Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A culture of arrogance and obfuscation

Here is a verbatim transcription of a recent complaint filed with the New York City Transit Authority regarding bad service on the Q39 bus line in Queens. You will note that I've asked two very specific questions; also note that the reply answers neither of them directly—it skirts the issue instead. Just another example of the overwhelming arrogance that is pervasive within the MTA. We riders don't want another useless apology, we want the problems to be addressed and fixed.

Customer (Cameron Williams) - 01/31/2008 03:50 PM
Why are these buses (Q39) allowed to leapfrog each other, without regard to the printed schedule? I've seen four of these buses arrive within the space of three minutes—then no buses at all for 45 minutes.

Is this a concession you've made to the TWU? (i.e., if a driver finishes his/her route ahead of schedule, they get a break until their next scheduled run.)

If not, what's your justification?

Inadequate (and canned) response that doesn't answer the specific questions.

Response (Helen Castiglia) - 02/05/2008 09:43 AM
Dear Mr. Williams:

I am writing in response to your e-mail regarding the Q-39 bus route.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. Despite our best efforts to maintain regularly scheduled service, delays and service diversions can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons.

Therefore, in response to your concerns, with respect to multiple buses arrivng at the same time, this is usually an indication that a problem or obstruction occurred along the route which backs up the buses. Once the obstruction clears and buses resume a normal flow into traffic, they begin to catch up with one another thus resulting in a "bunching" or "piggyback" effect. Despite our best eforts to maintain regularly sheduled service, delays and service disruptions can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons.

If you have any future bus related concerns, please call our Customer Service Department at (718) 445-3100 Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.


Helen Castiglia
Customer Service Department
MTA Bus Company