Ask TransLink: bus operator Brian Revel answers allmost every possible question about buses and says thanks
From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.
Our super helpful bus operator, Brian Revel, finished up his busy week of answering your bus related questions on the blog at noon today, Friday April 26, 2013. There are too many highlights to mention. However, the Facebook chat was certainly a highlight with a flurry of many questions over an exciting hour! Here an example of the q & a from the blog:
Paying for the bus
Shawna asked, “why do some drivers demand that some people pay and if they don’t, they are not allowed entry whereas other bus drivers just let people come on the bus who cannot afford to pay? I pay and it really frustrates me when I see bus drivers allowing people to come on the bus who have not paid.”
Fare payment, or lack thereof, is a sensitive issue for sure. There are those who conscientiouslu pay their fare and then wonder where the fairness is when someone else rides free of charge. On the other hand, there are those who appreciate that there are ways still to give people a break.
Bus operators are always focusing on providing a valuable and safe service to the public. Sometimes drivers have to use their discretion when people are unable to pay. The ongoing challenge is that operators face the risk of assault for less than asking for fare payment. So when an operator is out there asking for fares, she or he is vulnerable to assault.
When I started with CMBC the policy was “inform don’t enforce”. Today, we are essentially ambassadors at the front door and fare enforcement is the role Transit Security and Transit police. Our responsibility is to get our riders to their destination safely.
But in my view- as it is the view of the company- asking for $2.75 fare payment is not worth the price of an assault.
So, I like to think of it this way: the bus is going wherever it’s going anyway. Thank you for doing your part and paying your fare. You are doing the right thing. You are respecting the transit system, but more importantly, you are respecting yourself. And at the end of the day, I’d rather get you to where you’re going with as little delay and stress on you as I can. So give yourself permission to let go of your concern and know that one day eventually, karma will catch up with the fare evader. If not a Transit Security or police office who will issue a ticket for $174.00.
To close out the week, Brian really wanted to say a few words to everyone who participated this week. He’s his heartfelt note:
This has been a really fun week for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed fielding your questions and I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed my answers. I have noticed there have been a few typos- I was furiously typing on a mini-keyboard I use with my iPad so I blame my fat fingers for the faux pas.
A big thank you to Robert Willis for producing this segment. His assistance has been invaluable by cleaning up some of my really long-winded answers and keeping all the questions and answers organized.
A thank you goes out to Eric Holmberg, Maintenance Engineer Manager in Fleet Technical Support for helping me with the answer having to do with the destination signs and why they are sometimes hard to read.
Finally, I’d like to thank my colleagues, my brothers and sisters of CAW 111 who, over the years, have taught me the ins and outs of becoming and being a transit operator. I have heard their concerns, felt their losses and celebrated their successes. I have learned how to manage different issues I thought I already knew the answers to and how to get through my long days of monotony safely and happily.
The collective wisdom and knowledge of these driving professionals is irreplaceable in an organization like Translink. They represent not only the organization where we interact with the travelling public but they also represent the memory of all that has, and hasn’t worked throughout the history of public transport in the lower mainland. And that dates back to the very first tram that ran on Vancouver’s streets on June 28th, 1890- 123 years ago this June.
There was a time when I was the worst sort of passenger. I hated riding the bus and my frustration often boiled over into fits of apoplexy. I yelled and shouted as I ran for a bus and for the life of me could not understand why drivers didn’t wait for me. In retrospect, I have learned that I was part of the problem, not part of the solution.
I was meant to work at transit to overcome my feelings of enmity I felt as a younger man toward ‘the bus‘. And now I am glad I am here. I am proud to work with an incredibly diverse and dedicated group of professionals in every department from HR to maintenance, from the Transit Police to the training department, from all walks of life and every corner of the globe, who all work tirelessly in the service of moving people.
We may have our faults but “Rome wasn’t built in a day“. I know that everybody is striving to improve.
To everybody out there in Transit Land: Please don’t forget that your bus driver is a human being too. We have feelings and feel emotions just like you do. We have good days and we have bad days. Sometimes we’re tired and just like you, we’d rather be somewhere else. And yes, even we make mistakes; say things we instantly regret.
Let’s be honest, working with the general public can be trying sometimes and you may feel that we’re not quite up to the usual standard. I’m sorry you have been affected this way. Hopefully tomorrow you’ll have a better experience and hopefully so will that operator. But never doubt that we’re dedicated to your safety and that we do everything we can in the modest ways we can for your well-being while you are in our care.
If you think your driver is grumpy today, remember that while you may see three or four potentially grumpy bus drivers today, we drivers have seen hundreds, if not thousands of potentially grumpy passengers in the same time period and it wears off on us. Even the most idealistic driver can’t help but be affected by the energy that is thrown at him or her for things he or she has no control.
It’s not always our “fault” that the bus is late. We just happen to be there with the bus, guiding it as best as we can through whatever adversity we’ve encountered. And at the end of the day, we’d like to go home to our families believing we’ve done our best to make a positive contribution to the day’s goings-on- just like you do.
As I said in one answer, one of the things that brightens my day more than just about anything else, it’s “a big ol’ toothy smile”. It’s nice- nay it’s good to connect with people in a positive way. Yes, we operators need to make an effort, but please remember, so do you. We all do.
If we can all be good to our selves and be kind to each other, this world would be such a better place for all of us. Being the miraculous spirits that we are, each destined to have the imperfect human experience that we are having here on this earth, we each deserve goodness and kindness from ourselves and each other- and nothing less.
And hey- just like heading down the road on a transit bus- we’re all in this together… and nobody is really in charge. So let’s make the best of it and lighten each others load the best way we can.
It sounds corny I know, but like I’m known to say to my passengers now and again, I love you all.
It’s been a slice. See you out there.
And in the meantime, Happy Trails!
PS- One last thing:
A SMILE costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. A SMILE creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a SMILE. Give them one of yours, as none needs a SMILE so much as he who has no more to give. - Anonymous
Man am I ever sappy today! lol
But I mean it. Every word.
Many thanks to Brian for taking the time this week to answer questions. Please let us know what you think of the series in the comments section.
What’s next for Ask TransLink? Our Twitter team will be answering your questions on Reddit next week! Stay tuned.