(Mori)Bus Philosophorum: Frustrations
I've kind of been writing and rewriting this post because I don't want to come across as being anti-CDTA. I'm mostly entirely pro-CDTA but...they have issues I feel need to be worked on. Like:
- Better coordination of the shuttle and line bus schedules. This may seem like a simple request but it has apparently eluded CDTA since they took over operation of the shuttles (now years ago.) It made sense that the timing was incongruous when two separate companies were doing the planning, but now there's really no excuse. At least once a week I arrive at Crossgates, hustle towards whatever bus is waiting and sigh as it closes its doors and speeds away from me. There's a fantastic girl who works in an office near mine, Sheila, who has a one year-old and one on the way. Last week I watched a bus close its doors with her just steps away from boarding. A pregnant woman with a baby in her arms. I understand that the drivers must adhere to a schedule, but how about a more harmonious one.
- Your rules are basic and they make sense. Stand behind them. The standard disembarking exchange goes something, like this. Rider: Thanks. G'night. Driver: Take care, now. This is very polite and not at all jarring, unlike a few weeks ago when I moved for the door and the driver barked, "Where's that cup you had!?!" She was implying that I had brought a paper cup on to the bus and left it behind. I stammered something like, "I didn't have a-a-a-," and she averted her death glare with a grunt. (An actual, serious grunt.) Now, nothing delights me more more than the enforcement of CDTA's rules. Cell phones, loud music, trash and food are technically verboten and that is more than cool with me. But if you're going to enforce something, do it on the front end, huh? And please be consistent. If someone boards the bus with a drink or food item, let them know that they are to clean up after themselves. Obviously this should go without saying, but if things went without saying there wouldn't be rules against being a jackass. And please don't scare me like that. My heart can't take it.
- Major public relations overhaul. I imagine CDTA does have a PR department and that its staff sits around in a smoky room, brainstorming ad campaigns like, "Well-rounded ethnic person takes bus," and, "Handicapped woman is given new lease on life," but, let me tell you, all your ideas are shit. If I was designing a campaign it would be focused on the vast pool of people who don't yet ride the bus, rather than those that do. Yes, we already know that students, state workers, the carless, the disabled and the downtrodden make up the vast majority of CDTA's patrons. How about ads that reach out to middle class families and young people who could be swayed with the promise of minimizing their carbon footprint. Maybe if these demographics are tapped they won't have to hike fares again, which is a financial burden uncomfortably shouldered by current riders. News of hybrid buses being added to the fleet came and went with a whisper. That was a good opportunity lost. The teaming with Price Chopper's AdvantEDGE program to reduce Swiper fares is public relations GOLD. If you're already hyping it, hype it more.