Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back on the Merry-Go-Round...

Here we go with the on-again/off-again schedule for bus 12. While I was assured at the CARTA board meeting that the issues with Roadwise (the road construction company) had been resolved, apparently that isn't the case. Roadwise is keeping at least one lane open, and that worked fine Monday through Thursday of last week. Friday the bus was running late, then I saw it coming up Rivers Avenue instead of down Greenridge from Antler. On the plus side the driver is one of those great ones who actually get to know their passengers, and provide exemplary customer service. She spotted me standing at my usual stop and pulled over in front of Arby's to wait.

Saturday's weather was so incredible I decided to walk to the mall. At Dial America waiting for bus 12 was an extremely unhappy family. Mom, Grandma, Dad (who is disabled) and two toddlers in a stroller. I hated to be the one to tell them the bus might not be coming. They told me they had waited over an hour because the first time they called customer care they were told that the bus was at Kmart, and would be there shortly. On their second call because the bus passed by via Rivers Avenue, they were promised the next bus would be coming from Kmart via Antler then down Greenridge to Dial America. I decided to wait since I wasn't on a time schedule, and called customer service myself. My favorite twelve-year-old answered the phone, and advised me that she had already told a previous caller that bus 12 was coming down Greenridge. And it did, much to my surprise!

Bright and early Tuesday I headed out for the stop across Rivers Avenue in the hopes of catching bus 12 going to Kmart, rather than taking my chances on whether it was coming to Dial America. I was too late but caught bus 106 back to the mall in order to jump on bus 10. I got to work later than usual this way, but still on time. Got to ride with one of my favorite drivers, Mr Paul, who was my first driver on bus 104 in Park Circle, and who sets the bar high for all other drivers. He and Ms. Linda are my two favorite drivers.

In talking to the drivers on all the different buses I've ridden this past week, as well as the passengers, I have found once again that CARTA/Veolia is the mecca of miscommunication. The morning dispatcher and supervisor are advising NO buses are to run on Greenridge Road in either direction. In the afternoon the drivers are being told that there is nothing to advise of this in writing, so they ARE supposed to take Antler to Greenridge and stop at Dial America. Because I sit up front I can hear the driver's and dispatcher's frustration as passengers are calling in, and drivers are reporting passengers waiting expectantly at a stop, or chasing them down on Rivers Avenue.

Again the questions are raised, "Why has no notification been given to the passengers about the stop changes?", "How hard is it to post notices on the buses, or to put up a sign at the stop?" and, "Who, if anybody is representing the passengers in all this?" There seem to be no answers forthcoming, the drivers are just as frustrated and confused as the passengers, and the customer service reps and dispatchers are getting dumped on, as I'm sure are the supervisors. I'm going to start another round of emails to CARTA and Veolia officials to see if anybody has a solution. I pointed out at the CARTA board meeting that the road construction will be going on for months and an alternate stop should be set up to prevent continuing issues. Obviously the suggestion wasn't acted on!

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