Deja Vu, Dublin Bus Style
Do you remember the Pretenders’ song that goes like this:
I went back to Ohio,
but my city was gone.
There was no train station.
There was no downtown.
The Monday after we got back from Paris, I could have written a similar song. When I got back to Ireland, my city was still there, but my bus stop was gone.
Just like last time – the pole was gone and the hole was cemented over. Unlike last time, the stop wasn’t just down the road. It was well and truly disappeared.
I wasn’t too stressed out about this. After all, I’m an old veteran at bus stop disappearance. I was fairly confident if I stood there and stuck my arm out, just like the kind driver said last time, that the bus would stop. A woman came up and deposited an elderly lady with me and I assured them both that this was a bus stop. Perhaps it had a nasty habit of moving around but the driver would stop.
After about five minutes of waiting, the bus arrived. The driver looked at me and my arm and the little old lady and her arm and shook his head, then looked away. He was not going to stop. I stepped out into the road, edging my hip and arm into his path and stared at him. He kept rolling the bus and was showing no intention of stopping. I had to content myself with pounding on the door as the bus rolled past.
I might have been able to leg it to the next stop, but I felt a little responsible for making sure the elderly lady made it to the next stop. After all, I’d assured her the bus would stop. As we walked the nearly quarter-mile to our next stop, I used my cell phone to engage in a great American tradition – registering complaints. I left a message in the complaint mailbox for Dublin Bus.
To my surprise, Dublin Bus has been incredibly communicative and responsive. The complaints man rang me back within 3 hours of my message to explain the situation to the best of his knowledge. (Let me tell you, I would not want his job if it were the last job on earth and came with the use of a country estate, an expense account and fancy car.) He also rang back this morning to let me know that the garage manager would come out to the road to see if there was a suitable spot on the road where they could put the bus stop.
The Dublin Bus guy told me that the first move was due to safety concerns – the police essentially said the stop had to be moved. The recent closure of the stop was done because it was blocking a resident’s driveway. I don’t entirely buy Dublin Bus’s argument for why no notice was given about the bus stop closure. They claim that they had to remove the stop that day, so they had no way to post a sign because they had to take the pole away. It seems to me like they could decommission the stop and use the pole to post a notice, perhaps conveniently over the schedule. Something simple like “This stop is closed. The bus won’t stop here. Start walking.”
This morning, I also sent e-mails to local city councilors and the TDs for the area. I’ve had a good response rate and feel like something is being done about it. (The best response was from a cit councilor who has that he’s a bus customer too and that a similar thing happened to him last year – his bus stop also went missing.) So far, a possibly annoying and upsetting situation has been manageable. Of course, I’m not going to be thrilled tomorrow morning when I’m hoofing it to the next stop because I have to be at work on time and can’t leave myself at the mercy of the bus driver. Maybe as I walk, I’ll work on the lyrics to my new song.
I went back to Dublin, but my bus stop was gone. There was no blue pole. There was no schedule…