear Editor;

This is a letter sent from "your friendly neighborhood bus driver."

In regard to the negative press and complaints Green Line bus drivers have been getting over the years and most recentlyâ026

(The buses are never on time)

Operators are subject to suspension for failing to follow the rules. This is what it says on my work card. Here are some of the rules I must follow: Do Not depart or arrive at a time point earlier than the time on work card. Do Not pick up a passenger at a non-bus stop. Do not make any decisions pertaining to the schedule without authorization from a dispatcher/inspector/starter. Green Line policy states that drivers are to stop at a bus-stop even if there is no more room in the bus and to allow the passengers to decide for themselves if the bus is too crowded or not. Do passengers know this? In other words, don't think for yourselves even if it benefits the passengers or the bus schedule. Ridership has increased dramatically since the Metrocard was introduced. As well as the number of students and regular passengers. Still, the Department of Transportation has put up more bus stops, and more street lights, without increasing the number of minutes it takes to do each trip. Therefore causing delays, accidents, and most of all complaints. All due to the fact that drivers are rushing to get their destinations. Those drivers who drive slowly and safely get cursed, assaulted, criticized, etc. The fact is, passengers are just ignorant to the facts. They want a bus every 5 minutes, which would be impossible. There are definitely problems for passengers, as well as drivers. The passengers take out their frustrations on the wrong people (drivers). We do the best we can with what we have to work with, which is not much. We have no say, no input, nothing. Do passengers know this? Department of Transportation makes the schedule and time points on all private lines. All private companies must get approval from the City of New York to make any changes.

(Dirty Buses)

Every day when I return my bus to the garage it goes through the car wash, gets swept, gassed up and put away for the next day. Every morning I get a clean bus and every night it comes back dirty. There are signs in every bus that says:â026No eating, No Drinking, No Smoking, No Radio. These rules are not enforced because it will lead to confrontation. The buses cannot be cleaned midday. The passengers are to blame for dirty buses and need to take responsibility for their actions. Every driver has a story about trying to enforce a rule and is met with hostility. I have more than a couple.

(Mean and Spiteful Drivers)

I would have to agree with passengers who think some drivers are mean and spiteful, but for one person who thinks I'm mean there are 50 who think I'm a nice guy and a good driver. It is human nature to defend yourself physically as well as verbally, and in order to get respect you have to give it. I have been cursed one hundred times. I have been slapped in the face. I have been spit at. And I have been assaulted while operating the bus, causing my bus to crash. All for reasons that did not warrant such actions. And yet, I should not defend myself? Some people feel that public servants should have more patience than others. I do agree, but drivers all over the country will draw the line eventually. I think we (drivers) have reason to be on the defensive at times. It is no secret that working with the public 5-7 days per week, 8-10 hours per day, can be stressful at times. Drivers don't have to do anything more than what their work card says, but it seems as if passengers want special treatment sometimes. Shortchanged, free ride, special bus stops, etc.

In conclusion, I am a professional bus operator. Not everyone can do this job for one month (let alone twenty years). I want to be known as a professional, a father, a husband, I demand to be treated a certain way. And I will treat you the way you treat me. I'm sure I speak for a lot of bus drivers all over. We, bus operators, all over NYC want passengers to respect the rules that we, drivers, have to follow and not get angry with us when a bus is missing or if a bus is late or too crowded. This is not an exact science and we are only human, not machines,

YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD BUS DRIVER


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