Guest editorial: Bus driver responds to critic
December 11, 2013
This letter is in response to Bill Dark’s (Letters to the Editor, Dec. 7-10, 2013) admonishment and low opinion of the Park City Transit System, i.e. its drivers and management. I drove a bus in Park City in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I was what we all still call a "ski bum;" when the system was in its early years. Now that I have retired and discovered that the boring life of a non-working retiree was not for me, I have since decided to come back and drive a bus in Park City once more. This puts me, I believe, in a unique position to answer Mr. Dark’s accusations. I’m here because I want to be, not because I have to be.
It seems as though Bill may have been inconvenienced by having to stop and be slowed down by a bus in front of him on Park Avenue. I’m sure he was in a hurry to get wherever he was going, as so many Park City drivers are. This can happen oftentimes at the Town Lift stop, where traffic is so congested. It is a particularly dangerous area, where bus drivers have to be careful.
Many times I have seen vehicles parked close to, or actually inside, the bus stops. Upper Park Avenue is narrow and difficult to traverse. Cars speed up to "beat the bus," some crossing lanes and pulling around us. Taxis and resort shuttles are particularly adept at pulling out and/or impeding us at any time. This is understandable. Park City buses are free and cost them valuable time. If Mr. Dark doubts this, I suggest he try to maneuver one of these machines up or down Park Avenue or Main Street on a Saturday night.
I have also seen times when a car, truck or shuttle will pull into a curb and slosh muck all over waiting passengers or pedestrians. We, as bus drivers, are trained to do this slowly. We are also directed by management to watch out for passing traffic on all sides of the bus. The safety of our passengers is always paramount, and that is drilled into us at every safety meeting, which we have on a monthly basis.
The average Park City bus driver is not an executive, or a Rhodes Scholar, or a Park City housewife. He or she is a young man or woman working hard to make ends meet and/or raise a family. We are charged with moving a large number of people safely and in a timely manner. We do have schedules to meet. But still we smile when picking up a half-dozen skateboarders who run 10 yards and flag us down just to get to the next stop, even though this means that someone down the line will admonish us for being five minutes late.
Contrary to what Mr. Dark may believe, the majority of people riding a Park City bus year-round are not tourists/skiers, people who may decide to choose Vail or Steamboat over us. Most people using transit are the workers who ultimately support this town the cooks and maids and lift operators. Many of these people are challenged by the English language, but still we try to help them as best we can.
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I have noticed that many locals here truly attempt to help and be patient with the buses. They allow us into the flow of traffic and patiently wait while we embark and disembark our passengers. I hope Mr. Dark will become one of these.
In conclusion, I would like to say that, in my opinion, the management of your transit system is a dedicated and professional group. The Park City Transit System is a large and complex organization the largest free system in the country. We drive from Silver Lake to Jeremy Ranch, Kimball Junction to Summit Park and all points between. It is so much larger than it was years ago, and I believe that its managers should be thanked for a difficult job well done, not berated by Mr. Bill Dark for a single incident.