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Letter: Irate bus rider frustrated with unacceptable service

If you were any other type of service, I would have long since switched providers, letter writer says

Dear City of Greater Sudbury, I would like to take this time to commend you on the absolute worst city bus service imaginable. 

While I am somewhat irate as I write this, the facts laid out stand.

As official complaints and hope see no results in improvement, perhaps a public shaming is in order.

As a driver, a bus rider, and a manager of 20 years, I am reasonably knowledgeable of road conditions and acceptable service levels. You fail on both counts.

In the three months since I am once again taking city transit there have been six no-show buses (on my route alone); one fender bender, due to both bus and other driver running red lights; three times when my face came within an inch of being slammed on the seat in front of me because the driver has a heavy foot (and no, that is not an exaggeration); one driver who clearly has mental health issues deliberately and consistently attempting to pick fights with me and other passengers (also reportedly witnessed having the police called to eject a passenger after driver being the one to start the fight); countless red lights run (not yellow lights and not “I'm going too fast to stop safely” lights).

I have been a bus rider in several other Canadian cities both large and small, and I have yet to find even one that comes remotely close to the complete disregard you have for the safety and service of your passengers. 

If you were any other type of service, I would have long since switched providers.

Today, it appeared as though the driver just simply decided not to drive through my neighbourhood, at least twice, as I saw it drive down the highway. If I had been on my way to work, I would have been more than two hours late. Since this is a regular occurrence, how long do you think I would be able to keep my job?

What if a rider had a babysitter watching their kids? Or a rider who gets off work just in time to meet their kids coming off a school bus? There was snow, yes, but were the roads impassable? No. I spent the entire day driving, as well. There was no excuse.

Last night I also attempted to take the bus and again it was a no show. It was 10:30 p.m. It was dark. I was alone and there was a rather rambunctious party of young men making me feel extremely uncomfortable in an isolated area. 

What could have been your reason last night when the weather was good, I wonder. And why should I pay $90 per month for a service that may or may not perform as scheduled?

Often, when asked why there was no bus, the response is “Well, we didn't have a driver.” 
What kind of excuse is that? 

In any business I have run, if I gave that sort of excuse to a manager, I would be fired on the spot. This is a unacceptable level of poor management.

My time is worth $26 per hour plus weekend/evening premium. Given there were six no-shows plus the waiting time, it equals $213 plus $60 for cab fare. Let me know when you are ready to write the cheque for time wasted and expenses incurred.

I am seeing some improvements in service since last I took the bus. The transit terminal is much cleaner. Sunday run times have improved. The drivers (for the most part) seem to be more professional. I have seen you conduct a few surveys geared to improving service. For this, I am grateful.

If you want to increase your ridership, and if you take seriously the safety and service you provide, my best advice to you, is first have your buses show up. If I had a choice, I would take any other option than having to stand around in -30 C weather, or wait in isolated areas sometimes for hours, for a bus that may not show.

Gina Theresa Conroy