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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Letter to RedEye: Doomsday Gloom Days

Just felt like writing in a letter to Hey CTA in the RedEye. It's a little call-to-arms for all of the bus lines getting the axe in a few weeks to cheer up a little. Die with your head held high, because right now... Well, it's explained in the letter.

(As always, if they publish anything, I'll make it bold in an update.)

Doomsday Gloom Days

My bus drivers have been getting grumpier and less friendly over the past few days. I frankly don't blame them for feeling that way, but it's rather rough on the customers who are trying to enjoy the last few days we have together. I remember it like it was just two weeks ago - because it was - and my #44 bus driver actually flagged down a #62 bus on the opposite side of the street so that it would stay there for a minute while an elderly passenger disembarked and crossed the street to transfer without having to stand out in the cold at the Halsted station waiting for the next one. Friendly smiles, salutations and reminders to "watch your step" now seem like fading memories.

The change happened just after Christmas, probably as all the CTA employees got nothing in the stockings except reminders of the Doomsday money shortage. By January 1st, all hope seems to have faded from their eyes, and it feels like they're transferring their wrath onto the passengers. My bus line is being executed on January 20th and there's no call from the governor yet. In fact, the governor is just taunting my bus line, saying he'd LIKE to call and issue a pardon, but there's a bad phone connection and the operator keeps hanging up on him and "yadda yadda yadda" you're going to die, just like all the others.

In just two days, I've heard more complaints about my slated-to-die bus line than I've heard in the past two weeks, and in those two weeks it's been more than I've heard in months and months. My bus line is often neglected, rarely fully-functional and yet still ran on-time with moderately-friendly service at worst. Now, it's running 15 minutes late at times, kicking off my friend who was having a card issue and I even heard of one bus driver texting while at the wheel and the bus was in motion.

Please, bus drivers on lines slated to die, don't make this as hard on your passengers as I'm sure it must be for you. I understand that your job is on the line and nobody can tell you it's going to be okay. But please, if you have to die - at least die with your head held high. Remember to be kind to us, and we'll return the favor by trying to make your last days as comfortable as possible.

Trust me, we're going to miss you when you're gone.

Aaron Samuels, 24, Bridgeport

1 comment:

Scott said...

There's a very nice lady who drives a 155 Devon bus and is still very nice: a friendly "Happy New Year" to me the other day, and a "Have a good day!" and "Watch your step!" when I was leaving. I think this is the lady who sometimes stops very close to the crosswalk for the Loyola station to shorten the walk for those making the transfer.