Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rant: The Impatient Road to No-Where

So much hostility these days towards bus drivers. So much in Portland and here in Seattle. We make too much, we have too good of benefits, unions are bad. Really? And what qualifies YOU to make that determination?

It seems to me, that many of the people who criticize transit operators, do not ride transit. I bet they don't know much about transit at all. So who are these people? Lets turn the finger around, and see how this sounds.

While driving my bus in normal daily interactions, I pick up 30-40 people per trip. These people get on, some smile, some say Hi, some thank me, some do not, most pay the correct fare and respect the bus by not defacing it. While I transport my bus load of people, I will get narrowly cut off by either a Luxury Car (BMW, Lexus, etc) or a SUV, carrying ONE person a handful of times a day. Why does this person feel the need to cut off my large heavy piece of equipment of 4000% occupancy rate of their vehicle? Its the impatient road to no-where. They are in such a hurry, they cut me off to save, thats right, up to 7 seconds off their day, and risk so much more.

Makes you wonder, What do these people do for a living? Well, Commissioned salesman comes to mind. Their goal, is to sell you insurance or products to enhance your daily life, and reap a commission off it. So, you, the customer get to pay MORE for your service to cover that commission, its not coming out of the companies wallet. Some salesman will tell you anything to get their commission, even if its a little white lie. They then take your hard earned money, and buy nice cars, and think they are the coolest cat in town, and behaving like a kindergartner is the best way to show it.

So the question is, why are bus drivers under fire for making 9,000-120,000/year, when higher management (not necessarily referring to transit here), commissioned salesman, and more of the like, take home MORE than that, and get left alone? The bus driver, whom must show up to work ON TIME, not on a flex schedule, does not get a regular lunch schedule to go out with friends or colleges, and sometimes miss out on happy hour, work their shift while dealing with self-centered, arrogant, asshole single occupant drivers that cut off and other wise take major risks to save 7 seconds, gets nailed by a Republican Party Group, meanwhile, CEOs of the same party take home MORE pay, for less credible work, and its ok? The bus yesterday that had to slam on brakes due to being cut off to close is a prime example of how disrespected bus drivers are on the road. A few people were injured as a result of one persons (the car) careless self-centered act. This is what bus drivers are paid to do, navigate a large bus of people from point A to Point B, and dodge the arrogant single occupant vehicles, its more than you think.

So before you leave nasty comments on this blog, or any other story about Transit operators wages and benefits, you'd better think that last time you rode a bus. Did the passengers make it unpleasant for you, take too long because it was stuck in traffic, well none of those are the drivers fault. If you have never ridden a bus, and you drive yourself to work, you have NO room to talk about what we make, and how we make it.

Remember this, all the bus drivers APPLIED for the job, no one is keeping us there against our will. We are there because the job posting was attractive, good pay, good benefits, and some of, well, a lot of us, enjoy the job. We have a corner office that offers some of the best views of the region. Now if you have a problem with that, then you should have applied to become a Transit operator. If your telling your self "No Way, why would I do that" (or you think your too good for that), keep your negative comments to yourself, they mean nothing. You should pick on someone your own size, like the single occupant traffic congestion causing CEO that will cut me off later this afternoon because he makes MORE than I do.


Anonymous said...

Good rant. When interviewed by Mike Lindblom recently he asked what the reaction of the riding public has been to the wage issue. I answered that we have some of the greatest passengers in the world. No matter what neighborhood I serve, what route, what time of day etc., the vast majority of the folks I have the pleasure to come into contact with are super and supportive.

Most of the people hammering away at bus drivers, I added, are people who don't actually ride the bus.

Al M said...

Excellent piece of work pal!

rizzuhjj said...

I don't hammer at drivers, and I do ride the bus. But the public has a right to comment on driver pay and unionization because we pay taxes that pay entirely for the cost of your labor. It's just like shareholders commenting on the cost of labor for a company they own part of.

rizzuhjj said...

"We are there because the job posting was attractive, good pay, good benefits, and some of, well, a lot of us, enjoy the job."

And actually, this is a good point. You want the job. You wouldn't leave the job if you don't have a COLA floor of 2%. I doubt many drivers would.

So why should we give drivers a raise, when the pay is good, the benefits are good, and we're not at risk of losing them?