You Dare Skip My Stop?!

This is the close up of the front of the S4 bus number NS01 at 7.32pm EDT. This is the very bus that flew by the bus stop at 16th and M Streets NW without stopping.

Not only without stopping, the driver, a young surly black man, even made eye contact with a few of the six or so people waiting at the stop, and swerved slightly towards us like he was going to stop.

He did not. In fact, he sped up as he drove off, leaving a bus stop of pissed off people. While I thought about running the bus down, much like Trudi did, with his speed I would need a faster transport than my feet: a taxi.

Jumping into one, we chased the bus to Mt Pleasant, where I boarded the bus and confronted the driver. I asked him repeatedly why he didn’t stop for us, and his shock was only equaled by his anger. Silent with guilt, I only got a very curt, “You riding this bus or the next one?” from him, said more as a challenge than a question.

Thinking it wise to exit at the next stop, I took my leave, and took a complaint to WMATA. Question is, what will they do?

I say WMATA should check the driver’s job application. The driver drove past us intentionally, and maybe other stops too, in his mad rush to complete his route. A rush that pissed off riders and brought disgrace to his employer.

9 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on September 16th, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

    I think the guy should be suspended at least, and then reassigned to a different route. If it were a mistake that would be different. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes.

    What a jerk.

  2. sa-ra (unregistered) on September 17th, 2006 @ 7:42 am

    I think that driver also drives D2 sometimes.

  3. hb (unregistered) on September 17th, 2006 @ 10:00 pm

    You rock for running this guy down and confronting him. Did you happen to get any other eyewitnesses? I wonder if they’ll do anything if they can just call it his word versus yours.

  4. Brian (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 8:27 am

    I haven’t backed up my previous complaints with the force of blogging when it’s happened to me before, but in the past all I’ve gotten is a nice and inadequate form letter of apology about my experience.

    Metrobus has been great exercise for me lately, since I’m a fool and check their online “trip planner” for approximate bus times and when the bus fails to show up, I start walking from stop to stop and the bus eventually catches up as I make a mad sprint to the next stop. Or in most cases, I just hail a cab.

  5. Robis (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 10:26 am

    Customer service is such a big, ignored issue for Metrobus that even calling it “customer service” is underkill—the magnitude to which Metrobus drivers avoid customer service elevates the whole issue to an epic degree.

    I’ve had busses plow past me, and I’ve been on busses where the driver plowed past people. I had a driver shut the door in my face and drive away because I was just walking up as someone debarked (because, you know, they don’t have to pick you up if you aren’t waiting at the stop—actual excuse I’ve heard).

    On top of that, most bus drivers are surly, unresponsive to passengers, and give the impression that they have much better things to do than driving that bus (and if they do, why aren’t they doing *that* instead?).

    In contrast, the drivers on the Circulator are polite, smile, and seem to actually care about their passengers. Say what you will about the fact that it is just a toy for the tourists, but at least they get it right. Metro could improve their customer service a hundred-fold simply by putting all of their drivers through the same customer service training the Circulator uses.

  6. wayan (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    I hate to say this, as I dislike the idea behind Circulator, but you’re right. The Circulator drivers are much more pleseant on average. Circulator also has way fewer drivers, so they can manage them better.

    Its not that Metro has all bad drivers thou, but there are a few, ususaly at least two per line, that are annoyed they have to work for their money.

    A “Rate This Driver” scorecard would be nice. Bonuses for those who rank high, pink slips for those who fail.

  7. wayan (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 11:18 am

    I got a response from another person in Metro I sent this to (not customer service):

    Hi. You said that you reported the date, time, bus number, location, etc. You reported it correctly and there will be follow-up. You may also consider calling the customer complaint number at 202-637-1328.

  8. Don (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

    I wonder – re the Circulator drivers union? If so, the same union?

  9. OneBusDriver@ATime (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    Wayan Vota. Bus Justice. He’s the Superman of public transportation…but without all the lycra and hair gel. The only thing that would make the whole scenario better would be if he had commandeered a homeless guy’s shopping cart or something to make pursuit.

    At least no one could ever call Wayan apathetic.

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