Friday, May 15, 2009

The wheels on the bus...

You all remember how we went to Hershey on the bus this past weekend. And, you remember how scary I said the bus ride was. Well, I did send an email to the bus company regarding our driver. I left out a TON of stuff and concentrated on the biggest safety issues.

This is what I sent:
(Names have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.)
I have been on numerous trips through our school system with Bus Company and have never had a problem. The drivers have always been courteous and competent - until now.

I was on the School Band and Chorus trip to Hershey this past Saturday. Our driver was C. C ended up leading Bus 2 and Bus 3 - driven by Mr. G - as Bus 1 - driven by a woman whose name I didn't catch - had the chorus students and had to depart a good 10 minutes before the band. Their competition was in a different school at an earlier time.

C left the School with plenty of time to get us to the Middle School near Hershey where our competition was held. We were not in a rush. That said, he did not pay attention. He had to stop fast more than once. Kids went flying - a couple even fell off the seats. He tailgated cars. He almost hit a compact car and a telephone pole at
a stop sign. He had trouble with red lights. He went through one. He went through yellow lights - Bus 3, driven by Mr. G - who was excellent, I might add, stopped for the lights and waited. We had to pull off to the side of the road and wait for Mr. G's bus. I think it might have been better if C had paid attention. There was plenty
of time to stop for the lights. He just didn't realize they were yellow until we were right up on them. Can the man see?? Mr. G chastised C more than once, but it did no good. He still didn't pay attention.
On the way home, some parents sitting directly behind C told him that the lights were yellow. That helped a bit, but it's not their job to tell the driver what color the traffic lights are. In addition to telling him the color of the lights, one parent had to talk to him for the last 45 min. of the ride to keep him awake. This is simply scary!!!

We had some parents following the buses in cars. They told us that our driver must be incompetent. They watched his antics. They told us to be sure we buckled up and to say our prayers. That is scary, too!

We had a few other issues, but those are minor in comparison. The School paid a ton of money for those buses. Double what we paid last year. Our driver certainly did not give any of us a warm fuzzy, so the 3 hour ride each way was a very nervous time for all of us. This is not what we expect from your company.

Then, I got back a quick note:
Thank you so much for your comments, This is how we become better, and more
safety conscious.

This has been sent to our safety director, and will be looked into

Again thank you for your time to bring this important info to our attention.

I thought that would be the end of it until this afternoon when I got a phone call that wasn't quite right. The phone rang and I picked it up.
Is this Ladybug Crossing?
Yes, can I help you?
Did you send a note to Bus Company?
Yes, why do you ask?
You were a bit harsh.
I was honest. Who is this?
This is Marty. I work for Bus Company. I'm just making sure that what you said was true. What did you say?
I can send you the email if you'd like.
Okay, just send it.
Give me your email address and I'll send it along.
You have it.
Fine. I'll send it along again.

I hung up. I KNEW that was the bus driver. He is obviously stupid and he thinks he is dealing with a stupid woman. Silly man...

I sent this out:
I was contacted by a Marty from Bus Company by telephone. He asked me to re-send this letter. He seems to think it may not be true. I certainly wouldn't send something that wasn't true. I resent the implication that I would lie. I can have another parent verify if need be.

Within an hour I had this:
I would like to apologize to you and The School for the driving conduct of our employee C. I would also like to thank you for bringing his driving behavior to our attention. We also wish to thank you for your praise of Mr. G's performance that same day. We cannot take appropriate measures without this type of verification and appreciate what you have done.

Mr. M, our Safety Director, has not called you today, nor does he refer to himself as Marty. Unfortunately, C, who received a copy of your email during his disciplinary hearing, has apparently contacted you today. We queried him since receiving your email at 2:43 PM and he has confessed to this action and it will not happen again.

Again, I want to apologize for our employee's behavior. In the twenty-five years that I have been in this industry, this is a first and I am embarrassed for all of us.

So... there you have it. I think he knows that I'm not stupid now, don't you?

I am impressed with the bus company but not that one driver. I can only hope that we don't use this bus company in the fall for marching band... But, if we do, and that driver is driving, I will be removing both children from the bus and following in my own car. No questions asked.

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

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