Saturday, March 28, 2009

In from the cold

It has been a bit tense on Bus 67 the last couple of weeks. There is a driver that doesn't leave the bus open when he is waiting at the Beaverton Transit Center. He goes into the office and leaves the Bus locked while every other bus at the transit center is open. The thing is it has been super cold and it is tough to see all the other buses open while your waiting outside for your bus to open up. The driver is a by the book dude that will not go out of his way to help a rider in anyway. If someone is running for the bus and he has already shut the door he will not open it. He is not a popular guy on the bus and most of the riders grumble loud enough to initate conflict with him. Last week the build up came to a bit of a head when there was rider running to the bus and he would not open the door for her. Riders were arguing with him and calling in to complain but he could care less. The next day the doors were shut again and most of the riders were talking to each other and getting themselves angry. When our driver came out the started complaining about having to wait outside. "He was a tyrant who relished what little power he had and wanted to let everyone know he was in control." I stayed out of it for the most part but it was an entertaining part of my morning commute. None of the sarcastic grumbling was having any effect, nor was the calling campaign to call into the Tri-met rider line to complain. On Friday morning when I the train got to the Beaverton Transit center the 67 bus was open. That wasn't really that strange, it usually just meant that we had different driver for the morning but then our unpopular driver came to the bus. He had left the door open and I think I know why. Two days before when everyone was all worked up there was the one girl sitting in the front talking to the driver. She asked him why he didn't like to leave the door open, not in an attacking way but in a curious way. He was denfesive but she was disarming. I listend as she got him to talk about getting attacked when driving. About the time his bus was vandalized and his fare book stolen. He doens't leave the door open because he has been hurt, taken advantage of, and burned by it. She was empathetic and explained to him that she understood, but that it was cold and the riders here just wanted to be warm. He said he understood that but that he just didn't want to do it. Two days later he opened the door. I am not sure what exactly changed but my guess is that more was accomplished with chat then the angry mob. It would be easy to say that the driver was just misunderstod. But he really is a pretty angry and mean person. He has had a tough time but I am pretty sure that he brought a lot of that on himself by being a bit of an A-hole. But even A-holes can come around and be reasonable if you talk to them like a person.