Most of us remember the STO operator who was filmed doing paperwork while driving along one of Gatineau's busiest streets a couple of weeks ago. It looked like he was disciplined, but not fired, for the transgression. His union is working on protecting driver privacy by ensuring riders can't film drivers, but the Ottawa Citizen's David Reevely argues that the freedom to record drivers breaking rules (especially when they endanger the lives of the riders they're carrying) can be a pretty useful thing.
Don't think there haven't been complaints about OC Transpo, though. The Ottawa Citizen reported a few weeks ago that riders made 178 complaints about drivers using electronic devices behind the wheel between the year-long period from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. ATU 279 president Garry Queale questioned the number of legitimate complaints in that pool and transit commissioner Keith Egli downplayed the number of complaints, while a letter-writer to the Citizen wondered why people would make up complaints about such a specific violation.
Finally, one OC Transpo operator is facing allegations that he left his bus idling while he picked up some "groceries" from the LCBO.
And, of course, Twitter and other social media are always filled with complaints about OC Transpo.
The problem with complaining about public transit is that, sometimes, the delay you're experiencing isn't anything that could have been avoided. Take the massive delays yesterday along the Transitway between Hurdman and Laurier Station due to a collision between a bus and a pedestrian. I saw the grisly aftermath of that collision as I took the bus down the roadway, but even seeing that didn't stop people on my bus from complaining. And that's disrespectful to the person who is now in critical condition, to the driver who's likely dealing with a lot of trauma of his own as a result of it, and it's a shame.
Next time you're complaining about OC Transpo service, take a minute to consider the possibility that it's not necessarily managerial incompetence that's made you a few minutes late.