Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day Two

Today was a light day as far as the bus goes. Sande was going to take the bus to work. Thad's mom normally watches Sammy on Tuesday. She took the Blue Line East from her place at Oak Towers to our bus stop at the corner of Rice and Osage. Sande met her there with Sammy. Sammy went back home with Grandma and Sande was off to work.
One thing that we have noticed in the short time we have been riding the bus is that those folks who really depend on the bus as their sole source of transportation can sometimes have a pretty hard time getting where they need to go. Sometimes the bus service does something to make their position even more difficult.
Today was one of those days for one man on the Blue Line West at the corner of Rice and Ballenger. The bus slowed down like it was going to stop and then, for some unknown reason, sped up and simply passed by him. The bus then stopped for another man who was not even at a regular stop!!! I'm not sure why this happened but we felt really bad for the guy who got passed. The pass by essesntially made his trip 40 mintues longer than it needed to be.
Sande got to Wabash and then transferred to the Orange Line going south. It was the first time Sande has ever had the whole bus to herself. It was VERY INTERESTINGto meet and talk to the driver Esam.

Esam was Sande's driver for the Orange Line South between Wabash and her job at Green Meadows Hair Company. He is from Dallas, Texas. Esam is married with 5 young children. We drove by his church and he was joking about how the younger kids in his church help to bring so much joy to the older people. He told Sande that people here seemed much more friendly than folks in Dallas. He said he really likes his job and that he really likes it here in Columbia. Esam was a VERY INTERESTING person and Sande really had a good time talking to him.
Overall Sande rated the trip at a 4 out of 5. However, she gives the first bus driver on her Blue Line West trip a negative 10 for completely blowing off the person standing at an approved bus stop. I'm sure his day did not go well at all and he may have even been late for work. I know everyone spaces out from time to time but we think the bus drivers should definitely stop at approved regular stops.
One of the things that is not so good about the bus system here in Columbia is that it doesn't run late enough on Monday through Wednesday. The bus basically stops running at 6:25pm. This is not late enough for Sande to take the bus home so she ended up having to have Thad's mom pick her up to get home.
Who knows, maybe if more people start using the bus, the city would find a reason to extend the hours on Monday through Wednesday. I would think that for the price of one parking garage we could run a lot of busses but that's about as political as I want to get here.
Tomorrow Sande is going to her Chiropractor and then to work on the bus. Sammy, Thad, and Grandma are going to be taking the bus out to Columbia Mall to let Sammy play in the afternoon. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!!!!

8 Comments:

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with this project! I hope it works out for you, and I would be interested to see a comparison of what your family spent on bus fares vs. what would have been spent on gasoline at the end of the month.

 
At 3:09 AM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

Thanks for the question. There is no doubt we will save money. This whole thing started when I reviewed my gasoline expenses for the period of 3/14 - 4/14. During that time, my family spent $465.00 on gasoline. In a normal week we fill our van (that's the car we use for tooling around town for errands and such) at least one time for an average expense of $50 - $60. In the time we've been experimenting both formally and informally (about 2 weeeks so far), we've gone through about $25.00 in gasoline in the van and actually seen a decrease in the gasoline usage in our other car as well. I think this may be due to the fact that we are finding ways to leave it parked periodically as well. Anyway, bottom line is that right now I am cinservatively estimating a savings of about $40/week. At this rate we should save about $150 over the course of the month although we'll have to wait and see to find out what really happpens. Right now we estimate we will spend about $30 on bus fare over the month. That gives us a projected net savings of $120/month by taking the bus, although it could EASILY turn out to be more than that, based on what we've seen this past two weeks.

 
At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Simmons Family! What an awesome experience you are undertaking. I wanted to let you know that I have notified an individual that works for Columbia Transit about your story. Hopefully they will check in periodically to see what type of experiences you are having. It would be great if they address some of your concerns, etc. I look forward to reading about your experiences over the next month. Have fun!

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Lee Radtke said...

Hi Simmons Family! Welcome aboard Columbia Transit. I do marketing for Transit, but I've been a bus rider since long before this job. Here's a tip for new riders: program the Wabash Station phone number into your cell: 874-7282. That way you can call us for information wherever you are.
About the man who was passed up on Blue West - I don't know why the driver didn't pick him up. Not everyone standing at a bus stop is waiting for a bus, so drivers slow down to look for some indication that the person wants a ride. Usually, passengers start toward the bus, nod their heads or give some sign acknowledging us - and then we pick 'em up. If something like that happens again, let us know the date and time so we can ask the driver about it.
The way we see it, we don't just drive people around town. Because of us, our passengers don't have to skimp on food to pay for car insurance and repairs. They don't have to pay a taxi to get to a doctor. They don't have to ask others to drive them everywhere because their eyesight is bad or they have a medical condition that makes it dangerous for them to drive. They can keep their dignity, their independence. We take that very seriously.
One last thing - if you take your bike, you can get to Clovers (Sammy will have to stay home for this trip). Take Red West to West Boulevard, bike almost to Stadium, then go right on Westwinds. Go past the park and on the left, you'll find a path that leads to a pedestrian/bike traffic light that will get you safely across Stadium. Head down the sidewalk to Chapel Hill Road and you're at Clovers. It's really a nice little ride.
Anyway, thanks for riding and blogging - and I'll see you on the bus.

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Simmons Family,
Yesterday I experienced something bothersome as well. At about 10:45 a.m. I think the same driver you were you talked about,is hyper and loud, was somehow rude to one elderly rider,I rather not mention his name. This very old, skinny lady came on the bus with a cup of water for her thirst and the driver was SCREAMING at her to throw the cup away before riding the bus. She told him It's just tap water and she has to keep drinking because her throat gets dry very quick. He told her to then throw it in the garbage bucket on the bus until she gets off. I really felt so bad for her because she looked to be about 80 years old and she looked sad and embarassed from the way he talked to her. But at the same time, the other bus driver came I guess to relieve this other driver,I think you said his name is Esam, took over and got the cup out of the garbage bucket and gave it to the elderly lady and told her sorry about that and please try not to drink on the bus.Anyway, This man,Esam, is always nice and polite and lower the bus to practically everyone and wait until the riders sit down before taking off.I relly felt good how someone like him was so caring and concerned for the elderly lady's feelings.When she got to her destination on Rice St.,she kept thanking him for his kindness before she got off the bus.He really touched me with his kindness and treated her as a person and not just a job.

 
At 6:19 AM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

Esam is really terrific. From the very few times we have ridden his bus, I agree completely that he is very kind. We are lucky that he is out there working on our bus system. Please see my bog entry from 5/3 to see yet another example of his kindness. You know I've been trying to score the rides we receive and after seeing him work the past couple of days I'm just going to go ahead and give him 25 extra bonus points for kindness. I know the points don't mean anything but I, and others on the bus I'm sure, really really appreciate him and the job he does. Thanks you Esam, I hope you get the chance to read what others are saying about you.

 
At 2:56 PM, Anonymous CT Driver said...

Dear anonymous...
I'm a bus driver for Columbia Transit.

Thanks for your comments! I must say that it's the job of drivers to enforce the rules on the bus-- one of those rules is no open containers that can spill on the bus. This is a safety and courtesy matter. Moisture on the floor can and is dangerous. Spilled Soda or other sugary drinks also makes a nasty mess and gets sticky on passengers' shoes- it's really difficult to get out of carpets at home or work. Plus, if the bus hits a bump (you know that section of Worley from Providence to Garth-- BUMPY!) someone will be wearing that drink! Containers that seal and won't leak are allowed on the bus-- I recommend everyone who would like to take along their morning coffee (or other soft beverage of choice) get one if they can afford it.

Sorry the driver was loud-- I know this driver and he has a very loud voice and doesn't always realize the volume he's talking in- I'm sure he didn't mean to "scream". Get to know him, he's really a nice guy, as are all our drivers.

Thanks for riding CT, you're the reason we all have a job!

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, not all the drivers are nice. Most are, but a few shouldnt have became a bus drvier. Now because I dont belive in telling poeple out, it will be up to the company to find them, but their there. They ussally intarigate someone that pays a half fare without proper ID. Come on, its a freaking bus! The city pays for it anyways, so a missing 25 cents WONT KILL THE SYSTEM!! So stop acting like its vitial to get that extra quater, just let them be!
Also, the bad drivers tend to drive aradicly, causeing the ride to be nausiating and yes, painful. If the driver stops suddenly because they did'nt slow down fast enough, you can hit your head on the seat handle or pole.
And never expect these drivers to say "Hi" or "Bye".
Yea, I must say that in the last two years, those drivers have left. But some still remain. I ask that the system manegers review the tapes from the bus carefuly and get rid of rude and poor drivers, give more respect to the buses.

 

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