Asheville Redefines Transit . . . as draconian

I had a problem with the Route 26 driver on the May 12, 6:15 p.m. Run.

I was confused about the bus stops in immediate downtown area. I thought it was Route 170 that couldn't stop at the Jackson Building. I was caught between stops and was hoping they could let me on there at the Jackson Building, as there is a stop sign there anyway. I asked this driver if he could please let me on. I said I was just trying to get to Ingles and was confused about the bus stops.

All he did was berate me (while he was stopped) and tell me to step away from the bus. If he'd just let me on and warned me that no buses could stop there, that would have been reasonable. Instead, he took more time berating me than it would have taken to simply let me on the bus and warn me that bus does not stop there. Unlike this driver, I was not rude. There is simply no excuse at all for this kind of behavior. This driver should be given a reprimand and be required to take a training session on customer service — without pay.

I was interested in volunteering for the “bus ambassador” program to become more familiar with this new route system and to help others learn it — without pay. However, because of this incident, I am no longer interested.

I should also note that I recently dealt with a very polite bus driver (4:00 p.m. Route 2). She was friendly and offered to let me out closer to where I live on Broadway since traffic was at a standstill and I'd already rang the bell. If more drivers were like her, the ART could become a great transit system.

I'm really tired of the poor attitudes some of these drivers have and how draconian the system has become with regards to stops.

— David Hall


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One thought on “Asheville Redefines Transit . . . as draconian

  1. Marlie

    The above post doesn’t support its hyperbolic title, especially since the ill-described incident happened prior to the ART phase I implementation on this Monday, May 21st. I would like for the reading public to understand a few aspects of the public transportation system so that, while ART is undergoing these significant changes, we might all maintain charitable attitudes on the buses, at bus stops and at the Transit Center, as well as in traffic, towards other riders, drivers, transit officials, and all motorists on the City’s streets. I am a daily rider of seven years. I have been on the routes of most every driver on staff during those years. Admittedly, there have been a few drivers here and there who lacked some necessary customer service skills. Overall, though, the drivers on staff now are excellent. There are many rules that drivers must follow. Some are for the safety of passengers and other motor vehicles. Some are to meet expectations by the public and transit officials, such as on-time service. These are the general motivations for the ‘stopping only at a bus stop’ rule. Drivers are not allowed to stop and/or pick up a rider unless it is at a designated stop. Charitably speaking, the driver mentioned above was in a bad spot: he may have both wanted to help the rider and to follow the rules. A person who does not ride often may not know, in the kind of case mentioned above, if they’ve caught a usually good natured driver on a bad day or if they’ve un-lucked out with someone who is generally unpleasant. Sometimes, riders don’t know that what they are asking for, or expect, is unreasonable given the context at the time. The Transit System is undergoing significant change right now. In the long run, public transportation in Asheville will be dramatically improved. In the meanwhile, we must all do our best to remain charitable to everyone who is affected by public transportation — which is most everyone, including motorists who may see buses on streets and in areas where they are not accustomed to the presence of a bus route or pedestrians; riders who need to maintain composure when interacting with other riders, drivers, and transit staff and officials; and drivers as well, who are under tremendous pressure to meet the needs of individual riders while also meeting the formal requirements of their jobs during this time. It’s up to us as the members of this community to decide whether we’ll move through this transition gracefully and civilly or whether we’ll resort to complaining, overgeneralizing individual incidents, and developing new and more advanced forms of road rage: rider/rider; rider/driver; motorist/driver; and, yes, that always guilty party: ‘the City.’ We all have some place that we need to be on time. That can’t happen for everyone, every day. We’re in the South. Let’s focus on civility and sweet iced tea when the traffic is just too bad or you just can’t deal with yet another bus transfer. You can duck in most anywhere around here for iced tea, and the refills are usually free. Go back out in to traffic or out on to that bus when you’re ready for it. We’re living ‘in the meantime,’ a necessary fact of any form of progress. Sincerely.

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