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In light of everything...
high_watermark wrote in octranspo
All this week whenever I got on a bus, I was greeted by a driver who looked very unhappy and sometimes the driver seemed wary of any questions people might ask them. One driver yesterday definitely was stinging from all the bad news surrounding OC Transpo. I was standing at the front of the bus and throughout the trip I wanted to talk to him, to let him know that there are good passengers out there and that we don't all think the drivers are like what the Sun and its nasty commenters say. At the end of my trip, I finally got the courage and asked how his day was. He said he was ok, asked how I was. I said "I just want you to know that we don't all think poorly of you drivers." He said (and it broke my heart a little) "Sure feels like it lately." I let him know that it's not right and that I appreciate what the drivers do. He thanked me for my support and I departed. I hope that it gave him some hope.

Before I get into this, I want to say that I am not a driver, am not married to or related to any either. I write this as a passenger outright.

To the drivers who read this:

I really hope that you guys and gals aren't reading the comments in the articles in the media surrounding the rough week we've had with one another in general as passengers and drivers. A large amount of the people who are angry are those who are clearly having a very hard time letting go of their anger from the strike a few years ago. They are out for blood and have to realize that forgiveness is what will help them, not revenge. I always smile and say hello to the driver when I get on, hoping that they have a pleasant day. I know what it's like to work in customer service, but never to the extent that you do. You pick up people from all over the city, all walks of life. Some people have major problems in their lives and they don't know how to address their issues or release their anger, so they take it out on someone who can't fight back. That has got to be hard. You say hello to people who sneer back. You get shat on whenever the bus is late when traffic was out of your control. I could never put up with the crap you folks deal with. And if I were a driver and that Taronno guy would have been messing with me while I was trying to work I probably would have kicked him right off the bus in the middle of the Queensway.

I want to thank you for all your work, for getting me to and from work every day in every kind of weather and getting me there safely. I don't care if you sing or recite dirty limericks while driving as long as you watch the road. One day my kids will be bussing it downtown so they can rebel against living in Barrhaven and I hope that the drivers of those buses will have the same integrity and willingness to help that you folks have demonstrated towards me. Please keep your chins up and remember that people out there do appreciate what you do and respect you immensely for it.

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I have been meaning to post something like this, but it wouldnt have been nearly as well-written!

Despite everything going on, and drivers ring unhappy (who can blame them) I ALWAYS make sure to thank them profusely with a big smile - they get me from point A to point B to point C safely despite me having a cast, and often make sure I am sitting before moving, and ALWAYS lower the bus without me asking.

The majority of drivers are heroes in my eyes right now. I couldn't deal with being blamed for everything that I can't control and disregarded for the things I do above and beyond call of duty.


I took OC Transpo for more than 10 years, every day of the week, every time of the day, rush hour/late at night/early in the AM, in the worst snow conditions or during times of crisis (2003 blackout), and the drivers have ALL been fantastic, helpful and kind. I've never witnessed or encountered a mean driver, with attitude or being really rude to anyone. I mean, in the 10 years I took the bus, you would think something bad would have happened, no? It just didn't. These events are isolated and of course, they do NOT happen every day.

It's just like someone said on Bob FM this morning, where are these iphone/BB cameras when a passenger is being an ass to a driver, assaulting them, yelling at them, spitting on them or banging on their front door because the bus took off just before he/she got on? It's rediculous how these people are posting these negative events online but only if it makes an OC driver look bad! I just don't agree with this. There are always two sides to every story. There are people out there in Ottawa that need to learn that these drivers are people like us, with feelings and emotions. Tormenting them or provoking them (like that man that patronized the driver of #5 because he was late) is just not gonna help.

There's so much more I want to say... i just don't want to turn this comment into a novel lol

Thanks for your kind words. Most drivers do like to help out passengers. Most of us know how to do our job in very professional manner. Unfortunately, any professionals reading this post will know that compromising our duties over limited time on hand is a tough call to make. Like my favourite Mr. Mike Holmes would say, “Cheap and quick is not possible”. More and more we been given unrealistic time/ schedules to do our job that is totally taking a toll over our professional conducts.
Too many runs we have to commit starting 10- 15 minutes early (volunteering of cause) so we can begin at least our first trip on time (the deadhead time is never enough from the garage). That is the best we can do. Everything else will go downhill from there after that we can’t do much about it.
Many runs, we will get late about 10 minutes from the very first 15 minutes of scheduled time frame.
Following is an example of my work day.
Shift start at 14.46 from the garage. I started exactly at 14.30 (yes 16 minutes early, voluntarily) to be sure everything goes smooth or at least my first trip can be started on time.
Performed circle check and found a defect, let the control knows and brought the bus to mechanic to fix. Waiting for a mechanic/ fixing it/ driving around the garage put me over 6 minutes late.
Deadhead to Billings to start a route #1. Supposed to leave at 14.57 by the time I load the passengers and left Billings I was 8 minutes late. Now if I had not started early but on time, I would have been running 23 minutes down.
Finishing #1 and deadheading to start a #9 as my second trip. Surprisingly, I had 2 minutes to spare. Got off the seat and check the bus inside. Picked up 4-5 newspapers that was left behind on the floor and stored by the bin, now it is time to go. No washroom breaks yet.
I was on time at Rideau but from that point to Bank and Slater traffics and turns put me 3 minutes late. Now is the worse part, I have 9 minutes to go and start a 96 from Hull. Just making a right turn at Bank & Laurier then to Hull deadhead made me more delays. Making few quick decisions and changing the standard deadhead route provided by the city saved me couple of minutes but not to put me back on schedule. My 96 that I supposed to start at 16.32 pm is now delayed by 11 minutes. Now is the time to press STS 2 and let control know my status. No bathroom brakes yet.
Finishing at Kanata, now I am running 22 minutes late. The computerized ‘recovery’ time tells me that I have 4 long minutes to ‘recover’ any delays. Now I have – ve 18 minutes to start but I touched the steering at 14.30 pm and still haven’t had access to a washroom yet. I ran to washroom and back to the seat in 3 minute to start a 118. No time to check the bus, too bad if any passengers left any valuables. I have to compromise my professionalism under pressure over lack of time. Ok time to press STS 3, definitely I will get some help to get back on schedule, right? I was wrong.
Now here is the kicker. There has not been any 118 Hudman left over 20 minutes from Kanata. Now I have to pick passengers belong to 2 buses and face all the frustrations from them. Who would not like to work twice harder with less time to recover?
Then I will have 6 long minutes of ‘recovery’ time waiting for me at Hudman station before my return trip. I finished at Hudman about 12 minutes late.
At this point the rush hour is over and I made close to my schedule in Kanata. The clock is at 18.50 pm and I got my first 14 minutes break. I was on time for the rest of the night.
Doing this shift is one thing but I can’t promise that none of the following things ever happened that day. Listening passengers frustrations, comments, name calling, blames, holding up the door, holding up the front door line up while looking for fare, banging on the door once the bus departed and giving me a lecture why I should be waiting for runners during rush hours because they all pay taxes.
Before I wrap my thoughts, you may ask why I don’t do a SIR to improve the working condition. Well I kind of lost hope in that process long time ago.

Well tomorrow is another day and I will see you all the best. Take care.

Thank you for your comments "high_watermark", "geminiooats" and "slow_awakening".

Yes thank you for the kind words!! I've had some fantastic passengers going out of their way to be nice to me this week and I'm so thankful for that. Thanks again and I live for smiles! It makes the day so much better.

The Ottawa Sun calling the meeting a "lovefest" and in the top story online "love-in veiled in secrecy". What a pathetic newspaper.

Really wish drivers would stop letting it on their vehicles.

All drivers I've seen this week have been superbly friendly, cheerful, and helpful. I would understand it if they weren't - the current scheduling/routing mess is NOT your fault! - but applaud you anyway for doing what you do best.

Very well said! You should submit this as an editorial to the Citizen and that other crappy newspaper! Maybe even fire this off to the Mayor and Transit Commission.


Don't burn yourself out.

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