Threatened by Bus Driver 9693

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quizbot
Participant
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I was intentionally pinched into a curb last fall at 40th & Penn outbound by an 86B. I sincerely believe that calls to the PAT cops may as well be made to a black hole in space… still wondering why the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over these d-bags.


edmonds59
Participant
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Might be helpful if someone who plans to go to Dowd’s thing emails him before hand, outlines the situation, and lets him know this will be a major issue that people will want to discuss, if that is possible. It would probably be more constructive if he has some prep time, so he isn’t hit with it cold. Just thinkin.


caitlin
Participant
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the drivers are the same at the same time on the same route, from my experience. I had the same driver daily in the morning in greenfield


dwillen
Participant
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I usually have the same driver (at least 4/5 days) if I take the same route at the same time all week. They swap places two or three times a year, and you often get a new person for the next few months.

The current morning 56U driver in Greenfield is very nice when I encounter them on my bike. They’ve waved me through stop signs and wait patiently behind me until we are past the Greenfield bridge and I get a bike lane, where it is safe to pass.

Not my experience with every bus, but there are nice drivers out there too. I usually submit a gold star note or whatever they call them on the PAT website, but it is equally a black hole. I’d be surprised if anyone reads customer feedback at all.


edmonds59
Participant
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If someone goes to the Dowd thing remind him he has this on his website.

http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/district7/html/09_cyclists_honor_the_fallen.html


edmonds59
Participant
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Not to beat a dead horse, but, also from Dowds site;

“August 11, 2008: Mayor Ravenstahl and Councilman Dowd Announce Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiatives”

“With the help of the Mellon Foundation, Bike Pittsburgh and what we know will be a fruitful partnership with the Port Authority of Allegheny County, we expect that Pittsburgh will soon be known around the country as the most bike and pedestrian friendly community in the America.”

!!

He needs to own up and do something about this situation.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I have only one consistent peeve with my local PAT drivers. I come into the Bellevue business district from the north on my commute in to work in the morning. As we enter the business district, we are on a flat, but I will have come up a hill a few blocks back, which gives buses a chance to catch up with me. Then, for about a half mile through the business district, we will play cat and mouse. They’ll pass me, go half a block and stop to pick up passengers. There is no room between the on street parkers for them to pull out of the traffic lane, so I need to stop quickly and sit there sucking diesel fumes, or go around them. I go around them. Then they RUSH to pass me, only to stop a half a block ahead of me, and the whole thing is repeated. When they are behind me, they can SEE that there are people waiting to get on the bus a few yards ahead (bus stops are no more than 2 blocks apart here), so why speed past me, when they know that they have to stop in a few seconds anyway. It drives me NUTS. I ride one of these same buses on days when I don’t ride my bike in, so I am pretty familiar with the routes and stops, and I understand that they have a schedule to keep. However, this is such a STUPID and ANNOYING game to play….. for both of us. Some drivers are better than others, of course, and a few are real gems. Some, well, I wish they would “pick” another route….


joeframbach
Participant
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Sara: take the lane. The full lane. Heck, even take the left side of the lane.


Swalfoort
Participant
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@bedmonds, I believe that Patrick Dowd IS trying to make the City more pedestrian and more bike friendly. He’s been very responsive to my efforts to date, has let us use his staff in the completion of bicycle counts (so they could learn how the process works), and has bicyclists as key members of his staff. He also bikes to work on a regular basis, and has active cyclists on staff. So, of all the City Councilmen, I think he is one of the “most likely” to get it, and to act on his beliefs. We need to remind him, however, of the Port Authority issues…


mark
Participant
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if there are people at a stop in front of you and you hear a bus coming up behind just ride down the middle of the road, bus drivers get the point, this almost never fails and it is in no way illegal, if you don’t feel safe getting passed by a bus then you have no responsibility to let a bus pass you.


mustion
Participant
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whoa whoa whoa i’m not defending this asshole, just stating my usual stance towards buses/drivers, which i’ve carried over from other cities with even halfway decent public transit (i.e. better than here). my interactions with drivers here are often regrettable as well… mostly as a passenger.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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if there are people at a stop in front of you and you hear a bus coming up behind just ride down the middle of the road, bus drivers get the point, this almost never fails and it is in no way illegal, if you don’t feel safe getting passed by a bus then you have no responsibility to let a bus pass you.

this. and it goes for all cars, not just for buses. this is why you take the lane. you, as the lead vehicle, have a better idea when it’s safe to execute a pass, so if it’s not, don’t let it happen.

now, if someone is being aggressive and threatening, i don’t advocate taking the lane just to piss them off. best to save your skin, in that situation.


Willie
Participant
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Between dealing with the buses, people opening doors without looking and just assholes in general wanting to scream at bikers and running them off the road it seems safer to just to just leave my bike at home. The one of two nice drivers I encounter a week do not make up for the ones that want nothing more then to see me and my bike laid out all over the road. I love riding to work,the store and everywhere in between but how many close call can a person have before it turns into a so called “accident”.


salty
Participant
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I certainly won’t defend this guy or the agency in general (especially for not listening to complaints), but I think all the PAT-bashing here is a little out of control. Most of my experiences have been positive, both as a passenger and a cyclist.

No way they are the “worst drivers on the road” – have you *seen* the people out there driving cars?


rsprake
Participant
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They aren’t driving vehicles the size of… well busses.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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perhaps not the worst, but given the immense weapon they’re wielding, it’s certainly easy to see them as the most aggressive. i take it as a matter of course that a bus will push its way through, knowing that everyone has to stop or die. it happened on the pedal pale ride, on aiken at centre–a bus pushed its way through a red light between a column of cyclists, who had no choice but to stop or risk being run over.

and this thread is, in my mind, a reasonable place to vent about bad experiences with PAT. there are other places to speak positively of them, and we all recognize the value they provide.


surly jason
Participant
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@ Salty:

Buses might not be the “worst drivers on the road” but I’d expect them to be far better than they are. After all, the operators drive for a living — it’s their profession — therefore, I would expect them to be among the best & safest.


edmonds59
Participant
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I was going to say something before, and didn’t, but since it comes up,

it’s entirely possible that this driver shouldn’t have a licence,

But he may have been quick to go aggro on kordite because he was seeing any cyclist as a light-running, law breaking troublemaker. We don’t like being lumped like that, so we shouldn’t do it to “bus drivers” in response. On my daily bus ride, 90% of the time the drivers are super nice, and the riders are really civil, “thank-yous” and “have a good one”. It’s like freakin Mayberry.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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One thing I see repeatedly in this thread is the non-responsiveness of Port Authority to complaints. ACTC has been after PAT for at least 15 years to revamp the way it handles complaints. It used to be that the only way to do it was to phone it in; then it went into a black hole. Since about 2003 you can access the black hole via a website, too.

At the very least, Port Authority owes it to its ridership to become a lot more transparent in its handling of reported complaints. Just knowing that someone read it and did something with the information would improve its reputation significantly, I think.

Behind the scenes, I know they do take things seriously, but getting that back out to the world is something they really need to work on.


buzz1980
Participant
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Put into perspective, the drivers are protected by the Union, while working for a government subsidized agency that is self-insured and has it’s own police force. And they have no competition, so who needs to be customer friendly?


mustion
Participant
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^^^THIS.

You have very little alternative to transit if you don’t want to/can’t drive. Whaddya gonna do, bike? They’ll run you over.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I’m kind of with Salty here, but my commute mostly follows non-bus routes and trails so I wasn’t going to comment. However, at 6:00 this morning two friends and I were headed out for our Thursday morning workout. We arrived at the 4-way intersection at Aylesboro and Murray at essentially the same time as the 74A bus. The bus driver smiled and waved us across the intersection even though my experience as a driver tells me she was there first and had the right of way. So I just toss that out as an example of a PAT driver who seems not hate bicyclists.

I’ve made this comment before on this board but I’ve ridden the bus to work downtown from Squirell Hill for 20 years (less frequently since I started bike commuting but I still ride the bus at least once a week–often more during the day to get to meetings)and there are far more of the courteous and friendly drivers than the other kind.

That said, there are some pretty awful ones and

Stu is right, PAT ought to take customer complaints more seriously.


bikewalk
Participant
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Unfortunately, the old adage of a few rotten seeds ruin it for everyone. While there are horrible bus drivers out there, there are many more drivers that are extremely safe and courteous to bicyclists, pedestrians and the like. With that being said, I would really like to see cops issue tickets to bus drivers driving straight down roads and running red lights, i.e. Blvd of the Allies crossing Grant. While I can emphathize with buses trying to take left turns at non-protected intersections or simply having to dodge pedestrians insistent on crossing when the orang hand signal could not be any clearer, there is no excuse when buses are simply traveling straight down a road. I have seen a few cops on bicyclists, but the prevailing attitude seems to be heading towards an “anything goes” type of traveling experience in the downtown core. PAT does not take complaints seriously. Out of every dozen or so they receive, a certain percentage are completely legit, rather than just a “this guy was rude”, etc. There does not appear to be a forum where one can make effective change with PAT.


Nick D
Participant
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It only takes one bad seed.

Most of the people who are bashing PAT, are backing up their comments with reasons–it’s not like they are arbitrarily saying PAT is horrible.

Considering the amount of mass a bus driver is in control of, I think they are among the most dangerous drivers on the road.

On the other side, there are a ton of reckless cyclists on the road too–however, they aren’t in control of 10ton machines.


steevo
Participant
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To generalize cyclists as redlight running maniacs

is not cool.

To generalize bus drivers as sociopaths is. DUH.

Seriously though. As a cyclist, I know that if a car

hits me, crashes me etc, the law seems that I should

be covered by their insurance, I should not have

to worry, that the driver is accountable.

However I honestly feel with a pat bus that a

driver could kill somebody and be driving a month

later. That is scary.


Nick D
Participant
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I am pretty sure that a cyclist was killed by Timothy Kish in Oakland last year and he was back on the road a month later….


Mick
Participant
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No one was paying Timothy Kish public funds to drive.

My impression is that, as far as public servants go, bus drivers are fairly insulated from pressure from elected officials.

I’m not even sure what person I vote for is the person to talk to about specific problems with PAT. Stu might know more about that.


jet
Participant
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More than once I’ve been on a PAT bus and heard the driver yell at cyclists to “get on the sidewalk where you belong”.

One time, a passenger started to argue with the bus driver, pointing out that it’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk and she (the bus driver) started screaming at the passenger and threatened to throw him off the bus.

I think the best response is to put your phone into record mode and document the conversation(s). You’re in a public place and there’s no expectation of privacy, so there should be no problem recording the dialog.


wojty
Participant
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Did we ever get a response from PAT? Where is that driver now?


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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I saw a bike today that had been crushed between a bus and a parked car as the bus pulled right to let passengers off. Very scary.


joeframbach
Participant
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Whoa. So the bike was on the rack and the driver creamed into a parked car?


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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No, way worse. Thing the compactor scene from Star Wars. Guy on bike caught between a bus coming over to drop people off and the parked car (stopped car?) on his right.


Swalfoort
Participant
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But there was no reference to a person in the original post. The rider was ok? I hope, but can hardly imagine it could be true…..


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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Apparently the rider was fine, somehow. They walked into the shop.


Pierce
Participant
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I’ve been sideswiped by a bus around Center and Melwood (I drove up behind him and I guess he wasn’t paying attention to his mirrors) but I think the PAT drivers are just a resemblance of the general population. There are a lot of morons, some cool drivers, some really bad, some really nice.


netviln
Participant
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Lot cyclists the try to pass a bus on the right too. Bad all around.


Pierce
Participant
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Oh yeah, and I don’t get how PAT buses are “more dangerous” than other cars. I mean I guess technically they are because they have more mass, but getting creamed by a bus or a car or an SUV all involves some serious hurting. At least buses are usually slow, loud (so you can hear them coming up behind you) and witnesses (riders) would help avoid any hit and run situations.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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buses are more difficult to maneuver and have significantly limited sight lines when compared to cars. it’s these same reasons, i believe, that make pickup trucks seem to be responsible for disproportionately many close calls.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I wouldn’t count on hearing the bus. There are 26 (soon to be 28) hybrids out there, and they are cat-like quiet.

And anyway, you can get just as smooshed off of the side of a Smart Car, even if there is a better chance of being seen.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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@hiddenvariable NFW. Everywhere I’ve ever ridden pickups are trouble. The one time I got honked at in Belgium, guess what.

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