Saturday, January 03, 2009


I was doing the nice, mellow 24 route yesterday. I was westbound on Franklin when I pulled up at 13Th avenue. This lady got on with a mug of coffee. It was steaming and had no cover on it. I immediately recognized her as a person who often tries to get a free ride. I said "Good Morning" to her and informed her that she needed to have a cover on any drink that is brought on the bus. Especially one that is hot. I had a feeling she was not going to pay a fare, so I used her drink as an excuse. I told her I would wait for her to pay and sit down before I moved the bus. I told her I didn't want her to spill that hot coffee on me or anyone else.

She proceeded to tell me she had lost her transfer and that she wasn't going far. This was the umpteenth time she used this excuse. She really needs to be more creative. I told her that that wasn't going to work with me this time. She had tried that far too many times and she would get no more free rides from me. I had let her go the first time or her the benefit of the doubt. This was one time too many. She'd have to pay a fare or step off the bus. Realizing she was busted, she got off the bus.

This is just a reminder to those that ride the bus. Sometimes, the driver has had previous experience with certain passengers. Especially fare evaders. We are not just being mean by requesting the fare. Often, we are saying enough is enough to this particular individual. It's happened countless times to me over the past 8 years. To other passengers on the bus, they see only this one situation. To the driver, this is one of many attempted fare evasions and the person is either going to get off the bus or have the police take them off. We don't do that to be mean. We do that to keep order and let those scammers know that they must play by the rules like everyone else. It is illegal to ride the bus without paying the fare. It is also cheaper to pay the fare than to pay the $180 ticket you will get for fare evasion. I'd just like to thank the overwhelming majority of passengers that pay their fares every day without issue and make my day, and everyone elses, less stressful and much more pleasant. You are appreciated!!


Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

OK, I'll quit posting comments that appear to defend fare evaders. I agree many of them are jerks *in addition* to being fare evaders. All I was trying to say is there is a wide range on the spectrum of bus drivers between strict and lenient on such issues as fares, stroller rules, food/drink, cursing, and non-bus stop boarding/alighting. I tend to support the go-along/get-along camp for efficiency's sake, not because I sympathise w/ troublemakers. I've said my final piece on the subject. Carry on!

P.S. I love the #12! It's one of my favourite routes. I also ride the #2 from time to time, mostly at night....

4:52 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

John - feel free to post whatever comments you want. You have a right to your opinion. Everyone doesn't have to agree all the time. That's what makes conversation!
True, bus drivers are not all alike...just like anyone else. We come from a broad variety of backgrounds. We have differing feelings and beliefs...just like any other group of random people. We just happen to have a common occupation.
In my opinion, our differences are what make us interesting.
Your comments are welcome...whatever they may be!
Thanks for enjoying my blogs!

5:06 PM  
Blogger minneapolismayor said...

It seems like a number of your fare evader stories happen on Franklin Avenue. That would lead me to believe that the 24 is only mostly quiet.

And yeah, it's understandable that you deal with repeat evaders this way. Just imagine, if you still drove the same route every day, you'd get to see the same evaders MORE!

Even regular passengers on certain routes recognize repeat nuisance people. I remember a pair of intoxicated individuals that repeatedly tried to get away with only paying one fare between the two of them. They used to board the 17W by the E Hennepin/Central White Castle. They sometimes said they were only gonna be on for a short time, but guess what--that's all that's left--the bus is at layover within 10 minutes, but you still gotta pay!

Jeanne, what do you think of bus curb cuts? I think they're ok in the summer but a big pain in the winter when they're not well plowed and people have to climb over snowbanks to get to the bus--which oftentimes can't pull in very well.

10:48 PM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

I ride the 24 a lot, usually at night, typically 10 or 11 PM on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. It's deader than a doornail. Often my comrades and I are the only passengers. Occasionally 2 or 3 others are there to hear Comrade Mike's Marxist-Leninist sermons. We usually board at Franklin LRT, they get off at 28th and I at Lake. It's a pretty good route.

I would guess that if there's a problem with jerks/fare evaders on the 24, it would be between downtown and ALDI. The rest of the route just doesn't get that clientele....

The 2 is usually a drunkfest. Either a college drunkfest or a ghetto drunkfest; fortunately not often both at once (that would be explosive)!

Well anyway have a nice day!

2:27 PM  
Blogger abqdave said...

I would guess the hardest part of being a bus driver is the social worker part. You see so many people in very different life situations.

If I were in your position, I am sure on some days I would feel great sympathy for people 'down on their luck' and want to let them on without paying, and on other days would feel 'get a job, you bum' and want them to pay. Which is exactly the range of feelings I have seeing these situations as a passenger.

I hope writing this blog and getting feedback helps you deal with this constant struggle.

I originally starting riding the bus in 2005 to be green, but now I think the part of the experience of most value to me is seeing how different other people's life is from mine.

I think every politician should have to use public transportation regularly to see what the real world is like.

7:27 PM  
Blogger minneapolismayor said...

That would be nice for the politicians. So many of them have no clue, including our mayor.

Yeah, the 24's problems are between lrt and downtown. Like when moron passengers get mad when the bus takes a right on Park and they swear at the driver.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

And you are appreciated too! I think MetroTransit drivers are some of the best people around.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Minn - Most of the fare evaders on Franklin ride the they can get to Zipps liqour store! As far as the curb cuts, I think those are more for wheelchairs, walkers etc...than for buses. If the driver is smart and the snow is bad, they will pull ahead and pick people up in the street just past the bus stop when possible. Then people can board from level ground.

John - Yeah, the 2 is totally different than the 24 even though we both go down Franklin for some time. I describe the 2 as the route with the college students at one end and the crackheads at the other. Depending on the day and the time, both sides often get the drunks!

Abq - I agree...politicians should park the cars the taxpayer is paying for and ride public transit whenever possible...especially to and from work. The only time I had a politician on my bus was when the Mayor poked his head into the door to introduce me to some people that were going to be here for the Republican National Convention. It was strange...I was just sitting at a red light!

I actually enjoy the variety of people. It is interesting. No two days are the same!!

Brenda - Thank you!! That was nice. I almost hurt my arm giving myself a pat on the back. ;) It's great to have positive feedback. I TOLD you there were a lot of good people out there! Glad to see there are here too!

Thanks U all for your comments. Keep enjoying the blog!

3:42 PM  

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