Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Don't tell my Grandma I'm a Bus Driver, She think's I'm a Piano Player at a Whorehouse

When I transitioned from "young adulthood" to an *actual* Adult, I was in a state of delusion, desperation and grandeur . What to do? Who will hire me? Am I qualified? I'm gonna run this Biatch!! Will I eff up?

Well, I managed to accomplish all of the above.

I hopped a few jobs, leaving one for another that I was convinced would be better than the last. Sometimes that was the case, but more often than not it was a myriad of broken promises, double speak and my personal indiscretions.

Learn a few things or five I did, but never did I anticipate that I would end up in the employ of Sacramento Regional Transit.

When I told Gram's that was hired at RT, her first question was if we still use those nifty belt mounted change thingy's. Of course I had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked her to tell me about what public transit was like in Sacramento when she was my age.

Gramma started out talking about the old California State Fairgrounds, which used to be in Oak Park at Stockton Blvd. and Broadway. It's now a Jack in The Box, Check Cashing Store, Chinese Restaurant and the sprawling UC Davis Medical Center Campus. More specifically, she mentioned "Joy Land".

Way back when, Joy Land was the only game in town for entertainment in Sacramento. The proximity to the Central City coupled with access via Street Cars made Joy Land a viable and long lasting tradition in Sacramento.

Until the Street Car lines were abandoned and tore up in favor of the Automobile.

Gramma remembers when Street Car's rumbled up and down Broadway, 4th Avenue, J Street and 10th Street ushering eager Sacramentan's to where they wanted to go.

Funny how history repeats itself. In Sacramento, the powers that be have struggled to recognize and keep up with the popularity and demand for Light Rail.

History will be repeated over and over again, but I hope that we look at the past as a basis for future solutions.

My Grandmother will be 79 tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Grandma.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Using the Senior & Disabled Ramp at Light Rail Stations-Common Sense rules...unless you are Hell on Wheels.

First, did you notice that they are called "Senior & Disabled" ramps??

The ONLY reason for the existence of these ramps at Light Rail Stations in addition to kneeling buses with wheelchair lifts & ramps is all about accessibility for passengers with disabilities, or senior citizens who still maintain independence, but may not move fast enough to board a train or have the agility to climb stairs on a bus .

Let us also remember RT's commitment to ADA Compliance, and trust me, ADA compliance is a huge deal at RT.

Secondly, I have read no rule that says if you board my train using the "Senior & Disabled" ramp that you need to be a complete shit head. are my step by step instructions on how to use the "Senior & Disabled" ramp.

I'll start with the rarest of boardings on the "Senior & Disabled" ramp....Wheelchairs! No shit, I board more walk on's and baby momma's on the ramp than I do wheelchairs...go figure.

The most important thing to remember is not to be drunk. Simple request maybe, but give me an effing you really need to be off your marbles on 4 bottles on Thunderbird wine by 11 A.M? Odds are if your drunk I will leave you. If you start talking drunken shit to me, I will most certainly leave you. When you are on the ramp with 2 other wheel chairs, play nice with your wheeled comrades. I don't like moderating a 4 wheeled battle royale, and I know you like that prime spot behind the drivers door or close to the aisle. Tough shit. You wheel yourself to the location I politely direct you to. This is for your good and the other 300 passengers on the train. And almost as important as not being drunk is knowing how to operate your 200 horsepower wheel chair. Please, Please, Please, learn to drive your chair. When you do a swan dive off the platform into the street at 9th & K, I promise to not say "I told you so", while muttering something about hell on wheels under my breath.

Wheelchair passengers are easy street compared to baby momma, daddy, and the assorted children that accompany them....especially around the 1st and 15th of the month. Don't get me wrong, I know you have 3 kids, a stroller that carries 1 maybe 2 of them babies and that your man is probably in jail or sleeping with your sister. But rules is rules. If I have to follow them, you have to follow them.

They are spelled out, in simple English..

Learn it, Love it and Live it.

Start walking, buy a Wagon or bail your man out of County.

Bottom line is I don't want to hear it। I used to be sympathetic, and now I'm not

Read the sign posted at the ramp...If you are illiterate, it's cool...because too many people in Sacramento are in the same boat you are. Ask and me, and I shall tell you.

"You have 15 minutes to figure out what you want & where you want to go."

Train 5 proceeding.......

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Watt/I-80 Bound Train, The Next Stop will be 16th Street

No sweeter sound can be heard, with each station she reminds me how close I am to a "potty" break.

Cammie Winston is the voice of Sacramento RT on Light Rail trains.

Not so long ago, Cammie also announced the transfer point at 16th Street Station inbound & outbound. Basically, passengers arriving at 16th Street who were traveling to destinations outside of the CBD (Central Business District) were informed so by Cammie at least 2 times before my train rolled into 16th Street on inbound and outbound trips.

Not anymore.

Seems that Cammie's lovely voice irked some of the denizens along the R Street corridor, so now you have to endure my voice.

Let me be the first to say, my voice over the PA system we use aboard trains is horrible. I'm a twenty something year young guy....over the PA I sound like a 40 year smoker with a limp and 10% of my vocal chords.....Unless you are dicking around and delaying my schedule....I roar like a Lion-

My point is, I want Cammie back. I miss her.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"You grinned, then winked at me in the mirror as I reached for the button to open the door..."

I did?

Transitarians can be a fickle bunch. I received a complaint today, in the most official way possible in my opinion.

The person responsible for making me aware of said complaint was not a supervisor...but the passenger herself!

"You grinned, then winked at me in the mirror as I reached for the button to open the door..."

Funny thing is that I didn't do it! No, really I didn't do it. This rider even went as far as to board on the senior & disabled ramp my next trip through to make sure she was able to give me a piece of her mind. Fair enough, after all I am a public servant and she seemed sweet enough so I just listened and apologized....and smiled the whole time and swore I would never do it again.

Lets dissect this situation-

She was wearing eye glasses with lenses thicker than the makeup my baby sister applies to her face with a paint gun. Sorry for generalizing, but I wonder how far she can actually see?

But I digress....

More often than not, I can barely make out the man or woman driving the train headed in the opposite direction that I am when we pass...and the windshield glass is transparent. The windows that are on the left and right side of where I sit are tinted pretty dark, helps keep me cool in the heat which generally makes me a happier train driver. Couple the darkly tinted windows with a pull down sunshade (I can see out, but the sun barely comes in) I wonder how she saw anything at all? I grinned and winked? And she saw all of that while looking at my reflection in the mirror attached to the side of the train?

Let's assume she is right, and I actually did what she said (I would be a total liar if I said I never pulled a stunt like that once or thrice, accidentally of course). I find her approach rather cavalier, considering the reputation some RT Drivers have with the passenger populous. In fact, I am kicking myself as I write because I did not thank her properly for personally addressing me about her gripe.

Next time I see her, I will thank her properly...Grin and point her to "How to Complain about Sac RT Drivers"

I hope she can see the letters on her key board.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Congratulations to RT Rider!

My blogger in arms over at RT Rider had an editorial featured in the Sac Bee today where he talked about being Transitarian.

Kick ass editorial John, let's hope that the message sinks in with the SUV chained folks in Sacramento.

And I am glad you ended up getting your button!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Policing Public Transit

"Police first must develop a reliable method for measuring important statistics that accurately relate the condition of the transit system in terms of security. These strategic measurements should be broad-based enough to provide a picture of the security needs of the entire system and take into account subjective assessments by passengers of transit security. With this information, police and transit authority officials can develop specific proactive strategies to enhance security throughout the transit system. The ultimate goal should be to make riders feel safe by ensuring that they are safe."

Kurt R. Nelson, F.B.I Law Enforcement Bulletin, January 1997

In a previous post, I less than eloquently pontificated about the environment on Sacramento Regional Transit light rail trains and buses as it relates to me, the driver/operator.

Remembering that as a youngster I took advantage of RT throughout my wonder years, and I have family and close friends who rely on the system everyday, I want to share my .0000000002 cent's on the "State of Safety" throughout our lovely public transit system.

My observation of Regional Transit Protection Services is this-

Ineffective, Inept, Lacking accountability, Zero oversight, Did I mention lacking Accountability?

"If the level of crime and disorder becomes so high that it has a measurable impact on the public's perception of safety, the number of riders will decrease either on the entire system or on specific routes or lines."

Kurt R. Nelson, F.B.I Law Enforcement Bulletin, January 1997

Wow, pretty simple if you think about it. Ensure that people "feel" safe when riding the transit system....and when they feel safe, they tell their neighbors, and then their neighbors tell others and so it goes....

Ridership increases, and I become more as a passenger are conceptually safer.

Conceptual reality is nice, it pacifies us.

Pacification only goes so far.

Contact your local elected member of the RT Board of Directors should you have any questions or concerns, these folks direct policy.....

Policy affects everyone who depends on RT for service.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


New bid, new life.

Thanks to the internet I do not have any children.

If I had children, at this rate I would be capable of spending maybe a day a week with them until they graduated from High School. Pets? No such luck, you would read about me in the Bee...something related to animal cruelty. Such is life, and I work for I get payed like....a zillion dollars an hour... what am I sniveling about? Life is effing great right?


I'm stuck with an empty bag of seniority. Well, not empty...I think I have some vapors somewhere in my bag. Point is, I am cast to the land of shifts that would make some people cringe.

On the other hand, if you can appreciate working until 1 AM 5 days a week, 8 hours and 10 minutes per day on a split shift which more or less guarantees you spend upwards of 12 hours at your job but get paid for 8, you might smile gleefully.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job and I am thankful to have it. Since I am in my twenties, I'm still in that phase of life in which I require instant gratification. Nothing too fancy, but maybe a Friday and Saturday off instead of Wednesday and Thursday. Or maybe a route that starts at say...9 in the morning and ends at around 5 in the afternoon versus 2:30 in the afternoon and ends at 1:12 the next morning.

As soon as I become ensconced in my self-gratificationism, (I know thats not a word, I made it up, think Transitarian) I realize that I must pay the proverbial dues like the scores of rookies who came before me.

It's the truth. It still sucks, and I can still hate it....But I also appreciate it.

See you this afternoon.