I ride the bus to and from work each day. I do this out of necessity, not desire. I ride five separate buses daily to get to work and back home again. This equates to 25 bus rides a week or 100 bus rides each month. Consequently, I have had plenty of opportunity to customer service, or the lack thereof on the Metro buses. Quite frankly, I am appalled.
Each bus is equipped with various accessibility devices to assist those who are disabled in some fashion. The buses all have pneumatic devices to lower the bus entrance to facilitate ease of entry. This must be extremely difficult for the driver to accomplish as I have often watched an elderly person struggle with the first step while the driver did nothing. I looked into this and I can understand the drivers reluctance. It is quite labor intensive and he or she must reach forward and push a button to lower the bus. And if this isn’t enough, they actually are required to do this twice so as to raise the bus after the individual has boarded. That is two arm reaches and two button pushes at each stop. But apparently, in the drivers mind, it is better to just ignore the struggling passenger.
Another device not used frequently is the annunciator. This device will announce the bus number and bus route over a loud speaker whenever the door is opened. This is very useful for blind and visually impaired individuals. But all too frequently this device is not used. I guess to have this information repeated over and over is just too annoying for a bus driver to have to bear. On one occasion I actually stood with a blind man and announced the arrival of five buses in a row until his bus arrived. Even though he was standing there with his white cane in hand, not one bus activated the annunciator for his convenience.
And here is a special note for some of the drivers of Route 33 heading to downtown in the afternoon. The term bus stop is specific to an action you are to perform. It means Stop the Bus. On three occasions in the past month the 33 has simply ignored the stop but decided to move it to across the street and around the corner. The driver then expects the waiting passengers to cross the four lane highway to get to the non bus stop where the driver is waiting. Some have risked life and limb to cross the busy street during rush hour. I merely indicate that I am not interested by politely waving my middle finger at the driver, and then wait for the next bus.
Come on Queen City Metro, give us a break, you are here to provide a service to bus riders, not the other way around. I felt the old name of SORTA was more descriptive. It meant that sorta did what was expected of the. Todays drivers take the ME in Metro to literally.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?