As our regular readers know I am a born and raised Las Vegas native and I have seen this city take on many changes including changes in our public transportation systems. The City of Las Vegas has NEVER had an efficient and reliable transportation system! Oh they’ve given it the old “college try” but continue to fail!! The only corridor in the Las Vegas Valley that has ever had a shot at having somewhat reliable public transportation is the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas “The Tourist” Corridors. While I completely understand the importance of providing quality transportation options for our visitors it begs the question what about the rest of the city?
There are thousands and thousands of us that rely on public transportation in the City of Las Vegas, the need continues to grow and the majority of us are on a schedule! We have time clocks to punch, meetings to attend and appointments to make, we aren’t on a joy ride. Believe me if you have never ridden the bus here in Las Vegas it is anything but a joy. The entire commuter experience is generally a nightmare! This was my experience today…
I had an appointment scheduled for 9:30 am this morning, last night prior to turning in I utilized the trip planner on the RTC website. I am always careful to plan my trip so that I am able to have a 30 minute window for RTC margin of error. When I arrived at the Bonneville Transit Center to make my transfer from the BHX to the WAX the schedule posted at the WAX lane was 45 minutes in difference to the online trip planner. Needless to say I was forced to have to call my client and attempt to reschedule for an hour later which was not a possibility for them today making the entire morning a complete waste of nearly three hours of my time not to mention my bus fare.
Being more than somewhat miffed I stopped by the “customer service” counter before leaving the BTC to air my grievance with their scheduling. I asked to speak to a Supervisor who’s only advice to me was to file a complaint on their website or on Facebook. Well considering the odds of actually having a customer service representative that would be empowered to actually do something to address my plight contact me and that the RTC does not allow posts by others to appear on their Facebook page I chose to share this story with our readers instead. Prior to doing so I did attempt to contact the RTC public relations office and offered them the opportunity to provide me with a public comment. They have yet to return my call.
On July 4th last year I was actually kicked of the Centennial Express for having the audacity to insist that the Driver address me with dignity and respect. On that day I did actually get a call back from their PR Department and a written apology. Nearly a year later little has changed with the RTC commuter experience.
Pretty much the only thing you can depend on with the RTC is that the bus WILL BE LATE and don’t dare have the temerity to ask for an explanation as to why a bus is more than an hour late as their stellar customer service reps profess that they don’t know where a bus that cost somewhere around a half a million dollars is. You know damn well that thing is equipped with GPS!
In most cases you can expect to be greeted by either a grumpy driver or one that has the personality of a MOP! You better already know where you are going because asking for route assistance appears to be a HUGE inconvenience for them. In some cases there is actually security on the bus who seem to think it is their responsibility to hassle senior citizens about their little fold up grocery cart or a Mom that is juggling little ones with a stroller as opposed to dealing with an addressing those that are actually disrupting the commuter experience or impeding efficiency. The Drivers are all to quick to be tolerant to allow people that are overly intoxicated or severely under the influence on the bus.. the quarters are tight enough on the bus especially in the Summer heat add a commuter that obviously REEKS from the smell of weed or someone that is so drunk they can’t even sit in a seat without falling over to the mix and it really makes for a miserable ride. Although I guess that beats the alternative to having those that are that smashed behind the wheel of a vehicle. I have personally witnessed a driver leave a little old lady sitting at the bus stop in 100+degree heat with her groceries because it was taking her to long to gather her bags to get on the bus, yet Security will hold up a bus for 10 or 15 minutes to run someone off from a bus stop for loitering exemplifying their au-thor-i-tay as they hitch up their britches like Barney Fife. If they aren’t vandalizing anything or harassing commuters just ignore them or get off the bus call Metro and handle it without disrupting operations.
We see all of this fluffy news from the RTC about bicycle events, ride share and the “environmental impact” of public transportation blah blah blah…. who cares! At the end of the day none of that is getting us where we need to be when we need to be there. How about this RTC…. focus your efforts on operations!
- Stop promising us that there will be a bus every twenty minutes if you can’t deliver!
- Provide accurate route information at ALL of your stops
- Get your IT department together and make sure that the information on your website is current!
- Hire some drivers with some actual customer service skills!
- Empower your staff to make a decision to make things right for those that have had a bad experience
- Hold your staff accountable for their actions.
Just because we ride the bus doesn’t mean our time isn’t valuable! Here’s a challenge for you! How about if our City Council members our County Commissioners, RTC Officials and other legislators try using the RTC to get where they need to be at the time they need to be there for a thirty day period….. I’d be willing to bet that not one has the the moxy to accept that challenge. You cost me about $150 dollars today RTC! What are you going to do to make that right?