There are sunny days, and there are rainy days; basic weather and life fact. Sunday, that was a rainy day. I saw the wall of rain moving West down the lake towards me, and I knew my day of riding would be cut short – way short actually, as the road up to an overlook I wanted to climb to was closed to the public; probably should have sorted that out before riding four miles over to the base of the hill. Just another learning experience. The lame-ness of the day doesn’t quite stop there though: upon returning home, the rain furiously licking the side of the house, and nothing good on TV, I decided to head downtown to see if there was some better way to spend my evening.
|They asked nicely at least…|
Appropriately suited up (raincoat and crocs), I meandered up to the bus stop, ten minutes ahead of schedule, because the buses are notoriously unpredictable here and I figured I’d just get on with waiting…but lo! What did I see there when I arrived? T’was the bus, stationary and with the door open – what great timing! So, I threw up my hand, and walked the few paces of distance to the bus. I made sure to make eye contact with the driver, as is appropriate, and in doing so, watched him reach over, flip the switch and quite literally shut the door in my face as I stood on the threshold of the bus. He drove off before the doors had even set in their fully-close position.
The ensuing rage and blue streak of expletives that emanated from my rage-contorted face don’t need to be rewritten here, just know I’m pretty sure the paint started peeling off the bus as I spit venom in the direction of the then departed bus. This would not stand, and I was hellbent on reparations for this injustice. The guy who had stepped off the bus moments before I was brusquely barred from entering, stood before me as I turned around, a knowing smile on his face – he too agreed that the particular bus driver was of poor repute and lacked desirable character traits typical to a good person. This was not the first instance of exceptionally bad service either of us had received from this particular driver. We parted ways and I threw a thumb out for a ride. Not two cars later I found myself zooming down the road not in a bus, and passing the bus of ire as it appeared to have had a change of heart, and decided to stop/do it’s duty as a bus [driver] for some other person.
I disembarked at the mall, and exchanged pleasant farewells with my temporary driver. I found the ticket master and voiced my complaints to him – and he was quite nonplussed by the tale, as he is regaled with an unending torrent of complaints no doubt (Connectabus is not known for running a good business here in town, and has had several dedicated threads of conversation online recently). With the rain drops hissing as they landed upon my fuming brow, I moved on with my evening in an attempt to regain some sort of positive stance on the whole day (spoiler: it didn’t happen).
On Tuesday, after appropriately contributing to the many threads of online discourse regarding the terrible bus service, I addressed the issue with the ticket master of that day. His reaction? Muted understanding/feigned surprise, at which point he grabbed his phone and called his manager (without prompting I might add). He relayed an abridged version of my grievances; “…a customer is here with complaints of a ‘poor’ experience with a bus/driver the other day…” – very understated, the English Empire’s touch upon eNZed is wholly apparent.
After a lengthy, one-sided “conversation” with the manager (whom I couldn’t understand in the least), I gave my contact info to the helpful ticket master and got on with my day. I wasn’t sure if there would be any follow-up, but I felt a smidgen bit better knowing that I at least spoke to a real person in charge of real things (even if he sounded more nervous than a teenage boy “meeting the parents” for the first time). I as stood around cooking lunch on Wednesday, I received a phone call; the manager! He uttered some more excuses, a lot of unintelligible other things – a basic summation of the things would be thus: The driver [PAUL, WE NOW KNOW YOU’RE NAME, YOU ARE A SCOURGE UPON HUMANITY!!!!!] was reprimanded and showed no remorse for his actions, and so a profile was being established to monitor his behavior [I WILL SEE TO YOUR UNDOING YOU UNNCONCIONABLE NIMROD]. I was given compensation for my troubles in the amount of a free week’s bus pass – passable as a peace offering, what else could I really get as just compensation? Works for me. And the manager also express his “thanks” to me for actually following up in the matter and being constructive in my approach to finding a resolution. He did admit to reading my post online on Sunday (it helps you can tag public pages in posts on facebook), and while he found it curious he couldn’t address it due to it’s vague nature. So, he seemed somewhat pleased that I actually managed to see this matter through.
In the end, what is the moral here? Well, in part, bus drivers hate the passengers – partially reasonable if you think about it; and, if you complain in a constructive/less offensive manner, people are likely to hear your case and doing something about it. Bureaucracy fails most of the time, but occasionally that blind squirrel finds a nut. But, the real ending is that I’m buying a moped. The End.