FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAN, DON’T STOP THE BUS

Updated a couple bits Saturday June3 to make it more clear that I’m not intending to defame all Metro Drivers, but instead to point out a real problem, the poor way that a Metro Transit has chosen to handle it, and the fact that there are tons of great Metro Drivers who can make appropriate safety decisions without the aid of a posted sign. 

The Metro Transit folks have put their foot down. No more being attentive to customer needs. Customer service is the group that answers the phones, not a way of treating your customers.

What am I talking about? Well, you may remember the good result I had in contacting Sound Transit (or, rather, Metro Transit) a while back (here and here).

The short version is that in the “Transit Centers” (which are glorified parking loops with a couple of bus shelters), once the bus “leaves the transit bay” you’re SOL. And if you’re waiting for the interminable traffic light to cross 156th into the Overlake Transit Center when the bus pulls off the highway, crosses the bridge over 520, waits at a traffic light on the bridge, waits to turn right at the traffic light onto 156th, waits to turn right into the transit center, stops at the transit bay, loads up 50 passengers, and pulls away… whew… all while you’re still stuck waiting through the 5+ minute traffic light for the crosswalk across busy 156th… well, then you miss the bus.

Metro Transit must be sick of reports from one-or-more crappy-drivers among their overall driver rank-and-file that people are trying to get the bus to open the doors at one of the later transit bays in the center that the bus has to drive past. Or perhaps the reports are about people trying to get the bus to open the door while it sits for 2–3 minutes at the red-light (safely inside the transit center) before it can turn left to exit.

And we can’t have that! No way can we, while safely stopped inside the transit center, open the door to let some additional riders onto the bus!! That’s just madness! What next, we start to enforce a system where “pay as you leave” is replaced with something that doesn’t suck and all doors could be opened at a destination like Overlake where 95% of the bus has to trickle slowly through the front-door, paying as they leave?! Absolute madness!

But, Metro Transit must listen to these few awful drivers because they’ve posted this sign now at Overlake. Sorry about the rotten photo from my camera phone, but hopefully you can still make it out. I call it “Sign Dedicated to Evan’s Struggle Against Metro Transit”:

BusStopSign

Wow. Good stuff.

But, there are still some great bus drivers who choose satisfied customers over faux safety. I won’t mention names, or times, or even routes (maybe it wasn’t even a driver on the 545 route), but there are definitely still drivers who will stop mid-block if they realize they’ve skipped a stop where someone was running. Or they’ll stop to let you on at the transit center red-light. Or whatever they can safely do to make sure you don’t have a rotten experience as a Metro Transit rider.

Bravo to these great bus drivers! I hope your kind prevails in this silent struggle! I’m sure this is most Metro Drivers, so you can make it happen!

5 Comments

  1. ryan said,

    June 2, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Or, one could actually read a schedule and plan to be somewhere on time instead of blaming others for their own lack of responsibility.

    You’re either going to wait single file out in the sticks when you get off or you’re going to wait single file when you get on downtown.

  2. Evan said,

    June 3, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Wow, such softball criticisms. I can take them both with ease!

    1) I’ve not yet found “a schedule” for the cross-walk across 156th into the Overlake Transit Center. If you know of one, please pass it on. And perhaps it’s BECAUSE I use the http://www.mybus.org/ site with such intensity that I end up in this situation (ie – even if I leave my office 10 minutes ahead of time for the 7 minute walk to Overlake, I’m sunk if I get stuck at the light).

    2) I get on and off at Montlake, so your “single file” comment simply isn’t true for me. But I get your point, and still disagree with it. When I used to catch the bus in downtown I don’t ever remember a single stop (not even the plaza at 5th and Pine) where 95% of the bus loaded/unloaded. It’s all about Overlake.

    So, my supposition is that you probably don’t ride this bus to or from work if you’re not aware of these irritations. If that’s a false supposition, then my secondary analysis is that you are probably one of the people on the bus who “sighs in frustration” when the nicer bus drivers stop at bay 6 to let in a couple of folks who missed the bus by seconds.

    In any case. Thanks for the comments! 🙂

  3. Evan said,

    June 3, 2006 at 8:01 am

    AH!! I get it, Ryan. I followed the URL from your comment and I see that you’re actually a DRIVER not a RIDER!

    NOW I can better hypothesize your position. Now I can suggest that maybe you’re one of the “crappy drivers” who hates helping out your customers by stopping after you’ve left the transit bay? Perhaps you’re even the bus driver who must have complained about people trying to get drivers to stop at Bay 6? AH HA!

    In any case, please don’t take it personally. I quite like Metro Transit and I quite like the vast majority of the drivers I ride with. In fact, until I started to experience this particular behavior from one specific 545 driver (who is, I should point out for clarity, not you) I hadn’t ever had a single bad experience with Metro Transit drivers. This certainly isn’t intended as some critique of all Metro drivers as “crappy”. Just one… or maybe two, if you want in.

  4. ryan said,

    June 13, 2006 at 8:44 am

    nope, i don’t work in seattle. i just needed to point out that there is a valid viewpoint on the other side.

  5. Evan Dodds - Non-work-related blog » Chasing after buses said,

    February 28, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    […] inched out from the marked curb-stop and out to the red-light). Here were my thoughts on when it happened to me at Overlake TC one […]