This week, Mr. Turner and I showed up at the CVCOG hearing on the transit system. With one exception, we were received well, as one fellow told us, we were the first public comment the board had ever received. As I related in a comment to this Blog last week, I went for a bus ride then. I may be mistaken, but I got the sense at the hearing that I was likely the only person in the room to have actually ridden a bus in recent memory.
I was told that my experience, all of a week old,was out of date, improvements had been made. Well, seeing is believing, so I climbed aboard another bus this Thursday. My first question to the driver had to do with buying a weekly or monthly ticket book. No, the drivers still can't offer that, but this fellow got on the radio and assured me the guy selling tickets would be at the transfer point, the old depot. He did show up, I could have bought passes without physically going to CVCOG. Seems the drivers don't have that capability, which at least one person at the hearing was sure they did, but at least a rider can get tickets from someone along the route. By the way, my advice concerning a strong bladder still stands, the depot building is locked, no rest rooms available to the traveling public.
It happened I sat behind a young lady who was not riding for fun, she is disabled and very much needs the service. She told me of her experience with the system, and she allowed that she would have been at the hearing had she known about it. Now that she brings it up, it does seem we could have managed the 7 cents a page copying cost to have posted notice of the hearing on each bus and at the terminal itself.
I want to make plain, I am not out to make anyone look bad. Had someone asked me about bus service two months ago, my response would have been, roughly, “Huh?” We got involved with this topic because people started calling us. The people who ride the bus are not on it because the Beemer is in the shop. This is the scuffling, scrambling, make from today to tomorrow class. The management folk we talked to at the hearing appeared to me to be really trying, and I heard some good ideas. Problem is, these ideas should have been kicked around and some concrete decisions made before this transition of ownership. From the point of view of the rider, not to mention the employees, the transition should have been effectively invisible.
The people at the bottom of the food chain don't really care if San Angelo, the CVCOG, or Ross Perot in a fit of madness owns the bus, they need the bus to run on time and possibly get them from point A to point B in something under two hours. Let me stress, the employees I have dealt with have been unfailingly polite, they have gone out of their way to get my questions answered, and I have seen them go out of their way to help the “challenged” riders.
Let me put it this way; next hearing I attend, I expect to be talking to more people who have put their butts in a bus seat and hear less noise about what has and has not changed from people who have not “been there, done that”.