Sunday, July 24, 2011

BUS STORY # 246 (Gabriela’s Bus Story #1)

This is one of those “Heard it from a friend who/Heard it from a friend who...” stories. But with a difference: I ultimately got to see a copy of the email train first-hand.

Gabriela* told her bus-riding coworkers she’d been thinking about taking the bus to work. But she didn’t think there was a practical route or schedule for where she lived.

Her coworkers told her to try the online Trip Planner. And so she did. That is where she discovered a route she could use which called for catching the 92 at Cedar and Martin Luther King.

She put in for a monthly bus pass from her employer, and when she got it, she went to try it out.

She was standing at the bus stop near the corner when she realized the 92 wasn’t going to stop for her. She tried waving the bus down. The driver did stop, did let her on, but was not happy about it. He said this was not a stop on his route. And, in truth, the bus stop only listed routes 9, 12, and 50. When Gabriela explained about the Trip Planner, he told her he didn’t care what the website said, he had his instructions.

Gabriela added that the driver was shouting all this at her, and she felt intimidated. Then she felt angry. At the encouragement of the other riders who had witnessed the exchange, she decided to report what had happened. And so she sent an email relating all this, and asking for an apology from the driver, to Rebecca Torres (no official title on the website, but I believe she functions as the Customer Service “point” person); Bruce Rizzieri (Director of ABQ RIDE), and Richard Berry (the mayor of Albuquerque).

She got a quick response from none of the above. Nota* thanked her for reporting what had happened, and apologized that things had not gone well. He told her he had reported the Trip Planner discrepancy to the appropriate departments, and added ABQ RIDE would look into putting a stop where the Trip Planner had said there was one. He said the driver’s supervisor was notified of the driver’s behavior, and that this would be addressed.

He was doing all right until he recommended she buy a one-day bus pass which would save her $2.00 each round trip...

Gabriela responded. Since she had already explained she had a bus pass from her employer, his recommendation for a one-day pass turned his personal response into a pro forma blah-blah-blah. She felt he hadn’t really read her email.

She went on to explain why the stop at Cedar and MLK was ideal, and how otherwise, she would have to walk under an interstate underpass often frequented by the homeless -- not something any reasonable woman would risk. And she repeated her request for an apology from the driver.

In less than a week, when driving by the corner of Cedar and MLK, she saw the 92 had been added to the current bus stop list. She wrote Nota to report what she had seen and thanking him for the quick turnaround. She promised to let all her friends know how quickly ABQ RIDE had responded to her request.

I’m told she didn’t get an apology from the driver, but she prefers the bus stop she did get.


*Real name changed.


Anonymous Brenda said...

Good for her! Taking on the big things and moving on from the small.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Well observed, and well said, Brenda. Thank you.

8:33 PM  

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