Sunday, July 19, 2009


I was driving the 12 route Friday and got a couple regulars. The mother is a deaf mute who rides a scooter. She has an adorable little girl who is about 2 and a half years old. She often rides on her moms lap. Initially, I thought this was her grandchild, but was corrected by other riders who seem to know her. They told me it is actually her daughter.

Anyway, I put the lift down to pick up the pair. The little girl was just adorable. She was dressed in a pink "Hello Kitty" outfit. She had a matching pacifier in her mouth. I was tempted to yank the pacifier away to save the mother from future HUGE dental bills...and because the kid is a little old for a pacifier...but I restrained myself.

The little girl insisted on helping by putting the monthly pass into the farebox. She pulled it out of its little envelope and waved it around. She mumbled something that was totally not understandable. Partially due to her age and partially due to the stupid pacifier. Meanwhile, the mother left the child up by the farebox to pay the fare as she went to park in the handicapped seating area so I could strap her in. I was stowing the lift, which takes both hands. The little girl was too fast for me. She slipped the monthly pass into the dollar bill intake! I tried to reach up and catch it before it went in, but I was too late.

I turned and looked at her mother and she could tell what happened by the look on my face. I felt really bad. I realize it wasn't my job to babysit, but I still felt bad. I popped her out a 24 hour transfer, gave her a few free ride passes and had her fill out a card to put into the farebox that would provide the information to get her card mailed back to her. Of course, I called Control to inform them of the situation and let them know I had given out the day pass and free rides so I wouldn't get in trouble later. The lady seemed okay with the situation and how I handled it. I think she realized that she should have helped her child pay the fare and not left her alone to do it.

I did have two people say something to me as they got off the bus downtown. Both liked the way I handled the situation and thought I did a good job. That made me feel a little better. If either of you are reading this...thanks. It's always great to get support.

Lesson for the day...If your toddler wants to help you pay the fare, guide them through the process!!


Anonymous Matthew said...

Aw... Here I live on the 12 and I missed you. Shame.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Matt - Oh well, I was found on the 46, of all routes!! I'll be driving the 12 mon-wed afternoon rush. Too bad the contest is over! Better luck next time! Thanks for trying!

10:07 PM  
Blogger Reid said...

I'm surprised that error doesn't happen all the time. And I suppose that drivers can't open up the farebox in order to protect them from being robbed or giving out "gifts".

But it seems to me like the monthly passes and transfers should be sized such that they cannot fit into the dollar bill intake.

Love your blog!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats probably one of the advantages of GoTo payment. Those cards are unable to bend their way into the farebox. More fare retailers are selling them; mostly stores on major routes.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Reid - Yep, see anon's comment. Another plus to the go-to card!

Thanks for your comments!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous PrettyRed57 said...

Wow, I wish your system was in Augusta, GA with the Augusta Public Transit! This transit is a joke!

7:42 PM  
Blogger WebShadow said...

I got somewhat chewed out here for paying my $2.50 fare in dimes. I'm sorry I carried those up here, at least I didn't (unlike the guy behind me) pay by slipping a sheet of paper into the dollar bill slot, and when it spat it back out (electric one like a soda machine), stuffed it in the farebox and said it was a transfer.

I immediately told the bus driver.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't live in Minneapolis, I don't ride the bus anymore, but I did read about you in "Transit Intelligence". They had a link to your blog. Now I am crackin' up here at work, thanks for the laughs and keep on bloggin'!
Alli in Oakland, CA

9:11 PM  
Blogger King Madrias said...

Don't worry, still Good ol' WebShadow, but under a more known name for me. Don't worry, feel free to call me Mad, but watch it on alternatives to that.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Pretty - Most people that come here from other states are quite impressed with our transit system. I had one guy that was amazed...said he could set his watch by my bus because it was always exactly on time. We try. Now...we just need more light rail trains!

Web - Personally, I don't care if people pay with pennies, just so they pay and don't jam up the farebox! If you pay with a lot of change, just put it in slowly. So, you are the King of Mad, huh?

Alli - Welcome! Glad you found my blog and that you find it entertaining. There's nothing funner than real people!! Keep on never know what is going to happen on the bus!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous randee said...

ah.. jeanne... ok I KNOW you drive buses but, an impressive transit system? ah no... I've been to london oh now there is a good trans system... or anywhere else for that matter... mpls/st. paul have a LONG... way to go... I am vi (visually impared) so I take buses all the time... and honestly I am just not that impressed now ours might be better then some but we still need alot more buses trains whatever better mass trans to more suberbs not just during rush hr.

thanx for listening these are just my thoughts as I take the buses everyday...

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive is relative. I'm from Des Moines, IA so compared to them Mpls/St Paul's system is amazing. Compared to Chicago/London/New York less so. Overall I think we do pretty good.

What we need is better signage (among other things.) If you are at point A and suddenly decide you would rather go to point D - good luck figuring out how to get there on the bus. Every stop should be labeled with with the route numbers, times and where the buses go. Especially, farther out where the buses don't run as often. Vancouver, BC does this and even if you are out in the boonies and don't know any of the routes you can figure out how to get places.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Randee & Anon - Thanks for your comments. True...depends on what you are comparing it to. I just know the riders I get are quite impressed...I've never been on their transit systems. I agree...we need more trains! They are working on it. It just takes time.

Glad you enjoy my blog!

6:40 PM  

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