11/03/2009

Let's have a little rant, shall we?

Most of us do not use public transportation. I do not use it on a regular basis, even though the Route 4 comes past my house twice an hour during peak periods. I work downtown, so it should be a no-brainer, right?

Unfortunately, like most of us, I do not have a set schedule. I have something different to do pretty much every day, whether it be drive to a meeting, or pick up my kids at their daycare near Albemarle High School. I also can afford a car, and there's been no compelling reason for me to give it up, or to switch my choice.

But, this morning, I am steaming, absolutely steaming, about a bus driver's performance. I left my keys at a meeting in a government building, being somewhat distracted by a friend of mine that I was chatting to. I realized this seconds after walking out the door. So, I had another friend of mine come pick me up. No matter, I thought. I have the bus as a reliable means of transportation.

So, I woke up this morning, got ready, loaded up the Charlottesville Transit Service's bus stop search page, and walked out my door when it told me the #4 would be at the stop in 2 minutes. It's about a 2 minute walk to my bus. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeazy, right?

I'm half way to the stop, when suddenly, the bus comes roaring past, driving way over the 25 mile an hour speed limit on my residential street. I'm about three houses away from the stop. Surely, if I indicate I want to be picked up, the bus will stop, right? So, I start waving my hands wildly in the air.

He's not slowing down. He's continuing to hurtle down a very narrow road at full-speed like he's running a race. As he gets closer and closer to passing me, I start jumping up and down like a wild man, because I have an errand I really need to accomplish that requires the use of my car.

(ironically, I have to take my car to Edgecomb's Imported Auto for service!)

But, no, the driver fails to notice me, and if anything, he speeds up because he's just made a left-hand turn onto Forest Ridge Road and he's got a straightaway down to Rock Creek Road.

I'll admit, I shouted some things I couldn't say on the radio.

So, what's my takeaway here? I've written on this blog in the past about my dissatisfaction with service, but yet I keep trying the bus. I pay property taxes, and I feel it's partially my service. I want it to work, and I want it to be useful to more people so that more of us can get out of our cars. The system is wonderful when it works, but it requires drivers who are constantly paying attention to potential riders. It needs drivers who don't fancy themselves as being in the Grand Prix.

Sure, I could have walked out the door a little earlier, but the system told me I had two minutes left. It seems that maybe the driver's speed confused the system, or he was looking to pick up time to meet a quota, or something. I don't know.

I'll try again in a few minutes, and I'll make sure I get there in plenty of time. But, what's the point of having a GPS system if it's inaccurate?

Bah. As I said in the title, it's a rant, not a political statement.







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