CSU Ball Games

What is it about driving Route 7, every time something strange happens; it seems to be on Route 7. I came on shift as 7B and had been hearing on the radio for most of the shift that there was going to be a football game at CSU. I didn’t think much of it; I just saw it as a warning that the traffic was going to get a little heavy at some point. About four o’clock, sure enough, the traffic started to get heavy. Amazingly, each time I went through the intersection of Drake and Shields, the traffic got even heavier. Once past this intersection, it was free sailing either towards CSU campus or the Square. 7A was having a hard time; I would keep hearing her call in, twelve minutes down, and then eighteen minutes down. I think she finally bottomed out at twenty-one minutes down. I had several transfers for the Fox Trot on my bus including Amy and her Seeing Eye dog. As I crept up to the light at Drake and Shields, the Fox Trot had already left the square and I was calling in at twenty-eight minutes down. With the knowledge that Fox Trot had already gone, the tension on the bus seemed to just wash away, being replaced with almost a jovial atmosphere. There was nothing anybody could do, just looking out the windows at the sea of cars, you knew you weren’t going anywhere fast. With all possible connections lost, the best folks could do was to make light of the situation and mark it up to experience.

Short Notice

Let me start off by saying I don’t know anything about scheduling. All I know is we are issued two weeks worth of work schedule on Friday night, said schedule taking effect that following Monday morning. If there is a problem for Monday, it can’t be dealt with until Monday, as there are no schedulers in on Saturday. Why the schedules can’t be issued by, say Wednesday I have no idea. People who are on vacation and come home on a Sunday or Sunday night risk being written up that Monday morning for not knowing they have been scheduled to work. 

The first thing I look for when I get a new schedule is what days I’ll be expected to work. Next I’ll look for what days I’ve been stuck with split shifts as well as those days I’m supposed to get off. It just doesn’t seem to matter how much warning I give for those days I need off, at least a few will get lost in the shuffle. I’ve been told to give at least two weeks notice of days I need off but if I tell them too soon (like a month or so) the days fall by the wayside and I have to make a fuss. Because I teach up at Front Range, I usually have a schedule of teaching dates six months or better ahead of time. When I give this schedule to the scheduler I’ll be ok for the first few weeks, after that it’s anybodies guess.

It’s important that once you have your schedule, you familiarize yourself with your days off. Most times I get my days off planned and I’ll be tricked to saying I’ll come in to drive on that day. What they (field coordinators) will do is call you on the radio while you are out in traffic and ask if you will drive a route on some day of the week. More often that not, that day will be your day off rather that an exchange of routes on a regular workday. I can’t help but wonder just how much time they have known about this route they need covered or if someone has just gotten sick.

Crisis Management

When ferrying people around the streets of Fort Collins, there is the chance something unpleasant may happen. Transfort decided to train all of the drivers in crisis management to try to keep actual crises at a minimum or in the case of an actual crisis; the driver should know what to do. I thought this class should cover first aid and CPR but the powers that be decided to stop short of that. Instead, they felt it was more important to be able to evacuate a bus quickly and as safely as possible. It is as important to recognize a problem before it gets to crisis stage, as it is to be able to react to a crisis once it has occurred.

From the class I learned that if a fire starts (like from a tire fire) a transit bus would burn to the ground in less than three minutes. Once the body (fiber glass) catches fire, the inside of the bus will fill with cyanide gas and people will start to expire very quickly. In a crisis, the riders will either panic or look to the driver for help or instructions. If the people have to be evacuated, you just do the best you can. This may involve pushing them out the windows or dragging them out by their clothes, once the body of the bus has caught fire, you don’t go back in. As you leave, try to remember to pitch the two ways microphone out the window to keep in contact with 500 for as long as possible. I just hope I will never have to deal with this kind of situation, gives me shivers just thinking about it.

 

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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge