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February 9, 2011

Readers Ask: Can Passengers Board Bus During Layovers?

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Recently, several NextStop commentors asked about Metro’s official policy regarding letting passengers board the bus during the time between when the bus arrives at the station and departs for the next run. Janis Shetley, the Superintendent of MetroBus Operations, clarified the official policy for us: MetroBus passengers do have the option to board the bus during layovers at transit centers.

Ms. Shetley requests that anyone who has a specific complaint about not being allowed to board the bus to please note the route, time and destination, report to NextStop or Customer Service, and bus supervisors will work with operators individually.

Hope this provides some clarification for passengers, and thank you for riding and providing feedback.

11 thoughts on “Readers Ask: Can Passengers Board Bus During Layovers?”

  1. Daron says:

    Generally the driver pulls up, let’s people on, closes the doors, and goes off to smoke.

    As more passengers show up there are some people on the bus and some people shivering next to the bus. The doors are closed and parties on both sides seem unsure if they have the right to force the doors open. So the lucky few wait inside, and the unlucky wait for the driver to come back. It’s completely understandable that passengers don’t want to appear to be tampering with the bus or the driver’s duties. The driver closed the door, so he is the guy that needs to open it.

    So how do we exercise our option to get on the bus when the doors are closed and the driver is off on his smoke break?

    1. Courtney says:

      During layover, drivers are given an allotted time for a break as part of their contract. Unfortunately, I don’t know that there is a great answer for what to do while the driver is using the restroom or other activities during their assigned break. It is usually less than 10 minutes.

  2. nA says:

    I have been one of the sufferers who had to wait outside while others were in. But I have no problems waiting. As Courtney said there is no easy solution to that. Drivers need a break and they deserve one! Maybe we (passengers) have to adjust our timing so that we do not wait for long.

    There are drivers who let passengers in most of the times but there are some others who do not allow until 5 minutes before departure while (s)he is inside. I am going to keep an eye on them….pun intended!

  3. RTBones says:

    Having us (passengers) adjust timing is well and good. However, as we have discussed in a previous thread, with the current system, frequency is not always there to do that – and if you miss a bus, you are stuck in some cases 20-30 minutes.

    I have absolutely no problem with drivers letting folks on, then taking their break between runs. They certainly deserve the breather. What I occasionally see up at North Hanley, however, is drivers pulling into the “incorrect” bus stop – apparently on purpose (obviously, I can’t be sure, but is seems that way) with their “Not in Service” sign lit. Then, either right at departure or just before, the sign changes to whatever route they are on, they switch bus bays, and off they go. If this is something as simple as a driver change (driver #1 finishes his route, oncoming driver #2 taking a new route takes over), that is fair enough. But the times I have seen it, the driver remains onboard the whole time.

    That may sound like I am picking on drivers – I am not. My experience with Metro drivers has been, for the vast majority of the time, good. It may be my own lack of knowledge of how Metro operates – but I can tell you, when it is cold outside and you have 15-20 people waiting for one bus, it is less than pleasant. You know what they say about one bad apple….

    1. Courtney says:

      Well, Janis Shetley has requested that you just keep try of the when, where and what times so we can figure out the situation with the operator. Thanks!

  4. RTBones says:

    Courtney – I can tell you that the two times I have seen it recently was on the 0635 run of the #44. Both times were in the middle of the cold snaps earlier this year. I know that the last time, several riders were so upset that they called Metro, and at least one regular rider sent a few emails (don’t know to who).

  5. RTBones says:

    No edit button, so you get a second comment — 🙂

    The first time it happened this year, I assumed it was a new driver. People groused, but that was the end of it. The second time it definitely was not a new driver (at least, that was what I gathered from other passengers who were upset. It didn’t help that the bus also left 6 minutes late, even though bus and driver were at North Hanley in plenty of time.)

    1. Courtney says:

      Thanks RT. I’ll put in a complaint.

  6. Julie says:

    Could you do something about 33? I have no clue if the woman was subbing for the regular driver or if it was new but yesterday, at the station (the 2:25 bus), the bus driver saw everyone come to the bus ready to get on but instead closes her door, with everyone still standing in front of the door, she grabs her purse, closes the door, and leaves to head down and take a smoke and babble on her cellphone. Now, she could have just as easily let us on and smoked by the bus or whatever.

    Luckily it was just a little breezy yesterday so it wasn’t too bad standing but with there being limited seating (more seating is something Metro needs to work on for both the Metrolink platform and the bus bay) its no fun having to stand longer than necessary with wind blowing on you because some bus driver’s need to feed their cigarette and cellphone addiction.

    I am not trying to be a thorn in anyone’s side, but I pay, and my pay (and voting in support of Prop A) is what helps keep these Metro bus drivers their job in these economic hard times, the least they can do is let their customers on the bus considering they are not going anywhere.

    I also have 1 question. Is there anyway to tell the bus drivers (especially 33) that when arriving at the station since the bus arrival is poorly timed with the train arrival to drive up to the front of the platform entrance because 33 goes to the very end of all the buses and now that 2 is there at the same time as 33, it makes it even further. It wouldn’t be a bad walk if not for the fact that most times you only have 30 seconds (if that) to get to the Westbound train and those 30 seconds can make the difference between being on time or being stuck for 20 minutes.

    1. Courtney says:

      Julie, where were you boarding the bus and in what direction were you traveling?

  7. Julie says:

    Boarded Westbound bus from Rock Road Station (it leaves Rock Road at 2:25). It happened again yesterday with the regular bus driver too.

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