Public Transportation

20141111_132223_tinkrpic2_50_50If there is one thing that I have learned in all the years I have taken public transportation (for the most part Suffolk Transit) its this, People never cease to amaze me. Of course this is true of the public in general , but that is another topic for another day.

A prime example of this took place today. I am on the bus headed home. A woman comes on with a small container of rice. The driver says something to her about to eating , but I wasn’t 100%  sure what was said. She paid her fare and sat down toward the front and began to eat her food. The driver told her that she couldn’t eat on the bus to which she replied, “Who me?”. The driver repeated himself and pointed to a sign that with a picture of food and drink with a slash through it. She gave him a look and went to the back and continued to eat. I began to talk to another passenger about it and it did not matter if she or the driver overheard me. With that the driver reached over to a keypad that allows him to enter the run he is driving, amongst other things. Somehow I knew what to expect and I was right, cause the next thing I heard was an automated message that said, “No smoking, eating or drinking”.

People on public transportation seem to have this mistaken notion that they do not have to follow the rules.

There are those that expect the drivers to let them off where ever want even if it is not a designated bus stop. The best of them are those who practically demand to be let off in a turning lane.  When this happens the driver explains that for safety reasons they are not allowed to let them off.  One might think that the passenger would understand, but that isn’t always the case. They want to argue with the driver about the issue and use various excuses which are typical.

Some expect drivers to let them on the bus even if they don’t have the full fare or any fare at all. Some drivers might let this issue go if the passenger is short by 5 or 10 cents.  Other drivers stick to the rules.

Others claim they are supposed to get reduced fare, yet they do not have reduced fare identification card. I always present my card to a driver that is not familiar with me.

There are times when I am at a bus stop and and a passenger wants me to make change for them, because they do not have their full fare ready.  However this is not my responsibility.

Then come the parents. There are two pet peeves I have when it comes to parents and drivers.

1) Children under the age of 5 are allowed to ride for free. This would be fine, except for the fact that drivers often let children  on for free who are well over 5 years old.

2) Safety policy requires that children be must be removed from their strollers, the stroller is supposed to be collapsed, and the parent or guardian is supposed to hold the child on their lap. The issue here is that some drivers allow the children to stay in their strollers and this creates a serious safety hazard for passengers who must walk past the strollers that are often blocking the aisle. Why should I risking getting injured because I am forced walk around a stroller?

The simple point is that there are rules in place and they should not only be enforced, but also observed.


3 thoughts on “Public Transportation

  1. I remember riding the Suffolk buses in the 1980s, when every corner actually was a de facto bus stop. The policy really was that they would stop at any street corner on their route, you could flag them down from outside (and would have to, so they knew you were actually a waiting passenger and not just some dope on a street corner) or ring the buzzer from the inside.

    I can totally see why Suffolk Transit ditched that procedure, it must have been hell on the drivers, but there are still folks around who seem not to have gotten the hint that things don’t work that way anymore.

  2. Assuming it hasn’t changed, HART will stop at any street corner provided it is safe. The irony is that I am positive the people who complain the most are the first ones to file a lawsuit if they get injured and claim the driver should not have let them off if it wasn’t a designated bus stop.
    As far stops go, the best one I ever heard was when a driver let a woman off at a stop and she complained that she had to walk “all the way over there”. I am not kidding when I tell you that she had to walk one block (maybe 75 to 100 feet).
    People seem to think driver will lose their jobs if they complain to Suffolk County. What they fail to realize is that the buses are operated by private companies and Suffolk County cannot control who these companies hire. This is why the advisory that reads, “Suffolk County cannot assume responsibility for inconvenience, expense or damage resulting from timetable errors, delayed buses or failure to make connections.” is printed in all the schedules.
    I’ll tell you another thing, attending those public meetings is almost pointless.

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