2009-08-14 / Letters

How To Handle Rude Bus Drivers

Rude Bus Drivers Dear Editor,

Reading the letter from the man who had trouble with the nasty bus drivers reminded me of a similar incident with a much different ending. I had just retired from the City of New York after working for 27 years. My office was in Jamaica, but we were sent to a different area every day. I was walking down a street when an elderly woman came up to me. I was in uniform and she asked me if I could give summonses to the buses for idling their engines. There was a bus stop with two buses, the rest were behind them in front of this woman's house. She told me she had a respiratory problem. She said the fumes were killing her. She had asked the drivers to turn off their engines but they ignored her, so she asked me as well.

She said she complained to the police, community board, etc., all with no luck. She told me, "You're my last hope." I appealed to the bus driver who told me the buses were so old that if they turned them off they might not be able to restart them.

The next time I was sent to that area, a month later, I noticed the buses were parked two blocks away in front of a park. I saw the woman sitting in her front yard. I asked her about the buses. "I fixed them," she said, waving her fist in their direction.

She told me when they parked in front of her house, she opened the door and smeared dog poop on the drivers' seats and steering wheel, after they had left the buses. When the drivers started staying in the buses, she changed tactics. She got hold of a catalog that sold stink bombs and other foul smelling liquids. She would walk a few blocks back, board the bus from there, and then throw the stink bomb as she got off. Other times she used urine or ammonia. Her neighbors also helped her. She called the bus company, disguised her voice, and told them it would continue as long as the buses idled in front of her house. After about two weeks, the drivers gave up and started parking two blocks away.

Now, I'm not suggesting the people of Newport Avenue follow the example of this elderly woman, but it's something to consider.

JAMES MURRAY

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I am afraid what Mr. Murray is asking people to consider might land them in jail. Entering a bus marked "not in service" is trespassing, with intent to deface, criminal trespassing. If the drivers were not to notice smeered feces they could also charge assault. The bus company would be in their rights to charge cleaning fees. Furthermore the bus company if they traced her call could charge her with threatening the drivers themselves. If one were to fall on feces she placed there or have a heart attack from disgust and anger she could be charged with manslaughter.
Besides not solving the problem this behavior is a dangerous example to set for youth and certainly not in keeping with the lovely sermon I experienced last Sunday at St.Rose.
What would I consider?
Contact the union and ask that they ensure drivers forced to sit in the heat in a metal box get ice water and a battery operated fan and equal assistance in the winter. And maybe ask them with those things in hand.
I noticed in San Francico this summer that all of the buses were Hybrids. The are completely quiet unless going 25 miles an hour or more even when on.
Perhaps demanding with equal resolve these buses be replaced with ones that would solve this problem for everyone would be more likely to keep citizens on route to a final destination worth waiting for.


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