Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Get on the bus, Gus

The beginning of this year marked another service cut for the badly-limping Port Authority of Allegheny County. Routes were changed or cut and lots of bus drivers were laid off, and as winter grows steadily winter-er, it seems that another cut is on the horizon, possibly to include one of the brand-new routes that finally connected Lawrenceville to Oakland (aka, the Five Guys Express).

It breaks my heart, really, because I think that public transit is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure that can exist in a city. It's the veins through which a city's lifeblood flows. Buses allow a great number of us mobility enough to get to our jobs, to grocery stores--to fuel the economy of the city without being dragged down by the costs of owning a car. Frankly, I'd guess that most of us taking the bus couldn't even afford a car if we wanted to own one (I know I couldn't), so the bus really is the only viable option to get us back and forth between the places we need to go.

I, for one, depend upon the bus system here in the city. Without them, I could not get to work. I love to bike, but I can't do that in a suit, or when it's snowing. A car just isn't an option for me. If not for the bus system here in Pittsburgh, I'm not sure what I would do, and it is with that kind of great appreciation and understanding that I say this now:

Fuck the motherfucking bus drivers here in Pittsburgh. Fuck them to death.

You would think that they'd be on their best behavior, knowing that it could be them that next gets the axe. But these smarmy motherfuckers don't even understand the purpose of their jobs. They really don't, and it was proven to me yet again today. It comes with the territory, making up to $90,000 dollars a year. No wonder they think they're hot shit that can do no wrong--they are. But at the very least, making more than what many professors in Pittsburgh make, they should at least know what the fuck their role is. So I, as a concerned and level-headed citizen of this great city, am here to remind them.

You are here to take people from Point A to Point B, and often, back again. Remember that part up above where I talked about how we all depend on you to get us around? THAT'S YOUR JOB. What isn't your job is just driving around in a goddamn circle all day. You've got a route to run, yes--a route on which YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO PICK UP PEOPLE AND THEN TAKE THEM ELSEWHERE. If the city just needed someone to drive around in circles all day, they'd build a NASCAR track, you jackass. So when I'm a block away from the stop, running late to work, and I ask you what number your bus is because it isn't even prominently displayed on your beat old jalopy, you can at least have the KINDNESS TO ANSWER ME INSTEAD OF WAVING ME OFF WITH THAT LITTLE "PSH-PSH" HAND MOTION.

I understand that you've got to keep to a schedule, but really, let's be frank with each other: you don't. You get caught in traffic, you have emergencies. Sometimes you're a little late or a little early, but when you start showing up fifteen minutes early to a stop and cruising right through it, someone should reassess your timetable. If you're running early, chill out for a few minutes at the next stop and get back on schedule. If you're running a little late, put that gas pedal down and make up some time. Your timetable is set up so that you can auto-correct whenever you need to. You aren't a train.

Because you're not just running a route. People are depending on you, not only to get there relatively close to the time you're scheduled, but to pick them up at all. Would it be so bad to let us on a block away from the stop if we're running after you, screaming and begging to get on? Do you not get that that's your entire purpose, to let those people get on and get to work, even if it's not laid out, word-for-word in your job description? Do you have no heart? I hardly think you need to possess a passion for public transit to become a bus driver, but would it hurt to have a soul? At least the tiniest desire to help people get from place to place on the machine that you pilot? I mean, are we not paying you enough?

1 comment:

  1. Well done, I guess i'm spoiled living in a city that was named best transit 3 years in a row and still decided to drive a car..but you are absolutely correct that it is a public service. That should be what the job is about, right? Serving the public.