Yesterday, while traveling by bus to the Main Branch of the Public Library, an incident occurred that, had there been stronger leadership at ABQRide, might not have happened.
Now, all sorts of people ride the bus and this couple were no exception. An exchange over car keys escalated. I approached the driver, with the deluded notion that the man would perhaps quell this problem. Not so. The driver, whispering, told me “to wait.” “Why?” “To wait and see what happens.” Clearly, he wasn’t going to lift a finger, and I said I would be filing a complaint. This set something off. Before I even reached my seat, I was being emotionally abused (familiar tactic); he was going to “call the police” and “I’ve had lots of problems with you in the past.” The male partner of the situation was still acting up. The driver threatened them as well. This tirade is being made while parked, still in traffic at the northbound intersection of Copper and Second Street.
The woman needed to pick up a prescription for pain and was clearly in agony. Well, we sat there for at least 10 minutes, maybe 15 until transit security arrived and the driver pulled over.
Now, while I’ve lived here for a long time and have ridden public transportation for over 40 years, I’m not normalizing this and shrugging it off with eye-rolling and “That’s Albuquerque for you!” No. The next step I took was to complain to the corporate “wannabe” that ABQRide has become. That clearly was not okay. I was subsequently treated very indifferently by a purported supervisor. Her chief interest? “It’s all on camera. We have it on film.” This is all I heard. Forget the fact that the driver was tyrannical and then was nice as pie as soon as APD showed up, that I’ve paid money over the years for bus passes, and the fact that Chavez and Berry had ABQRide in their back pockets.
I do remember a time here when I could call the company directly and be really listened to. They actually suspended drivers—what a concept! Not anymore.