Sunday, June 02, 2013

BUS STORY # 343 (Safety First)

*Explored* Run for the bus!! by minardiforever
*Explored* Run for the bus!!, © All Rights Reserved, a photo by minardiforever on Flickr.

“This guy ran out in front of my bus this morning.”

This out of the blue from our driver. He goes on to tell us how it was still dark. He was approaching the intersection at Candelaria when he saw this guy running through the sweep of his lights -- dark clothes, no reflectors -- he could’ve been hit by a car -- and signaling the bus to stop for him.

Our driver didn’t stop. No way was he gonna slam on the brakes and try making the stop before the intersection. That was just crazy. He had riders who would have been thrown forward, maybe out of their seats and injured. There could have been a car right behind him that could have rear-ended him. He might have ended up sticking partway into the intersection.

The guy’s probably mad at him for not stopping. He’d like to see that guy behind the wheel when another rider did that to him. Then maybe he’d understand.

I’m thinking I’m not sure even that would change the guy’s feelings that the bus should have stopped for him. These days, we seem to want what we want, and that’s about as far as we take it.

And then I’m thinking Busboy is an old man thinking grumpy old man thoughts.

When I shift my attention back to the driver, he’s explaining the drivers are only supposed to pick riders up at the designated stops. He knows there are times drivers exercise discretion and he’s good with that.

I’m thinking there isn’t a rider who doesn’t know he’s right and isn’t grateful for those discretions.

But, he goes on, the rider has a responsibility, too. He needs to get up a few minutes earlier to get out the door to be at that stop on time.

I’m thinking our driver was at my stop eight minutes early this morning. Although now that I think about it, he waited at the stop a couple of minutes before pulling back out into traffic.

There is no rule I know of that defines when a bus is “on time.” Each of us probably has his own definition against which we judge a bus to be early, on time, or late. I use five minutes as a parameter, but that is arbitrary.

And there’s the not-small matter of knowing your driver’s habits. Whenever the drivers all change routes, you can count on hearing stories from the regulars all that first week about how they missed or almost missed their bus or their connection because of the new driver.

There’s where you are along the route. No big surprise that the closer you get to the end of the route, the more wobble in the schedule. Traffic, wheelchair boardings, passenger incidents, drivers’ plans for the rest stop at the turnaround...

Finally, there is your time vs ABQ RIDE time. All experienced riders have at least one time piece synchronized with the time on the bus. Otherwise, your five-minute parameter may have you running across the street waving at the driver rather than standing at the stop when your bus comes.

There is no way to know whether the guy who ran in front of the bus this morning was “on time” or not. All we know for sure is that he was not at the stop when the bus came.

Our driver says he’s learned he can’t make everyone happy, and that his job is to deliver his riders to their destinations as safely as possible. Safety first, he says, underlining his primary standard.

I’m good with that.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “*Explored* Run for the bus!!,” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of minardiforever. You can see all minardiforever’s photos on Flickr here.


Anonymous Brenda said...

So true. Nothing is black and white. I try to remember this when I see other people who are "not like me". Everyone has a story and I love the way you tell yours and those of whom you run across.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Brenda, thank you so much for those kind words. They are very much appreciated.

12:23 PM  

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