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“It helps keep the bus moving…”

While driving my bus, I often encounter passengers who are not ready to pay their fare, sometimes resulting in significant delays. We’ve all seen them: The person who puts down their bag and then fishes around in their pockets for change or the person who pulls out their wallet and thumbs through virtually every credit card and punch card they own looking for their ORCA card. I’ve heard from many passengers that they consider this behavior rude so I’ve developed a routine to try remind passengers to have their fare ready.  In as upbeat, positive, and non-scolding tone of voice as I can muster I quietly say, “It really helps keep the bus moving if you can have your fare ready when you see me coming.” People don’t like to be scolded (Seriously, have you ever enjoyed it?) but I’ve found that most folks seem to get it and realize I’m just trying to keep the bus moving for everybody.

Yesterday’s trip north on the D Line was a perfect example. After a passenger boarded at Dravus Street and proceeded to execute the “fish through the pockets” routine, I gave my gentle reminder – The passenger finished paying, moved to the rear of the coach, and I started driving. One more quick stop right before the bridge for a few passengers to jump off and then, as luck would have it, the traffic lights switched to yellow and then red – and then the bridge went up. It would have been a perfect video for Metro to use as a reminder to have your fare ready. This example is extreme – usually the worst delay is missing a traffic light cycle – but payment delays are still very common and add up, costing passengers time and Metro a LOT of money to be sure. I’m sure most of the people reading this are among Metro’s fastest paying customers, but if you aren’t yet, can you do your fellow passengers a favor? Please have your fare ready before you board. Thanks!

  1. August 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Keeping delay to a minimum is why I don’t use panniers on my bike. I don’t want to be that guy holding everybody up as I unhook panniers, place them on the sidewalk, fold the bike rack down, load the bike, go collect my panniers and board the bus. At which point “that guy” fishes through his panniers for the bus pass, and then finds someplace on the bus to sit where the panniers can be placed on the floor without tripping everybody else up.

    • August 24, 2013 at 6:41 am

      It’s all how you use them. I try to stick to one Ortlieb pannier. If I can put my bike on the outside rack position, I sometimes leave it on the bike. If not, I pull it off before I put the bike on the rack and pick it up at the same time I’m boarding the bus and pulling out my wallet. If there are a few people loading, I usually end up waiting for them to finish boarding.

  2. Mike Lindblom
    August 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Wouldn’t the RapidRide buses store that message as a recorded PSA, so you can hit a button, using the same voice as the stop announcements?

    • August 24, 2013 at 6:46 am

      Not so far. I’d like to see some rotating PSAs that address various issues. I used to use the “ORCA is faster” PSA a lot, but haven’t lately. I try not to overuse PSAs as many of the target audience either have ear buds in or, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about helping keep the bus moving. Thankfully, they aren’t a majority.

  3. Joseph Singer
    August 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Speaking of having your ORCA card ready riders don’t really even need to take their card out of their wallet especially if the ORCA card is the only RFID card since the reader can read the card in the wallet. As far as ORCA cards it sometimes amazes me that people who have probably used an ORCA card literally dozens and dozens of times still don’t understand how to use the card. Either hold it right on the reader or hold it within an inch and hold it there til you get the beep. Then there are the others who still don’t know where to put their card.

  1. August 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm

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