There have been three high-profile incidents involving bus drivers in the last week or so. One that CBC reported on yesterday involves a passenger who asked a driver why he was 40 minutes late and after a short back and forth between the two of them the driver got off the bus. The ATU 279 has responded by supporting the driver saying he did the right thing in extricating himself from a conflict situation with a passenger. In the video attached to the story on the CBC site, the union is reported as saying that all their drivers should report conflict situations to their controller, pull over and put the four-way flashers on and wait for someone to show up and that if this means that buses are pulling over on the 417 “so be it”.
It concerns me is that this could result in buses stopping at the side of the 417, a highway where there’s often not a lot of clearance at the sides of the road, particularly downtown, meaning that any vehicle at the side of the road is at risk of being hit. In the case of a bus where there could be 30 or 40 people on board, that’s putting an awful lot of people on the bus at risk, not to mention passing drivers. I hope that drivers will be more responsible and leave the 417 and pull over at the side of the road after they’ve left the high-speed highway where it will be safer to stop.
As for the passenger in yesterday’s incident who demanded to know why the bus was 40 minutes late and upon not being told why encouraged his fellow passengers to complain, too, I think he needs to remember that the drivers are accountable to their employer (i.e. OC Transpo) for their job performance and not directly to the passengers. There can be circumstances beyond the driver’s control, such as being called in to replace a bus that broke down or heavy traffic that can cause a bus to be legitimately late. One shouldn’t automatically assume that it’s the driver’s fault that he or she is late. Even if it is the driver’s fault, there’s no need to be a jerk about it and take it out on the driver — call customer relations at 613-842-3600 or file a complaint online at http://www.octranspo1.com/about-octranspo/customer_service.