Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Not Texting, but ...

video
Original YouTube Post
Is it as distracting?

From an anonymous reader:

I ride the bus more than the train, and there's something I've been seeing that I find disturbing.

I keep seeing bus drivers who have same-sex friends and/or boyfriends or girlfriends riding with them and distracting them.

Usually, the friend will stand at the front of the bus next to the driver and talk with them during the drive. However, the other day, I was on an H2 bus, and the driver, a woman, had her boyfriend not just standing with her, but pretty much wrapped around her for the entire time I was on the bus.

When I got on, her boyfriend was blocking the aisle; I had to ask him to let me by. During the time I was on the bus, he was either blocking the aisle or wrapped around his girlfriend. Sometimes, he just had his arm along the back of her seat, other times he had a foot up on the step to her seat, had his left arm around her, and his right arm was holding on to the rail by the fare machine.

At least when he was wrapped around her, you could get by him.

One morning, on a 42 to Metro Center, the driver (male) stopped between stops on Columbia Road to let his male friend on. I believe the friend did not pay a fare.

The friend stood next to the driver, with a large backpack on the floor, talking to the driver for the entire route. Anyone who wanted to get on the bus, or get off through the front door, had to ask the friend to move.

How much attention can a driver be paying to their driving when they're carrying on a conversation or snuggling with their sweetie?

Why are these people allowed to often block the way for other riders?

Other items:
Why is Gunn's report going to be secret? (Examiner)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Train operator yucking it up, over their shoulder, as the cars roll down the tracks?? Simply un-f-believable, given everything that has happened. Culture of safety? It'd be funny if it wasn't so maddening and pathetic. Plainly, the inmates have been running the asylum for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"Why are these people allowed to often block the way for other riders?"
Because the Metro riders are there to serve Metro employees. How foolish of you to think Metro was there to serve its customers!

Metroopensdoors said...

The internet is a great way for us to discuss issues and policies directly with customers. We welcome that, and we also welcome direct feedback about your Metro experience via our customer service line.

Anytime you have a complaint about your Metro experience, please let US know about it directly. That way we can document it, investigate the complaint and come to a resolution. We make that easy enough to do by internet (http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/contact_us/ridercomment.cfm ) and telephone and postal mail (http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/contact.cfm)

We want to provide exceptional service, and you can help us do that by reporting issues to us through our customer service office. When there is a formal record, we can identify trends and put fixes in place. Please help us as by providing as much information about the problem as you are comfortable with and telling us directly when you find something wrong.

Thanks

WMATA

Anonymous said...

Dear Metroopensdoors,
Are you serious? My comment is not as serious as the person who submitted the above post, however, the vast majority of posts similar to this (in the nature of a concern either small or large) when submitted in the form of complaint by ANY form of communication NEVER gets addressed or followed up. From what I’ve read on this website, the commuter contacts Metro and is told, “We’ll look into it or we’ll follow up with you on it” and then NOTHING!! Even the “notes” that are taken by employees regarding complaints or the auto forms that commuters fill out cannot help fill any gaps of any kind (especially communication gaps) in this system!

Anonymous said...

@Metro: that's a really lovely sentiment and I'm pretty sure most people would willingly visit you directly if not for the fact that they would just get some hastily dashed-off form letter as a response to their concerns.

Anonymous said...

Why won't that fat tub of goo in the video sit up straight?

Golden Silence said...

I hate it when a WMATA representative comes on these sites to pay lip service...

No one uses the online complaint form or calls the complaint hotline because no one at WMATA ever properly responds to it. I cannot count the number of times I've used the online complaint form just to get dismissed or ignored.

Go away, metroopensdoors. Go away!

Anonymous said...

I concur, stop the BS metroopensdoors. Try actually responding or giving a damn to any serious safety issue submitted to you, then your image will improve. Right now, you are a disgrace to the nation's capital.

Anonymous said...

@Metroopensdoors: why the passive-aggressive tone? Must be embarrassing when people don't send complaints about your employee's antics off into the online complaint form black hole, but it's your own fault in the end.

Last time I had to send in a complaint about a driver, the "response" didn't even get the bus route right, and I never heard anything back on whether any action was actually taken. I have to admit it beat the previous two times where I heard nothing from a human at all, though.

Anonymous said...

I filed a complaint about a distracted driver on the J2 back in January. A female stood under the "Don't talk to the Driver" sign the entire trip from Bethesda to Silver Spring. I reported the bus number and time and received only the following response from Metro:


"Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention concerning the operator in conversation with a passenger while driving the bus. This information has been forwarded to the Superintendent, Bus Transportation.

We apologize for the unprofessional behavior of the operator and trust your future travels will be more favorable.

Sincerely,

D. McRae
Consumer Representative
Office of Customer Service
When responding to this email, please perform a reply with history so that the following conversational identifier "[THREAD_ID:593366]" is included in your response."

Anonymous said...

Dear metroopensdoors. As you can see from my above post, I did let YOU know about the busdriver having a conversation. I also mentioned to him and his lady friend how I didn't appreciate my safety coming after their conversation (his speed dropped by 10-15 miles an hour once we picked her up).

I then saw the same bus driver, who was none to happy to have me on HIS bus, four days later on the same J2 route.

So my relaying unsafe driving reports to YOU, did NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

I gotta question, perhaps not actually for Metro itself. WHAT is WRONG with these drivers??? Don't they realize what putz's they are perceived as and just how STUPID they come across doing things like this? They act like children and don't even seem to realize how ignorant it makes them appears to other humans. I would LOVE to find out where their mother's are and email Mom a photo of her darling child showing the intelligent social skills Mom tried to instill.

Anonymous said...

MetroCLOSESdoors.

Anonymous said...

"We apologize for the unprofessional behavior of the operator and trust your future travels will be more favorable"

Actually, I was impressed by the response that the rider got from Metro on that one. It acknowledged unprofessional behavior by the driver and apologized for it. How often does that happen in today's litigious environment? Moreover, the supervisor was notified. While I want to know that Metro will do something if I complain, I'm not sure if I need, or should expect to get, a blow-by-blow of the ensuing disciplinary process.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:25, not meaning to be a doomsayer but it is a question I ask out of personal experience in reporting problems to metro: How do you know anyone was notified at all?

I have no faith anymore that they will do more than respond that they got my email. The responses are usually so generic it doesn't even give me the impression it was read.

Golden Silence said...

"Actually, I was impressed by the response that the rider got from Metro on that one. It acknowledged unprofessional behavior by the driver and apologized for it. How often does that happen in today's litigious environment?"

It's nothing to be impressed with...it's a form response.

Anonymous said...

The quality of the personnel employed by Metro clearly isn't that high. Maybe someone should call Congress's bluff, if they take things over maybe they can do some union-busting and we can let some big foreign conglomerate take over operations. Contract it all out to Samsung or Honda.

Anonymous said...

2:17 - You mean like VRE did with the Amtrak workers?

That's gonna work out real well. Parlez vous Francis?

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Is it as dangerous as texting? Um, yeah. It's WORSE. I have never seen this happen and am appalled by the video.

Anonymous said...

Hey, let's get Toyota to fix it!

Anonymous said...

OK. I cannot help but laugh as if I do not, I will cry. Watch the video at the top while noticing the words to the right:

"Our members go to work every day cognizant of their responsibility to perform a job on behalf of our customers – the riding public.”

How do I spell Irony? M.E.T.R.O.

Anonymous said...

Metroopensdoors @ 9:33am - May I suggest something? Why not have some people who type well start replying on a more personalized level instead of auto-replies? Just have some convenient text available for those items that can be "politely handled" with an auto-reply. But a personalized response by a human would go a long way to reassuring riders that even if they do not hear back anymore, their email was, indeed, read and "heard."

Yes, it can take more time for an employee to do it but I for one am willing to volunteer time after hours to help you. Seriously! There are some of us out here that would volunteer to help get things going without needing fancy "bus/train operation" training. I am great at email, communications systems, and all that jazz. And I know I'm not the best either.

This extra time you force on staff could pay off in lucrative "fringe benefit" ways. It would also be faster than phone calls to riders.

It can be done. It really can and would not take as much effort by your staff as they may claim.

(Yeah, I wanted to be on the public side of Metros board but they ditched my application when I refused to give them all my ideas on improving the trains on that one application. I wanted to "be there" with my ideas. and Yes, I was told that was why my application wasn't acceptable.)

I have hope it can be improved. ALL of Metro can be improved and it DOES NOT take a lot of money to do it! Well, ok... some of it. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've seen this on the H busses with increasing regularity - and have to echo the sentiment of others: I've felt increasingly less safe.

Metro - you've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars installing forward facing cameras, and GPS units to monitor your bus drivers - how about spending a little more on HR?

Anonymous said...

How many of you have seen the Metro day car bus, where the drivers have their little kids on board for the whole ride? I've seen it many times.

It's not safe, but I feel bad for the driver who can't get daycare or doesn't want to.

Anonymous said...

On one hand... what a shitty job. If I had to drive back and forth all day and deal with terrible traffic, I'd welcome the distraction of a friend talking to me. I'm sure all you internet policemen NEVER TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS on gChat or anything while you're supposed to be, y'know, working.

On the other hand - sure, it can be a legitimate safety concern. It's a tough situation.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't WMATA put cameras on buses to document drivers' actions? Yes, it's a Big Brother-type mentality, but it might be the best protection for riders.

Anonymous said...

Although it may seem like no action is taken on an employee, that fact is, no employer can discuss disciplinary action taken on an employee. All they can doo is tell you they will ivestigate and take appropriate action.

Video evidence can be used in the discuplinary action, and is an excellent reference. It's hard for a union to fight that.

Union employees must also have "progressive action" taken. You can't just fire an employee based on a customer complaint. If you do, they'll get the job back, with back pay. Then think of how invulnerable they will feel.

A complainant should be willing to go to arbitration, if the union pushes it that far. And I GUARANTEE they will.

Local 689 is notorious for protecting incompetant employees. They fight management even on serious safety violations like the one shown in the viseo. Then they blame Metro management for accidents. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

What is really sad is that a Metro person could simply come here....apologize...tell us that the incident has been reported and being looked into....

But instead, the idiots copy/paste a lame response which we all know was pre-written for ALL BAD ARTICLES

And we know they will never be back

Dear God, Metro....just do something right for a change

Anonymous said...

Dear ANONYMOUS:

We thank you for your feedback regarding WMATA RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS. You can be sure we take WMATA RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS very seriously here at Metro.
We are doing everything possible to correct WMATA RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS in a timely manner. You can expect another AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EMAIL in 18 TO 20 working days.

Safety FIRST,

Metro

Anonymous said...

"On one hand... what a shitty job. If I had to drive back and forth all day and deal with terrible traffic, I'd welcome the distraction of a friend talking to me. I'm sure all you internet policemen NEVER TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS on gChat or anything while you're supposed to be, y'know, working.

On the other hand - sure, it can be a legitimate safety concern. It's a tough situation."

GChatting while working at a computer doesn't have the potential to kill someone. If the drivers can't handle the mundane aspect of their job, they shouldn't be bus drivers. It's not a "tough situation"...it's black and white; if you are driving a bus, you shouldn't be engaging in any activity that puts people's lives in danger!

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