About once every six weeks, I witness a HSR driver who exceeds my very high expectations of a civil servant. See, I don’t just expect good service, I expect great professional service.
A funny thing sometimes happens – beyond me being impressed – I write an email to the HSR manager of operations, and then an incident happens which adds commendation to the complement.
The Good Driver Part I
A few months ago, I was walking quickly along Main East westbound to Kenilworth to board a B-Line. I was at Garside when I glanced back to see if the B-Line bus was approaching. For a moment, I mistakenly thought the 1-King was the B-Line and very briefly changed my posture to run.
The 1-King driver saw this, and stopped to pick me up. I boarded, mostly because I was embarrassed that I made him stop.
I sat near the back doors, pulled out my laptop, and started writing.
As I sat their, I noticed how smoothness of the driver’s driving, how patiently he wanted for seniors to be seated, and his politely greeting of each passenger boarding. I thought, this young driver is doing everything required of him in an above average way.
At Ottawa Street, I opened a new email and started writing to the HSR Manager of Operations.
The operator is providing excellent service to passengers, friendly when they board, patient when they are getting out transfers, politely verifying the transfer, he waits for passengers to be seated before accelerating, and is very smoothly controlling his braking along the route.
I’m aware the list above is expected of operators as a standard, it is the combination of how well the operator is achieving all these standards which is prompting me to send this email.
I ended the email at this point, as we passed Gage, and put it in my outbox to send.
Let my email explain what happened next:
Minutes later, the operator had to slow down for a jaywalker at Barnesdale, he did an excellent job of this – did not get frustrated, just slowed down, waited for the person to leave the lane of traffic and continued.
Two stops later, at Sherman, the bus stop was partially obstructed by another vehicle. The operator wasn’t able to fully align with the curb, asked an elderly person with a walker to wait a moment and step back while he lowered the front ramp to ensure she could safely board. I’ve been on many buses witnessing elderly persons falling due to a gap between the bus and the curb, the use of the front ramp prevents this from happening.
I hope this will be noted as a positive for the operator, I was only on board this bus from Kenilworth to Sherman, (as he lowered the ramp, I saw the B-Line approaching) and this operator was extremely impressive.
It was interesting that the driver had already earned my praise, and that I had decided to send the email prior to the jaywalker and vehicle blocking the stop.
Emailing the HSR Manager of Operations ensures the operators good work is noted in their file, and properly recognized.
(Technically, one is to submit compliments for good service to HSR’s Customer Service department. However, doing so requires waiting on hold to speak to an unhelpful bureaucrat, and much like everything HSR bureaucracy, nothing happens.)
Today’s compliment is straight forward:
Two positive reports to share with you today. The first, I wrote prior to the second. The 1-King driver had already earned praise prior to his response to a passenger with medical needs.
I’m on board a 1-King bus at present, going from MacNab to Kenilworth. I’m on board this bus because the 10-B Line was standing room only.
There was a large group of special needs students at MacNab. Both drivers were excellent in assisting them. Due to the space constraints on the B-Line, the students had to split between the two buses – including a wheelchair on each bus.
The drivers were excellent in their service, patient with the students, and, in my opinion, handled themselves above my expectations.
At Main and Fairholt, one of the special needs passengers had a seizure. The school teacher leading the group immediately asked the driver to stop the bus, informed the driver paramedics were not needed, and the educational assistants alongside the teacher unbuckled the wheelchair to ensure the student was safely located during the seizure.
The driver was very professional, and his professionalism assisted in keeping the other special needs students relatively calm during this medical event.
The driver maintained a calm driving style for the remainder of the trip, something that requires restraint as I’m sure he was running late after this occurred.
Twice I’ve drafted compliments, and twice the drivers have responded to incidents afterwards were on their own would earn commendation.