Riders admonish driver for rude remarks to disabled passenger; anger surfaces over cuts

Some seething anger over the recent service cuts came spilling out of passengers last week on the #65 Grand, directed at a bus driver for his rude comments to a man hobbling along with his walker.

Jim shared the story: The #65 Grand was headed west, when a man with a walker signaled he wanted to get off at State Street to connect with the Red Line. The driver blew past the Red Line stop because the bus stop was removed due to construction on the new station at Grand.

When the man with the walker asked the driver why he didn't stop, and how hard was it to get back to State Street, Jim said the driver replied: "Tough ti**ies!" You should have taken the Pace car!"

This prompted some hootin' and hollerin' from the other bus passengers:

"You should have been the one who was laid off," screamed one passenger.

Another yelled: "Fire all of you and get some folks that will take pride in their work and will be grateful to have a job!"

One more shouted: "It is all yours and the union's fault for this transit mess. Shame on you and your brothers!"

There's obviously some deep-seated resentment toward the union and drivers over the service cuts, and remarks from this rude driver brought it all out.

Update: The Etiquette Bitch on ChicagoNow sounded off on this incident. She thinks that while it was rude for riders to start hootin' and hollerin', it was justified in this case. Do you agree?

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  • MK: The passenger didn't know the bus didn't stop at State. OK fine. But he definitely didn't expect the driver to turn around and take him back there.

    I wasn't there -- I was relating what Jim told me in his email to me. Read what I wrote:

    He "asked the driver why he didn't stop, and how hard was it to get back to State Street."

    He didn't ask him to tak ehim back to State. I took it that he was asking how to get there and how hard it was.

    In fact it is hard because there are no stops on the west side of State due to the construction. He would have to cross from the north side of Dearborn to the side corner at State, walk a full block to State, then cross the street and walk about anotehr 50-100 feet to the station on the east side of State. I would call that hard.

    As for whether "service cuts had anything to do with the passengers reaction" ... again, read what they said. It's pretty obvious they prompted more vitriolic comments than might normaly have been made.

  • I answer yes to the question. If the driver (or drive, as they say on some other boards) can't be courteous to the customer, even if the customer is wrong, there are about 1100 others ready to take his job. Then let him drive a paratransit van for a Pace contractor at far less than $28.50 an hour. At a minimum, call the control center instead of using a derogatory term to a customer, who was saving the taxpayer approximately $32.15 on that trip (per trip cost of a paratransit ride minus the per ride cost of a fixed route ride and the half fare paid by the passenger).

    In real business, the customer is always right; showing, for the second time today, that the CTA is not run in a businesslike manner.

  • I'm sure glad we pay this bus driver better than other cities pay their bus drivers. We're #1! Both in bus driver pay and in bus driver crap attitudes. Go Chicago!

  • I've read a lot of people banter the term, "customer service" enough to wear it's usefulness out. There is a huge divide between a retail store's version of "customer service" and a fast-paced, operator-controlled transit's version of "customer service." I have to think that the driver's skill set and manners weren't exactly Emily Post to begin with, so it's pointless for folks to badger the driver when their salty language runs counter to others' expectations.

    Quite simply: there's a reason one drives a bus and another sells suits in Nordstrom, and I doubt a bus driver would pass the exit exam in a charm school.

    The REAL issue here is why the Grand Avenue subway stop is taking YEARS to complete, while most others, including the Chicago Avenue stop took a fraction of the time to complete.

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