Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not on my bus lady "I can't be bothered".......

I really felt awful for the woman on the #66 bus Saturday morning (January 6th) who tried to get her CharlieCard reloaded first at a retail outlet and then on the bus and could not. She had gone to ALL CHECKS CASHED on Harvard Avenue but apparently they were having a problem with the T's computer and could not reload the card. But they gave her the instructions from the T's website on how to do it on the bus and even printed it out for her.

Then she boarded bus 2137 that had left Harvard Square for Dudley on the #66 route around 10:30 AM. The driver flat out refused to let her do it saying "Not on my bus lady, I can't be bothered." This was not a rush hour situation as there were perhaps 8 people on the bus and no one was waiting to board. This woman did EXACTLY what the T asks riders to do. From the T website it says

using on-board fareboxes to add stored-value can hold up boarding lines and cause transit delays. Consider loading value at full-service in-station fare vending machines or retail sales terminals prior to boarding. She did that and for her trouble wound up paying $1.75 more to get to work.

This is no small matter and it is something the T has to address NOW. This woman was now forced to spend $3.00 for 2 bus rides instead of $1.25 because the only way you can get a bus to bus transfer now is on a CharlieCard or a CharlieTicket that has value on it before you board. If you pay cash there is no transfer.

Now who really is at fault here? One can question the driver's attitude but in the memo the drivers were given about the new changes the adding value at a farebox was not mentioned. In my opinion the driver was wrong but he is a product of the T's culture towards customer service. Riders can complain and nothing ever changes.

The new fareboxes were designed to do this so obviously this is what the T wanted in the first place. For example in Chicago you can not add value to the Chicago Card on a bus, you have to go to an L station or retail location.

The T has to make a policy decision on this now and in fact if they want riders to have this option then the drivers have to be told it is the rule PERIOD. If they don't want riders to do this then disable the option and take the instructions off the website.

The T is trying to instruct people to load up their cards before getting on a bus. On the #66 route they now have signs at every bus stop telling people where to go to do so. But the woman I mentioned tried to do so and was rebuffed. Yes everybody is trying to adjust to the new system and it will have growing pains. However there needs to be clear direction from T management on how things are implemented in the field. This is a prime example.

It really would be nice if the managers at 10 Park Plaza actually rode a bus once in awhile they might learn something about how public transit is supposed to work.


Anonymous said...

How could the driver stop her? She could get on the bus, push the magic white button, and tap her card, and be halfway done before the driver even realized what she was doing.

Fenway said...

Anonymous said...
How could the driver stop her? She could get on the bus, push the magic white button, and tap her card, and be halfway done before the driver even realized what she was doing.

she told him what she was going to do and asked for help

Fenway said...

an update

At the time of the incident we sent an email to the T garage in question.

5 days later the T sent this email

Thank you for your email regarding the discourteous operator on
bus route 66. We appreciate hearing from you and we sincerely
apologize for the operator's behavior. There is no excuse for it.

We assure you that we do not tolerate this type of behavior. The
type of behavior you describe goes against all the operator's

The operator was identified, interviewed and was discpline for his
action on our courtesy policy and will be send to class for courtesy.

Any further infractions may result in more severe disciplinary
action. The MBTA has a progressive disciplinary policy, up to and
including termination.

Again, we apologize for the operator's actions. Thank you again for

Carrie Dubose
Superintendent of Transportation
Cabot Garage