Sunday, December 07, 2008

MY FIRST DAY ON ROUTE 12

I just got trained last Tuesday on the 12 route. Perfect timing. I got a 10-plus hour piece of work on it on Wednesday! Not a bad route. I did have a couple of small issues.

First, I was picking up a group of people at one stop. This lady gets on and puts a monthly mobility pass in the farebox. I asked her for mobility ID. She shows me her state ID with no endorsements. The card was still sticking out of the slot so I took it and told her that she needed the mobility endorsement and without it it was not a valid payment and was, in fact, illegal. She paid the fare and went and sat down. I kept the card to turn in. There was a guy a few people back that had yelled at her to just get on. When he got on, he put in a quarter and showed me mobility ID. I told him the fare was 75 cents. He said he seemed to have lost his card and would be right back. He went back and spoke with the lady that had used the monthly card. He then came back up and pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket to pay the rest of the fare. Again, he said he seemed to have lost his pass. Being a little irritated at being played like a dummy, I said "You didn't happen to lose it by giving it to that other lady, did you?" He smiled and gave a slight nod. He asked if he could have the card back. I told him "Absolutely not. It was used illegally and has to be turned in." I explained that what he did was a felony and that it was all on camera...not a bright move. He said he was just trying to help the lady out. I told him I wouldn't call the police, but if I did I asked him if it was worth it. He got the picture and went and sat down. I later wrote "Confiscated. Used illegally." on the card and slid it into the farebox.

Later I had a couple get on. The guy was so drunk he could hardly stand up. The lady seemed much more together. I asked if he was with her. She said he was, paid her fare and sat down. The drunk guy was drooling all over himself as he stood there searching for his fare. I told him to have a seat while he looked. I didn't want him to fall down and I had to continue driving. He quit looking for his fare a couple times and I finally told him he'd have to hop off. He did. Well, I wouldn't say he hopped off. More like he poured himself out the door. The lady apologized later when she got to the end of her ride. I told her it wasn't her fault. He was a grown man and needed to be responsible for himself.

Other than that, the 12 wasn't a bad route. I didn't have to drive through the maze they call Opus, but I'm sure I will someday. Wish me luck!

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main problem with this route from a passenger perspective is that many people don't get that there are two places to board westbound buses at Uptown Station. Non-rush trips are facing West by the 21's and 23's while rush hour trips are on Southbound Hennepin.

I'd think the hard part for drivers is that there's very little room to maneuver when you're pulling into the layover area at Uptown Station. Every time I ride this route I'm amazed that no major accident evidence is around.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I have been following your blog for a couple months now and really enjoy it! I drive for the DTA in Duluth, and can relate to a lot of your stories! Keep up the good work!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog! One minor peeve: Please stop referring to misdemeanors as "felony offenses". To anyone in the know it sounds lofty and an exaggeration. Takes away credibility from what is otherwise a very good read. It is a felony to ASSAULT a transit employee such as yourself, but that's about it for the routinely higher classification of crime in transit. Any type of fare evasion, mobility mis-use related or otherwise, is a misdemeanor and falls into the familiar $180.00 FINE category. Make no mistake, action WILL be taken against those making the driver's job more difficult in this area, regardless of the classification! You can and will be arrested for fare evasion on a bus as well as a train. The penalty is identical. A felony though, is a "serious" crime and carries a penalty of a minimum year in jail, going up from there.

Oh, and I'm married. *wink* See you on the street, kid.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Martini said...

To anonymous #1 reguarding the Rte. 12 termianl at Uptown Transit Station.

During rush hour the Rte.12 bus is coming out of downtown,1st and 1st ave. N. to be exact. Ergo when it makes it's way to Uptown, it is southbound on Hennepin Ave.

Non-rush hour times Rte.12 is merely a shuttle bus from the Hopkins area to the Uptown Transit Station, it needs a place to turn around so it's pointing in the correct direction to go West again.

Can't turn a bus around in "someone's driveway" so....as the "shuttle" it continues past Hennepin Ave. down Lake St. to Dupont just like a Rte. 23. Takes a left on Dupont, a right on Fremont and a left into the backside of the Transit Station and shares the same parking space with the Rte.23 bus. Hopefully someday this will change but I doubt if it will be anytime soon.

Rumor has it that lots of changes will be coming to that area,allowing for more space for buses to get in and manuever around in there.

We don't crash much in there because we ARE all so careful due to the lack of space, I'm sure there have been a few close calls though.

It would be much easier too if people didn't drive their cars back in there, one of the things that I think they are also looking at to change.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

Hey Jeanne Ree........not to worry, once you've been back into the Opus area a few times.....it'll be a piece of cake for you too!

I have to do it 3days out of 5 next pick!

(Just watch out for.....deer,racoons,opposums,muskrats.......it's ALL out there)

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Red said...

The T is a public service and Not a "Hitler Youth Camp".
Thus,there should be No fare(as part of the Obama Deal).

7:15 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.”

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and WITHOUT fares it would become a rolling homeless shelter/drunk tank/soapbox platform/gang hangout/you name it. The $1.75 is all taht stands between it's being a public transportation system and a haven for the scum of the earth taht wnats to get on and make other's lives miserable when those people just want to get where they have to be. That $1.75 is all that stands between the driver being alowed to DRIVE the bus and being a full time referee. I've seen scuzzbags trying tio get on, shuddered at the thought of them sitting next to (and in one case LEAKING ON) me, and breathed a sigh of relief when the driver booted them off for not paying. If they can afford the booze..... If the "T" goes free I'm buying a bicycle. I'd never ride it again.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd argue that while the poster above is correct that some fare is necessary to keep people from living on the transit, it would be nice if the fares would stop going up for the Obama years. The fare does not need to be a huge amount to keep the drunks off.

I'd even advocate for a decrease in fare to $1 if I didn't know that that's economically unrealistic.

My main fair gripe is that I don't feel that rush hour is fair--just because I work "regular hours" some days doesn't mean I have more money than people who only work different shifts.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean "trained on a route"? It sounds like you've been driving a bus for a while now; can't they just give you a map? Or do they think you're too stupid to read one?

Perhaps this is how the fares got so high,,,

6:58 AM  
Blogger Martini said...

Hey Anonymous.......you are beginning to sound a bit s----d yourself there. You got a problem with the rise in bus fare .....take it up with the "company" not the drivers......you're "complaining" to the wrong dept.

Same thing with the schedule......we don't make up the time frame....the scheduling dept. does that.

I'd like to know how YOU correlate rising bus fares with being trained on a bus rte.

Not that your attitude even warrants an explanation but...... this particular bus rte is "new" to her garage........ANY driver, veteran OR rookie......would get trained on a rte that had never existed at their garage before.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someday very soon you're going to have trouble paying for everything you need, too. Sure it's not the driver's fault that fares are so ridiculous, but pretty much every other service worker knows that in tough economic times you cut customers slack.

I think pretty soon we're going to see fare evasion jump a lot higher. In Sweden there's an organization that poor people can pay small monthly dues to, and they'll pay your fine if you get caught evading the fare! It's a great idea.

People like you who think Law is God are soon going to be left in the dust.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Martini said...

Perhaps if EVERYONE actually PAID their bus fare....it wouldn't keep going up......and if Sweden sounds so appealing to you.....well, .....

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martini - I don't know what this other guy meant, but I think if my boss came in and said, hey, you're a veteran bus driver, but you need to get "trained" on this route because it is new to your garage, I'd be insulted because I can read a map. How dumb does the dirtbag boss think I am?

As for fare evaders, it's too bad you can't carry a bb gun and shoot the m-f-ers. Most of 'em is drunks, punks and they got the money for booze.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey anonymous, can you imagine how stupid that veteran driver would feel if he/she got lost because they thought he could read a map? Do you send a doctor in to operate on a new proceedure with instructions only? Same with any job. People need to be trained even if they have been doing the job for years. And when they are trained, they are taken off there work to be trained, so no overtime for them. Everybody can learn a new thing or two.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Geez! Seems I've left you all alone a little too long! Martini and Anon...back to your corners. Everyone has a right to their opinion. We can always agree to disagree. That's what makes this world a great place!

Regarding the training issue...It would be quite unprofessional and irresponsible of any transit company in any major metropolitan area not to show their drivers where each route goes. They also let drivers know where the bus stops are...and are not. Sometimes there are numerous routes on the same street that have different bus stops. The good instructors also point out the businesses on each route that are on our authorized bathroom list...they allow us to use their bathrooms (We love them!!)Anyway, route training is absolutely necessary...coming from someone that actually drives a bus.

Red - Mass transit IS a public service. So are police and fire, which we pay for with taxes. Would it be fair to raise taxes for a service that not all people use? The truth is, it is very expensive to run thousands of bus trips each day 365 days a year. The government does heavily subsidize transit. The actual fares pay very little of the costs of the service. To complain about fares when they cost about the same as a cup of coffee is ridiculous. Two and a half hours of bus riding is a much better deal. Hmmmm..how much does it cost to run a bus for two and a half hours...just fuel alone even....??

I had to laugh about the supposed Sweden scam. If people can pay a bill every month for insurance in case they are busted for not paying the fare...why not just pay the fare and you won't NEED the "insurance". That is ridiculous!

Bubba - Welcome! Glad to have you here. Keep enjoying the blogs...no two days are the same..as you know, I'm sure!

Anon - (I wish people would use a name so EVERYONE isn't anon.!) Anyway, we drivers are given these small blue papers to hand out to those that evade the fare claiming mobility or misusing mobility passes. They clearly state that it IS a felony to do so. Punishable by up to 3 years in prison and/or $5000 fine. I didn't make that up. I do think it is extreme but believe it is meant to deter the crime. Mobility is HIGHLY subsidized by the government and I think that is why the punishment is so extreme. Uncle Sam doesn't play when it comes to "his" money. I pride myself in honesty and wouldn't just make something like that up. Thanks for the "wink" though...back at ya! I'm guessing I know who you are, but being anonymous...I'm trying to fig'r it out. Thanks for your comments.

I have a lot more catching up to do. Thank you all for reading and for your comments. You make this fun! Stay tuned!

12:08 PM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

I don't mean to be rude but you sure seem like a *fanatic* about enforcing the fare, way beyond the typical bus driver. IMHO, discretion is the better part of valour. Keeping the bus peaceful and running smoothly should be priority #1. Of course, there are times when fare evasion is a good excuse to get rid of a troublemaker. I remember one day on the #18 a guy got on without paying by slipping past someone, thinking the driver failed to notice. He then started bothering the lady he sat next to. After about three blocks, the bus driver ordered him to pay or leave, saying "If you hadn't have bothered the lady, I would have let it go...." BTW, I have a GoTo card so I always have my fare. No personal motive for my comment.

3:59 PM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

Route 12 used to be "express" from downtown to Lake & Hennepin. Pick up only outbound, drop off only inbound. (By modern standards this would be called "limited stop", not "express".) The 12 went all the way to/from downtown at all hours 7 days a week and was a useful alternative to the 6 for getting between Uptown and Downtown. I wish they'd go back to that....

4:12 PM  
Blogger minneapolismayor said...

John makes a fair point; however, it does seem that everyone should have to pay fare for things to be fair. Still, it can be annoying if you're in a rush and the driver won't leave the corner until someone pays and everyone on the bus has to wait. It makes you wish for the "good old days" (which I wasn't alive for) when the streetcar driver concentrated only on the track and a conductor at the rear handled fare collection.

I agree about rt. 12 and how it should go all the way downtown. If more people on Hennepin rode the bus, maybe they could finance it. Also, I think Route 12 was only limited stop during the daytime, not the weekend. They still run all the way downtown during Rush Hour, and maybe the agency wants further-off riders to use express alternatives to route 12 as well.

More to the point, they ought to restore some 24-hour service on Routes 6, 10, 18 and 21, at the very least.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Red " the Real One" said...

In the Great City of Chicago and the hometown of the President-elected seniors ride for free.
Its time this small town get with the programme.

MTC Drivers are trained(code3) to pass people that can not pay the fare.And not turn the bus into a cirrus.

8:19 AM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

I agree "Fare is fair", but *sometimes* it makes sense to sacrifice technical fairness for efficiency. That's all I was trying to say.

As to Route 12, in the 1970s it was "express" at all times, then went to weekdays daytime only in the early 1980s. The term "Limited Stop" for a non-freeway bus with restricted stops wasn't in use here until the mid-1980s.

24-hour service was tried on the 6, 10, 18, and 21 circa 1998; there just wasn't enough traffic to keep it going, however there is a 2 AM run on the 6, 10, and 18 thanks to that experiment (and probably also thanks to bar hours getting extended from 1 to 2 AM).

As to free fares for seniors, that was also the case in the Twin Cities during the 1970s. That ended 1 July 1979 when the general public fare went from 30 to 40 cents, the off-peak senior fare went from 0 to 10 cents except for those whose incomes were below a certain level and got a special pass to still ride free (that program didn't last very long).

5:21 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

John - Good to see you! Thanks for your comments. Keep in mind that as drivers, we often run in to the same fare evaders over and over again. Normally, that is the situation when the driver stays at the stop until the person pays or exits. I just had this happen yesterday. In fact, I'm going to blog about it after I'm done with the comments.

Red - I AM an MTC driver...fare evasion is illegal. The police can, will and often do give a $180 ticket to fare evaders. There needs to be some incentive to pay the fare. $180 would pay a lot of fares!
Code 3??!! That has nothing to do with fare evaders. It has to do with the farebox codes. Thanks for your comments, though.

1:06 PM  

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