Bus Commuter/Bus Driver WTF



  • I work in Manhattan, and get a bus to/from the Port Authority of NY to get to/from work. For the uninitiated, it's a huge 4 story rectangular building with about 200+ bus "gates" (basically a door leading to the outer roadway where the buses pull up) scattered all over the place, and very long lines of tired people waiting to get home. Mostly, you follow the line back from the gate to the end, and then blindly follow the person in front of you until you get on your bus.

    My particular route is subcontracted to this company that requires rudeness and cluelessness as the primary discriminating factors after can-you-drive-a-bus, and is grossly under served (eg: the lines are always very long - longer than most of the other routes).

    I was first on line. The bus pulls in (early by random chance), and at the requisite time, the driver opens the door. I get on. The person behind me just stands there (apparently waiting for a later bus). The people behind her just stand there, waiting for the person now in front to go. What to do? The driver and I look at each other in puzzlement. Finally, I just wave to the person. Nothing. After 5 minutes of this, the driver closes the door and pulls out, with just me on the bus, and over 100 people blindly standing on the line waiting for the person in the front to go. sigh

    Ok, we get home, and he pulls off the main road into our parking facility that's basically a triple loop, so that he can make three stops. My stop is the 3rd one. He has a choice: go right, and loop 3 times until getting back to the last (my) stop, or just turn left toward my stop, let me off, and go to his next run. IIRC, they do NOT check to make sure that the driver makes every stop, as there are no pickups on the homeward run. Guess which way he turns. That's right, he made all 3 stops, opening and closing the door at each one. We spent 10 minutes driving in circles. sigh

    WTF is up with people?



  • With the second one, it's possible that the bus is nominally supposed to make pickups at those stops, but hardly anyone actually uses them; it's probably not a lot quicker than walking between them from your description of the route, but why turn down the extra fare?



  • Wait. Public transport, in the USA?

    You've just changed my view of the world. 



  • It's also possible, for the later stops, that it'd be bad if he finished ahead of schedule. I've had public busses sit at stops longer than normal sometimes so that they don't arrive early at later stops.



  • @snoofle said:

    I was first on line. The bus pulls in (early by random chance), and at the requisite time, the driver opens the door. I get on. The person behind me just stands there (apparently waiting for a later bus). The people behind her just stand there, waiting for the person now in front to go. What to do? The driver and I look at each other in puzzlement. Finally, I just wave to the person. Nothing. After 5 minutes of this, the driver closes the door and pulls out, with just me on the bus, and over 100 people blindly standing on the line waiting for the person in the front to go. sigh

     

    In Italy we solved this problem a lot of time ago: you have to simply push away your neighbour.



  •  If a bus leaves a bit late then you get annoyed passengers, if it leaves early you get annoyed people stood at a bus stop wondering why the bus hasn't turned up. Plus there is no legitimate reason why a bus should leave early and miss potential customers.



  • If a bus leaves too early, he is likely faster than the bus in front of him (because he has fewer passengers to let in/out), so in the long run, it might be able to catch up with the previous bus (when intervals between busses are short, say 5-10 mins). The next bus behind him is slowed down by the extra passengers, so eventually the interval might go up by a factor of 2 or 3.



  • @snoofle said:

    The person behind me just stands there (apparently waiting for a later bus). The people behind her just stand there, waiting for the person now in front to go. What to do? The driver and I look at each other in puzzlement. Finally, I just wave to the person. Nothing. After 5 minutes of this, the driver closes the door and pulls out, with just me on the bus, and over 100 people blindly standing on the line waiting for the person in the front to go.

    This does not speak highly of the intelligence of the average commuter along your route.  I don't know if that means you live in a retarded part of town, but I would be very careful the next time there is a fire nearby.  You might have people blocking the exits with their lines, waiting for the first person to go.

     

    @snoofle said:

    That's right, he made all 3 stops, opening and closing the door at each one. We spent 10 minutes driving in circles.

    I'm going to have to agree with ammoQ here and assume he is on a certain schedule that requires him to make those stops.  If he showed up back at the terminal early, it might raise questions, like "why didn't you make all the stops?"  Obviously he can't tell anyone about only having one passenger, either.  Also, you say they don't check if the driver makes every stop, but most city buses have GPS units that are monitored and he may want to avoid additional scrutiny by the higher-ups. 



  • @EX PLO SHUN said:

    It's also possible, for the later stops, that it'd be bad if he finished ahead of schedule. I've had public busses sit at stops longer than normal sometimes so that they don't arrive early at later stops.
    There are also checkpoint stops which are used to determine if the bus driver is later or earlier than they should be.



  •  @snoofle said:

    My particular route is subcontracted to this company that requires rudeness and cluelessness as the primary discriminating factors after can-you-drive-a-bus, and is grossly under served (eg: the lines are always very long - longer than most of the other routes).

    DeCamp?   (Never ridden it, but heard plenty of complaints.)

    @snoofle said:

    I was first on line. The bus pulls in (early by random chance), and at the requisite time, the driver opens the door. I get on. The person behind me just stands there (apparently waiting for a later bus). The people behind her just stand there, waiting for the person now in front to go. What to do? The driver and I look at each other in puzzlement. Finally, I just wave to the person. Nothing. After 5 minutes of this, the driver closes the door and pulls out, with just me on the bus, and over 100 people blindly standing on the line waiting for the person in the front to go. sigh

    I have no reason to doubt you, but from the few times I've experienced the madhouse of rush hour at PA (i.e., when the trains are fucked up) I really can't believe no one said anything.  Or just pushed her out of the way, for that matter.



  • @SpComb said:

    Wait. Public transport, in the USA?

    You've just changed my view of the world. 

    NYC's one of the few US cities where commuters actually prefer public transportation than using their cars. Traffic might be an issue, too.

    That Port Authority of NY building reminded me of our own CETRAMs (CEntro de TRansferencia Modal, or [inter]Modal Transfer Center) which should be something similar. In practice, you got the lines, the bus "gates" ... sans the building. Some have actually been built with a more organized structure, but I have to use at least one that is in an absolute chaos!

    Some bus drivers over here set up their own "direct" routes, which officially are the same as the "non-direct" routes except they usually announce them as direct, and charge a higher fare than normal. These guys will usually stray off the main route using shortcuts, to avoid traffic. But I doubt they would be able to do that if they were schedule-controlled...



  •  A similar conversation broke out on the Javaranch forums a few months ago.  Everyone's feeling pretty good, venting their frustrations with the US/UK/Australian public transportation systems.  Eventually, some poor Indian guy chimes in to inform everyone that they're LUCKY when the bus shows up late.  Turns out Indian busses have a habit of killing people in horrible accidents.  Heh, stopped that thread cold in its tracks.  Wonder if it will do the same here?

    Here's the thread.



  • @Outlaw Programmer said:

    Turns out Indian busses have a habit of killing people in horrible accidents.  Heh, stopped that thread cold in its tracks.

    That's not the only thing dead in its tracks.  I wonder if this means my old job will be on-shored now. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Outlaw Programmer said:

    Turns out Indian busses have a habit of killing people in horrible accidents.  Heh, stopped that thread cold in its tracks.

    That's not the only thing dead in its tracks.  I wonder if this means my old job will be on-shored now. 

    Do you really want it back after some Indian dude has made it his personal playground? Besides, you know what they say: Once you go Indian, you never go back again.


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