Saturday, March 08, 2008


I have a dilemma. I think I should chat with my manager about it. Actually, I may have no choice but to do so. Some lady said she was going to call in and file a complaint against me.

Here's the situation. The rules say you have to let people on the bus at your layovers. I don't have a problem with that... If I am on the bus. I used to let people on all the time when I had to run to the bathroom or stretch my legs or whatever. That lasted until one day when I had left a few people on my bus and came back to about a dozen people on the bus. I doubt they paid a fare, but what proof do I have? To make matters worse, when I went to leave that day I noticed my entire work bag was gone through and I had a pop stolen. I got thinking...what ELSE did they do?? I sometimes have food and/or drink sitting in my drivers area. We work 8-10 hour shifts...sometimes even longer. We DO need to eat, drink and occasionally use a bathroom. There are some real sickos out there and I don't think it fair that we be required to leave our food and drink open to the public. All it would take is one AIDS infected or HIV positive person or a person with hepatitis or any other catchy disease to be mad at the world and spit in our food or drink.

This may seem far reaching, but is it worth the risk? There is nothing more important than your can't live without it! Seeing as even our managers get to lock their office and the general public does not have access to their office, I think it only fair and for our safety that we are allowed to NOT let total strangers have access to our food, drink and personal property when we need a break. Heck, the average layover is about 10 minutes...what's the big deal??

In this particular case, this lady and what I am guessing was her teen daughter got on my bus downtown Minneapolis. I had purposely pulled up in front of an elderly lady so she would be able to board first. Some guy a little in front of her got on and then these two "ladies" nudged over and I heard one of them mumble something like "she's not getting on before me" and they got on. Finally, the elderly lady was able to board. That gave me a feel as to how these "ladies" were...rude and selfish. At the very end of the route, I announced that it was the last stop and they said they wanted to stay on and go the other way. This route (6E) goes a slightly different way on the way back. I'm guessing they live in the apartments it weaves through on the way back. I told the "ladies" that I had to get off to use the restroom and that I'd be right back. They wanted to stay on the bus. Seeing the type of people I was dealing with when they boarded the bus, I had no intention of leaving them alone with my stuff. I had an open bottle of water in the cup holder and a salad in a bag that hung behind me that I planned to eat later. They had just the attitude that I picture when I see some sicko that would spit in someones' water or something. I told them they'd have to wait off the bus until I returned and then they could get back on. The older one got an attitude and I tried to explain that I had had things stolen before and I had unsecured property that I would not leave on the bus with total strangers. I tried to reason with her. I even asked "Would you?" She couldn't seem to answer that so she chose to threaten to call in a complaint. I told her to do what she had to do. I was just protecting myself.

Was I wrong?? You wouldn't leave people alone in your running car...especially teenagers...yet they find it OK to do with the bus. My biggest concern is my health and giving strangers the opportunity to tamper with my food and drink. Like I said, if I am on the bus...I don't care if people are on the bus. I just think I have a right to my safety and don't think I should have to allow people on the bus with my stuff when I'm not there.

The fact that it is the END of the route should mean something. It is at the end of the route the one driver was choked with a bandanna and hijacked. Another female driver was once raped. It is only smart...and in the interest of the safety of the driver, that we be given the right to refuse to let people on the bus at the layover spots.

Let me know what you think.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that from a safty stand point that it is a good idea for a bus to be totaly empty if there is not a driver on it. I have my view not becasue of your food or what could happen to it but for a bus drivers safty. It just would make sense to me that it would not be a good idea to have people left alone on a bus when the bus driver is not always able to see it. If I was on a bus and had ridden it to the end of the line I would have no problem with a bus driver telling me I am taking a break and leaving the bus I am going to have to ask you to get off the bus until I get back at which time you can board again. This idea makes total sense to me.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are some real sickos out there and I don't think it fair that we be required to leave our food and drink open to the public. All it would take is one AIDS infected or HIV positive person or a person with hepatitis or any other catchy disease to be mad at the world and spit in our food or drink."

This offended me. It's 2008, and we've known for over twenty years that you cannot contract HIV through sharing an ice cream, kissing, etc. I appreciate the point you are trying to make, but you might consider using an example that is more truthful, appropriate, and kinder to people suffering from HIV or AIDS. They are stigmatized enough as it is.

Also, why can't you just put the food and drink in a backpack and take it off the bus with you?

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first comment is correct. It ought to be standard policy for any transit system to not allow passengers to remain on a bus when a driver or other transit system employee is not on the bus. The safety of the passengers (and it sounds like the drivers in a couple of cases as well) and the threat of litigation to the transit company are the issues.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Thanks for all your comments.

I didn't mean to offend anyone. However, seeing as saliva is a body fluid, I'm sure there are diseases that can be passed through it. I didn't want to get real gory and mention people putting blood,semen or anything else in our food or drink...but, whatever. I think you get the point. I am sorry if you were offended, I'm just trying to make a point.

As far as taking our food/drink with us...when is the last time you took yours with you to go to a public bathroom??? That is gross and not realistic. It is much easier...and just have people not on the bus when the driver is not on the bus.

I just spoke to a driver the other day that had his bag stolen off the bus. When you are dealing with the public, especially in a major metropolitan area, there are unsavory people that are out there. I'm just asking that we be allowed to be smart and safe in our job.

Thanks again for your comments. I welcome people with different views to voice their opinions. It may give a different view that I hadn't considered.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous PwcrLinux said...

Try look at onboard video's hard drive for who spitted into your cup. I didn't like anyone who spitted into driver's cups.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous ralphkramden said...

No question. Bus is empty, unattended, no driver; everybody off. You needn't feel you have to explain yourself either, just; sorry, no one is allowed on an unattended bus, perod. i'll be right back. Knowing you as I do from reading you, it wasn't like it was raining or snowing, either.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

pwc - The police or supervisor would have to remove the tape (in the old buses) or review the digital video after each layover. I think there are about 1500 drivers and each has numerous layovers per day. This is not realistic.

ralph - Thanks for seeing things my way! Seriously though, since Sept. 11th when we were asked to be extra alert and keep an eye out for threats, to have us allow total strangers aboard a bus alone is just stupid. With all the fuel they hold, they are a bomb on wheels. This is just one more reason NO ONE should be allowed on any bus that does not have a driver there.

Thank you both for your comments!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

As a rider, I absolutely agree that the bus should be empty at layovers - for the safety of everyone!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who use buses don't have the convienience of waiting in thier cars in winter, take your lunch with you and get a better attitude!

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also take the chance of being hijacked and killed ( where is the common sence here? ) all opt out sevices do not allow anybody to ride pullouts & ins, it,s a security issue for both sides, with the crime we have today, it can happen to any of us and when you least expect it.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

I see not everyone is going to agree on this issue. Thanks for all your comments though. I still say that since our layovers are usually quite short and people that take the bus normally dress for the weather (since they have to wait for the bus to arrive)and seeing the public safety and liability issues and topping it off with the safety of the driver...I stand by my "no one on the bus that has no driver on it" idea.

It just makes sense.

Thanks again to you matter what your view.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


END OF THE LINE "#########"

Mean's Just That.....


12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus what if someone stole the bus while the driver was in the loo? How much trouble would the driver be in then.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Actually, they wouldn't get far...all the buses have GPS tracking on them. The driver wouldn't be in trouble...everyone has to use the bathroom sometimes!!

6:33 PM  

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