Posts Tagged ‘service standards’

Dr. OC Transpo-Love. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bus

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

As always, I say – well put XUP. Another great commentary on that little, twisted organization that we in Bytown like to call: OC Transpo.

And as I said in an earlier post,  this is one almost-former OC Transpo user who has had quite enough and has his name on a few waiting lists for a parking space close to where I work. After 12 years of faithful ridership, I am sick of it all.

One thing that XUP didn’t mention is the arrogant attitude that many (not all) drivers have toward students and anyone who isn’t white.

Students are regarded almost as a necessary evil and are often berated by the driver for holding their pass upside down or something. Last week, a driver called my daughter a “stupid idiot” for trying to use a transfer that was ONE minute past its time stamp! Gimme a break. And the bus was 10 minutes late!

And I’m not saying that all of the drivers are racists but I cannot count how many times I have seen a non-white person be denied entry to a bus for no apparent reason. Some blokes will stand outside the door, arms extended in a pleading fashion, and the driver just ignores him and drives away.

But if that person is a hot white chicky-poo… well, then there isn’t a problem.

Come aboard miss, glad to see you!

But – enough of all this negativity.  In the spirit of all things that we LOVE (I’m trying to be positive cuz I’m a positive kind guy, eh?) about OC Transpo, I humbly submit the following.

Things to love while on that packed aluminum coffin racing 100 km/h down the Transitway

  • I love the way that the drivers will almost intentionally jerk the bus ahead before the passengers have a chance to anchor themselves.  I especially love the way that seniors’ heads are smacked right into the upright posts – makes a cool “boing” sound.
  • I love the way that folks with strollers / wheelchairs or crutches are treated – like the dawgs they are. Shame on them for not being able-bodied. Shame!
  • I love how some buses just do not show up on Fridays… I’m just guessing that the driver has called in “sick” that day and the office  cannot be bothered to replace him. What’s the big deal? It’s not like the riders have anywhere important to go!
  • I love the way that stay behind the yellow line is unevenly interpreted. If the rider is a non-white male, behind the yellow line means a good 6 feet. If the rider is anyone else but a non-white male, they can crowd the front much as they want… especially if they are a hot and white chick wearing short shorts.
  • I love those buses that appear to have not been cleaned since Chretien was PM… though I suppose that is also a reflection of the general slobbishness of many riders… so,
  • I love the general slobbishness of many riders – it seems as though I have been mistaking the floor of the bus as a floor all of these years – while in reality it is the bus’s own little landfill. My bad.
  • I love interior climate control. It is for the driver’s comfort. Not the passenger’s. It is the operator’s union-given right to wear his or her shorts and ATU t-shirt and jack up the heat to “unbearable” in the middle of January if  they so wish! The riders should be thankful for the free sauna!
  • I love the Special Constables. Or are they the Gestapo – 2009 version? Hard to tell the difference. But you have to love all the cool stuff on their utility belts.
  • I love windows that do not stay closed.
  • I love windows that don’t open.
  • I love how the bus schedules are pretty much just a “guide”. Plus or minus 15 minutes is quite acceptable. What’s the hurry?
  • I love how the bus stops are plowed right when you need them in the morning… provided you start work sometime after 11 am.
  • I love those doors that close on you as you are exiting the bus. I really love that sense of panic when you realise the the bus will likely take off from the stop with you trapped half in and half out of the bus. Gives me a rush to think that I can be beheaded by a passing car.
  • And it would of course be my fault.
  • I love the operators who greet your sunny “good afternoon” with a grunt. Kinda like a “unghn”… hard to pronounce. But it’s attractive.
  • I love the operators who provide monosyllabic answers to sincere questions from a rider. As in “If I want to get to Elmvale, am I better to take the 86 or to take the 148 – or should I take the 112 from Billings?” Response: “unghn”. Clear enough to me! Why don’t you learn how to speak Canadian, eh?
  • I love how it seems that, when I’m in a hurry to get to work, 27 express buses in a row from the ‘burbs go by as I’m waiting downtown to transfer before one arrives that is going as far as Tunney’s Pasture. I really, really do love that!
  • And then I love how it’s completely packed.
  • With high school kids juiced up on Red Bull.
  • And my MP3 player is outta juice.
  • And the driver decided that it’s a good time for a layover.
  • I would really like to drop a very, very special note to the fine fellow who wouldn’t let the guy with the busted bike get on the 148 at Alta Vista a few weeks back. The front of the bus was completely empty and the guy – with a pass – said “please, just for a few blocks”… and all he got was a “get of my bus” response from the driver… OC Transpo operators do not believe in cutting anyone a break. Not that they deserve one anyhow.

Sigh.

The fact remains that many transit riders have no other option but to avail themselves of this crappy system. And that is truly sad. Maybe the folks of this fair borough will rise out of their red and white shackles and cry for good service, civil drivers and on-time buses!

But I doubt it.

Finally, if you have ever gleaned anything from my posts on this blogs, you will know that I’m a freakin’ LEFTY.  But even I am saying that maybe, just maybe, we should think about contracting this out to the private sector. If I ever run again for municipal office, that will be one of the planks in my platform. I swear!

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