Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bad Bus Driver

I think my bus driver this morning was confused about what his job is. I think he thought he’s supposed be an absolute stickler for rules who follows procedures at any cost. I had thought his job was to help passengers get to their destinations safely.

He drove away from the stop at 4th and Jackson after having pulled in so close behind the bus in front of him that I couldn’t even see what number he was.

“Hey!” I yelled as he pulled away. I hopped back on my bike and raced to the next stop. Jumping off my bike as he arrived, I indicated that wanted to put my bike on the rack and board. He shook his head. “Aw c’mon,” I yelled, as much to myself as to him, “I didn’t even see you at the last stop!”

Granted, the bus was now in the “free ride zone,” where bikes are not supposed to be loaded, but still…

(On another occasion, a driver, realizing that I had just missed him at the previous stop let me load my bike.)

The kicker, however, was when we were pulling away from the last stop downtown. A woman who was clearly developmentally disabled cried, “Please let me off! I’m going to miss my doctor’s appointment!”

“Nope. This is an express bus. Next stop, Lake City.”

The woman began to cry louder. “Please! Please!”

Other passengers on the bus, myself included, took up the woman’s appeal. “Let her off!” we cried.

But the driver wouldn’t budge.

The woman began weeping. The driver seemed to take some sort of perverse pleasure in teaching her a lesson or something.

We arrived in Lake City twenty minutes later and the poor woman could be seen trudging across the street to wait for the next bus to take her back downtown.

Our driver had saved thirty seconds on his route and cost that woman at least an hour out of her day.

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