Bussing Fussing

by admin on June 7, 2011

I had to share my morning adventure with you.

This morning, when the commuter bus that I ride downtown was leaving the park and ride in suburbia, a man came running across the parking lot, waving his arms and the like. The bus was already leaving, though we technically haven’t pulled out into the street yet. There was another bus behind us that leaves in about five minutes (they actually leave every five minutes for nearly two hours), but this man found it necessary to try and grab onto the bus and bang on the door.

A couple of ladies (including myself) gasped and one even screamed.

The bus driver immediately stopped the bus and opened the door. He then told this man that what he did wasn’t safe in a very calm and professional way. However, this man angrily berated the driver back… he said something to the effect of, “When I want you to stop, YOU STOP. I pay your salary.”

The bus driver then simply said, “Alright then” with what I would describe as an icy politeness. Then amazingly the rude alien from planet Booron spent probably close to a full minute fiddling with his messenger bag and wallet to get his bus pass out… which I found very annoying.

lI think it is the responsibility of the company (or maybe it is the city – I’m not sure) to see that their employees, i.e. the bus driver, enforce rules and procedures for the safety, comfort and fairness of all their customers.  However, who knows what their policies are?  I realize that it is possible that the bus driver couldn’t say anything without perhaps risking his job. It is not a matter of the bus driver standing up for himself, but of maintaining the tone of the bus company he represents. He took the correct course of action, and quite honestly the only one available to him.

Still, a part of me felt something should have been said. I know you shouldn’t correct the etiquette of strangers, but this man did something dangerous and then verbally abused the bus driver who was simply doing his job… and finally this Darwin Award finalist wasn’t even ready to board the bus… he could have spent the five minutes before the next bus left walking calmly across the parking lot and removing his bus pass from his wallet.  Bottom line, he was either a nut or a rude alien from the planet Booron (or perhaps both). You don’t confront nuts… that is very unwise. It would be a better use of my time to engage the bus company in discussion of better driver training.

Anyway, I was sitting in the front row and gave the man THE LOOK (which he either never saw or didn’t acknowledge).

Perhaps it would be best if the driver denied the man access to the bus… though like I said he was possibly a nutcase… and I think it would have created an awful confrontation. 0602-11

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

--E June 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm

It’s been twenty years since I drove a transit bus, but we were under very strict orders not to pick people up unless we were properly pulled into a stop, precisely to discourage the unsafe practice of chasing after a bus. The only exception was for late nights or handicapped people, where the safety of the passenger would be more compromised by leaving them. In those cases we were instructed to pull in to the curb so we could pick them up safely.

When passengers called to complain that “the driver drove off without me!”, the person who answered the phone would be conciliatory and polite, and write a report for the supervisor. The supervisor would ask the driver what happened. The driver would explain that s/he was already out of the stop and moving (or sitting at a red light, or whatever) and hadn’t seen the passenger running for the bus. (The story was invariably “I was running for the bus and they pulled out” even if the bus was already a block away before the passenger got out of his car.)

The supervisor would say, “Okay, just look around a little more before you pull out.” Then they would call the passenger and say, “Our drivers are not permitted to pick people up except at a bus stop, but I’ve spoken with the driver and told him to look around better before pulling out.” Nothing went on the driver’s record.

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Kate June 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm

If the bus driver had foul mouthed the guy, I’d bet he’d be in trouble. I work in retail, so private rather than public sector, but still – if I was ever rude to a customer, regardless of how rude they were being to me, and they complained, I would be severely disciplined. I’ve had people yelling obscenities at me on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day sales and because they misunderstand our refund policy – not that our refund policy is strict or difficult, but I once had a gentleman (I use that word very loosely) yell at me for about fifteen minutes non stop because I wouldn’t refund the jeans he had had for two years. I’ve had people use foul language and threaten me, I’ve had children running around the store throwing toys, breaking vases and causing a health and safety hazard to other customers but you ask them to stop and the parents start screaming, but if I had ever turned around to one of these people and just for a moment lost my cool and was anything other then icily polite, I would be in so much trouble. Lots of companies don’t protect their employees – after all, the customer is always right. I bet this poor bus driver knew that he’d get it in the neck if he argued.

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danielle June 9, 2011 at 1:35 am

@ Stepmonster, when I was in first grade I missed my school bus home (I can’t remember why though). My dad had been waiting at the bus stop for me and when I did not get off he started panicking. My teacher saw me crying outside at the bus loading area and brought me into the office where all the secretaries trued to get ahold of someone, but because my dad was losing hi mind he wasn’t near the phone. My principal was going to drive me home when no one could be found but I would not get in the car with him (6-yrs old, my parents very strict about strange men and cars) so my teacher drove me home where we found my dad freaking out and speaking with a police officer.

@OP
recently I had a temp job that required me to ride around on our city busses for a week and count passengers as they got on and off the bus, The amount of things people do on the bus is beyond horrible. The ones who aren’t prepared even though I saw them sitting on the bench when the bus pulled up, the runners, the high guy who stopped right in front of the bus leading to the driver slamming on his breaks so as not to hit the pedestrian but instead knocked everyone on the bus off their seats. I think my favorite though is either the kids sitting in the handicapped area who refuse to move when a wheelchair is about to board, or the 30yr old women who made a huge fuss about nobody getting up so that their kids could sit down. I’m sorry but the way I was raised little kids stand, if they fall over they can recover if an elderly person were to fall that might not be the case.

A lot of awful stuff happens on city buses I have taken public transportation all over the US and in Italy and there is really no great system for it, just be glad all you saw was an idiot running down the street and not one dying there (and unfortunately where I am currently living bus accidents/trains/etc are way to common.

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Cat June 11, 2011 at 10:50 am

This is the sort of fellow that makes me want to “accidently” trip him on his way to his seat.

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Enna June 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

@ at LBC I liked this: “I would have been tempted to remind him that he may technically pay my salary, but I get him to work to earn that money, so we’re pretty even.” As for being repriminded I’m not too sure, most bosses/managers in bus companies it’s fair to assume are aware that some idiots will make a big fuss about the bus not waiting when they need to be better at their own time management.

As for school children who catch the buses in the USA it must be a different system. The school I went to there are school buses but they stop at bus stops and if you miss the bus you missed it- buses didn’t wait. However it wasn’t the end of the world as there was another bus that went by every 20 mins – in the end the bus I got was stopped mainly because the other public bus went in the same direction on a slightly different route and it was secondary school not juinor/infant/nursery school, in the UK most children who go to junior/infant/nursery school live within walking distance or are dropped off by their children.

If a school bus driver in the USA has problems with certain children being late it might be better to talk to the headteacher about it who can then involve the parents if the child is late coming out of the house. The same goes for the child being out of school late – if it was like Stepmonster’s expirence when the teacher was silly and didn’t think evn though she could see the school buses lined up and waiting then talking to the headteacher is the best way: he/she can ask why the child needs to be kept behind and if there is no reason then the teacher needs to be told to allow the child to go on time and the parents told. If its due to the child behaving badly then it’s different, the parents would need to be told that their child is misbehaving and if she/he wants to leave on time then needs to behave better or the parents will have to find altinatve transport.

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Enna June 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

Even if the bus driver had said something (not rude or anything like that) and the man had complained all the diver would have to do would be to ask for the CCTV footage of the camera by the door showing the passanger doing something stupid that could have resulted in serious injury or death. Then the dirver’s boss tells the silly man how dangerous his behaviour was and he’s lucky he’s in a position to continue working.

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MOL (meow out loud) June 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Here where I live the bus company always takes the drivers side. A bus driver cussed me and my friend out, caused people to leave the bus, we called and reported him but the driver said he didn’t do any such thing and that was that. If the company had looked at the supposed video they take of the buses they would’ve seen his temper tantrum.

I don’t take the bus anymore because they drive at their own pace, are rude and too much crap happens on them.

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