chris/CO149 (co149) wrote,

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Bus report -- Metro has a bad bus day

Combo 10:
AM: 10/3 VT -- a lovely bit of work that does 1-1/2 trips on 10 and 12, has a 30-minute break, and gets relieved in time for a late breakfast. No problems here.

PM: 3/4 VT -- 2-1/2 trips on the route 3. Despite horror stories about the #3, this bit of work is mainly just boring.

Until today.

I Was proceeding on my last trip of the day, about 4:40 pm. At the stop at 3/Pike, my bus complained of power loss like I had lost my poles. I wasn't moving, so I got up and looked back to see if someone had pulled them, but no one had. I rebooted the bus and everything was fine. Shrugging, I proceeded north.

At Stewart Street I stopped at the intersection, not because of a red light but because of the wire hanging down from the trolley overhead. Inspection revealed this to be a support wire, but it was in contact with the positive 700-volt wire on the way to the ground. Southbound on 3rd was another coach who had lost its poles, and had stopped in the intersection. Ouch. The other operator was concerned that a live wire was touching his coach, and was holding his passengers aboard until help came. I informed him he was clear in that regard and he deboarded his customers. In fact, he was able to replace his poles on the wire and continue en route.

Meanwhile, we had about 1-1/2 lanes available on 3 Ave, so I betook it upon myself, as the public official that I am not, to get some traffic moving.

Why do you people insist on driving on 3rd Avenue? It's crowded. It's full of buses. The signals aren't set. Use 2nd or 4th fergoshsake

Anyway, eventually a cop showed up, and I informed him that I should let him do the traffic redirection. Boy, I hate telling other people their jobs. A fire truck shows up, and strings dangertape all over the place to give nearby pedestrians something to ignore. I look back to see that there are several dozen people patiently waiting on my bus, still. I had no idea that humans could be so optimistic. I give them the scoop and they flee.

About this time, supervisors showed up, looking confused, and not knowing what to do with all these buses stacking up. I suggested that diesel coaches could swing over to 1st avenue, since the fire dept left that option open in the danger tape campaign. Boy, I hate telling other people how to do their jobs. Have I mentioned that? Another supervisor, having her wits about her, give me instructions to turn back at Virginia and punt my northbound trip so I can get to my relief point on time. Metro puts great stock in getting to the relief point on time and will cut routes short and make you skip stops to get to meet that goal. (I'm supposed to be at 3/James, westbound, at 6:30 to be relieved.)

OK, the situation is stable and now we have some wreckers showing up to push us around. I'm first in line, so I get pushed first. No one's told me where to go, but I'm moving. Over to 1st, up to Virginia, back to 3rd. I stop there and ask the wrecker driver where we're going. He doesn't know. So I pull it over to the curb while he calls in. I walk over to chitchat with the half-dozen or so trolley drivers who are piled up southbound on 3rd.

Chit is chat without format. (Seen on a Metro Comfort Station Blackboard)

This is where it gets kind of boring for me. Another wrecker is procured, and northbound coaches are following my lead, and getting pushed back north on 3rd. (I don't do that because I was told to turn back, you'll recall). Southbound coaches are getting pushed east on Virginia to 5th, then to westbound Pine and back under the wire. I'm not getting pushed, though, because I'm not in line. I see my follower #3 go by and sigh. I call the control center and explain the situation. I'm told to wait for the pushtruck to get to me. I'm not convinced the coordinator understands my position and location, but he sounds pretty frazzled and just tell him "10-4". These calls are recorded on tape, so my hiney is covered.

At about 6:15 or so the Line Crew shows up. That's only 1 hour 45 minutes of intense downtown snarl before they start working. Some emergency procedure is lacking, oh yess my preciouss.

About 6:25 a roving supervisor shows up to figure out what to do with this strange bus parked on the side road. I tell him he can run down to 3/James, pick up my waiting reliever, bring him up here and we'll turn my coach left on 3rd and my reliever would Be On Schedule. He thinks that's a grand idea and asks why I haven't applied to a supervisor job. I told him I'd had plenty of time to think about the problem.

So, he tells me to secure the coach and get in his van, we're gonna get this done. I secure the coach, grab my stuff and then he tells me we can't do it. He has to run down to Rainier/Jackson where another bit of wire got broken.

I have a nice chat with the Parking Enforcement Officer who was directing traffic at 3/Virginia, she's someone I've seen around before.

About 7:15, Line Crew finishes up and the PEO picks up her cones and leaves. I let another bus precede me (heh) and I head south on 3rd again. I blank my signs. When the control center is overloaded, operator initiative is expected to suffice. I zoom down to James Street and find my relief standing there wondering 'what the hell'. I'm going the wrong way on James, but I don't care, and in fact it doesn't matter. My relief can just about pick up the schedule there and continue as normal. He had No Idea what had been going on. Some communication procedure is lacking, oh yess my preciouss.

So, I'm off the bus at 7:30 (1 hour overtime, thank you my loyal taxpayers!). I walk over to 3rd to see 2 #36's followed by a trolly returning to base. Turns out that coach was also a #36, but the control center cut her loose as it was her last trip and there were two other buses going that way. She ends up with 15 minutes free pay for the day, and I finally end up back at the base where I can get in the car and go home.

Went to the local pub, had a chicken breast sandwich and an imperial of Fullers bitter.

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