When calling in on the radio to dispatch for whatever reason, you call your number then dispatch (would sound like “558-500”). When dispatch picks up your call, they just say “500”, to let you know they are listening and ready to assist you. Lately the management has been trying to cut costs by merging departments. This means that we now have both Dial-A-Ride and TransFort using the same dispatch. This is one of those things that look good on paper but in reality doesn’t work very well. It’s becoming more and more common to hear a driver call for assistance several times before another driver tries to help or 500 finally answers. From time to time, one of us will get tired of the situation and complain. The sad part of complaining is management wants to find blame or point their finger, instead of trying to adjust the system to correct the problem. Several times now I've needed 500 assistance and not been able to raise them, so I've taken to trying creative ways to get attention.

After calling "500" a few times, I'll do a radio check with another route to be sure my radio is working. From here I will try to recall what drivers are in the field with cell phones and call one of them. I'll ask them to switch over to the Admin. channel, this is where I've started to get creative. Once I have the other driver on the Admin. channel, I'll say something like "I've been trying to raise 500 with no response, could you 10-22 (call the office) and check on their 10-32 (everything ok?) please?" A while later I'll get a call from 500 asking what I want, usually after the problem has long passed. I’m not looking forward to the day when an emergency occurs on a bus and the drivers will have to get outside help themselves.

First Day With A Cell Phone

While driving Route 61 one early evening, a lady boarded at CSU and sat down across from me. Turns out she was dying to tell somebody about an experience she just had, that someone, turned out to be me. She went on to say she had just transferred from Route 15 and that while she was waiting for Route 1, she had witnessed a crime. While she was sitting at the bus stop trying to figure out how to store numbers in her new cell phone, a couple by the stop had started to argue. The lady with the phone thought the argument was over when the man turned and started to walk away. A moment later, the man turned back to the lady he had been arguing with, grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground! The lady with the cell phone called 911 as the man picked up and threw his woman into a car waiting close-by. About the time he got the car running, the Police had started to arrive. By the time the bus was by there were five Police cruisers on the scene.

Not long after the story had been told, the lady got a call on her cell phone from the parents of the women she had helped. Seems the Police had formally charged the ruffian and with any luck, he would be in jail a long time. They went on to thank the lady for getting involved and saving the life of their daughter. All on the first day of owning a cell phone.


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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge