Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I've been driving the 11 route this week. Normally, it's not really a problem route. It does go by the welfare building so you do get people with a lot of kids and strollers sometimes.

The 11 also goes by the light rail train downtown. Monday a guy got on with a transfer from the train that is for people on medicare. ID is required to purchase/use them and it is kind of on the honor system since there is no one watching what ticket you buy from the machine so I asked him for ID. He got a major attitude and said "No, I don't have ID. I left it at home." And he went to sit down. I told him that was not legal and he'd have to pay a fare. He said "I'm not paying no fare, just drive the bus!" That pissed me off. Don't try and scam me and then tell me my job. I told him he needed to pay a fare or hop off the bus. He said "Man, I been going through this EVERY DAY!" Huh???????? Maybe that's a clue to either pay the right fare or walk!! I didn't say that, of course. I chose to push the button to have Mr. Attitude removed from the bus. When he saw that I used the phone and noticed the bus wasn't moving he started talking about how he wasn't scared of the police taking him off the bus. When I still didn't move, he said something about how I wasn't the only bus in town and called me a few choice names and got off the bus. What an idiot. I felt a little better when, as I drove away, a passenger yelled at the loser out the window and said "Get a job!!"

Today I got a teenager that snuck in the back door. I got on the microphone after everyone else boarded and said "No matter what door you come in, you still have to come up and pay your fare." She was shocked and came up and put in a transfer showing she was 6-12 years old. I told her that was a child fare and she'd have to pay her real fare of $1.50. Then this lady spoke up saying she WAS 12. Gimme a break. If she's 12, so am I. She was 15-16 years old. I couldn't believe this woman (I'm guessing it was her mother) would teach this kid to lie, cheat and steal like it was OK. Heck, MY mom would have punished me just for sneaking in the back door! She'd probably have made me go out and come back in the front like you're supposed to! I didn't feel like arguing, so I got on the phone with the control center and told them to come take them off the bus. I told the thieves that it was illegal to evade the fare by paying the wrong fare and to sneak in the back door. Unfortunately, I was very busy so stayed on route. They got off at the welfare building...what a surprise. I cancelled the squad and went on my way.

Most people on the 11 are honest, hard working people. The biggest problem is usually the schedule. It seems hard to stay on time sometimes. This route also seems to ALWAYS have a chatterbox in the peanut seat. That's fine with me. It makes the day go by faster. I did have one guy on Monday that was annoying, though. He insisted on calling out the streets (even though I was doing it on the microphone) and calling out the connecting routes. That got to be irritating. Then he started telling me when my next turn was coming up! "Take a left at the next corner." That was REALLY annoying. He rode all the way to the end, of course. Then he got off and hopped on a route 10 bus. Kind of gave me a chuckle to think what that poor driver was in for!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Heard a funny story from one of the vault pullers (the people that empty the farebox). I was just pulling in from the 17 route and REALLY had to use the bathroom. There are none really late at night. Well, there's one that they always claim is "under construction" at a gas station.

The vault puller told me one female driver just couldn't hold it anymore. I don't know what route she was on, but apparently the layover is in a pretty abandoned spot. She actually pulled down her pants and held on to the bars on the back door as she poked her butt out the back door. She lost her grip on the handles,fell backwards out the door and cracked her head open on the ground outside!

Explain THAT one to the supervisor...or the ambulance guys!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Recently, I finally got a chance to use a trick that I had heard a few other drivers use.

I was driving down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. It was close to rush hour and a lot of people were getting on and off my bus. Just as I was about to close the door, a drunk guy decided to stagger over and put his foot on the bottom step. He wobbled around and didn't seem to know if he was getting on or off. I thought, "Here's my chance to see if this really works."

I pointed a few feet behind him at the sidewalk and said,"Is that your $5 bill?" He took his foot off the step and swung around,wobbling and taking a few steps away from the bus, trying to focus his eyes on the sidewalk. I closed the door and left. WOO HOO!!! It WORKS!!! It also gave quite a few people on the bus a good laugh.

I'm sure I'll be using THAT one again!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I would like to express my thanks to the Metro Transit Police, the St. Paul Police and any other agencies that took part in cleaning up the bus stop in downtown St. Paul at 5th street and Minnesota.

This particular bus stop is one that had a HUGE problem with thugs and gang members hanging out, selling drugs and intimidating transit customers and the general public. The police had cameras recording the activity for the last few months and arrested 20 losers and are looking for 80 more that were causing problems for everyone down there. I read in the paper that this past winter, these losers even had the nerve to charge people a dollar to use the bus shelter!! How dare they. Not only don't they own it, I highly doubt they pay taxes and they want to charge the tax paying citizens of St. Paul to stay warm while they wait for a bus to go to/from work????? I think they should make these criminals build shelters and hand out literature warning of the effects of crack and meth on a person. They should also have to scrub graffiti and pick up garbage for hours.

There is a consequence that I'm sure none of them was aware of. Due to a great new law passed recently, they are given a stay away warning that prohibits them from being within blocks of the place they were arrested. If they are found where they aren't supposed to be, they can be immediately arrested. Continued violations result in more jail time. I love that idea. I'm tired of seeing these same people arrested and right back out in the same place doing the same stupid stuff. Hopefully, this law will help keep the area, and other areas, safe for honest, hard-working people.

Thanks again to all the officers for a job well done!! I'm sure I speak for many people, bus riders and bus drivers alike, who are sick of these criminals taking over public places and making it unsafe to go about our regular day. Your fine work is very much appreciated!! Now, how about 7th and Hennepin/Nicollet? ;)


I am so tired of hearing about Paris Hilton!! That has been the big talk on the bus lately. I am glad I had the day off today for a break from the "news".

My unofficial survey from the chat on the bus...everyone thinks she should be put back in jail to serve her full sentence. Now that they have done that, maybe the talk will die down by the time I go back to work on Monday. I agree that it was TOTALLY unfair that she was released to her home (a mansion - what a punishment) due to some alleged medical condition. Good thing no one else serving time is ever sick anywhere in the country...EVER! What an insult to our intelligence.

Anyway, she's back where she belongs. Let's all move on with our lives and talk about something with at least a little "news" quality to it...the war in Iraq, drugs in our communities, gangs taking over, the global Aids epidemic and the orphans it leaves behind,world poverty and hunger...I'm sure we can come up with something!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


One thing that really irritates me is when people throw the race card at you. I am far from a racist and don't have time in my life for people who are.

I was driving the 21 to St. Paul the other day. It was rush hour. I was very busy and there were 2 detours but I still managed to get to Snelling and University (in St Paul) only about six minutes behind schedule. When I got there, a guy came from the back of the bus and asked me if I would give him a transfer because his had expired. I explained that transfers are for cash fares and we couldn't give them out because one had expired. (If we did that, a person would only pay one fare in their entire life!) He would have to pay another fare on his next ride. He said that, due to the detours and how long the trip was that his transfer expired and he insisted I give him another one. I explained that transfers last 2 and a half hours. The trip is FAR less than that. Also, even if I was exactly on schedule, his transfer would have been expired long before we got here anyway. I also informed him that in the future, he may want to consider taking the route 53. It is a limited stop bus that would get him there a lot quicker if he was in a hurry.

The guy started to get belligerent and said he knew we had emergency transfers we could pop out and that some drivers have transfers with a little time left on them or that I could dig into the garbage (?????!!!!!!!) and give him one that someone threw out. I told him there was no way I was putting my hand in the nasty garbage bin for him or anyone else, that I didn't have any transfers "with a little time left on them" and even if I did, I wasn't stealing from the company...on camera, no less...to give him one, and that his transfer having expired was not an emergency situation. He told me I was "inconveniencing" him. ???? I told him I'm just driving the bus and doing my job the best way I can. I explained that I get people every day that either try to scam for free rides or give me a story to get a free ride. I told him it wasn't my job to decide who was scamming and who was legitimate. I collect the fares and drive the bus.

Then he did it. He reached down into the darkest part of his empty soul and used the cruelest verbal weapon he could find. He said "If I was a blonde haired white guy, you would give me a transfer!" (This guy is black) That pissed me off. How dare he. It is really low to throw the race card into a disagreement that has absolutely nothing to do with race. I told him "No, actually I would not." Even though I had so many thoughts in my mind on how I could defend myself from this accusation. I don't have to. This loser did not know me...obviously. Yet I had to stop myself from defending myself to this shallow stranger.

Some idiot on the bus gave the guy her used transfer and, with a few choice words for me, he got off the bus.

Lesson for the day: If your transfer expires, it is time to pay another fare. Calling the bus driver a racist because you have no LEGITIMATE argument for why you deserve to trade an expired transfer for a new transfer does not work!
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