So I sent that e-mail yesterday and, lo and behold, I got a fast response from one of my state legislators who, it turns out, hates Academy Bus lines as much as I now do.
The other one was from the Terminal Manager of Academy Bus. He was clearly not a happy camper and immediately set out to slap my hand because I transposed two numbers when I referred to the bus with the fucked-up airconditioning.
THAT'LL TEACH ME.
He also denied that they don't have an overnight maintenance shift and cordially invited me to "drive by the facility" sometime at night to view the lit up yard... from afar. He went on to explain that "due to ongoing construction, it wouldn't be safe to invite you IN."
He denied that they send out buses with broken air-conditioning, which is just a bald-faced lie. And, finally, he said, more or less, that his drivers were the finest drivers on earth and needed no adjustment to their attitudes or their abilities.
Yeah. Right. Yada-yada-yada.
Like I care about his problems.
So I've been busy cooking up a "form" for evaluating bus service, on a ride by ride basis, which I intend to print up and hand out to everyone at my bus station for the next several weeks. It tracks things like the arrival and departure times vs. the actually scheduled times, the status of the coach interior, the comfort of the seats, whether or ot the a/c was working, the courteousness/professionalism of the driver and a special column to note any "mitigating circumstances" regarding the commute. That would be for things like unavoidable delays on the highway due to accidents or weather. Look, I want to be fair about this.
I got this idea from my days of living in New York City. When I moved to New York in 1978 the subways were a shiteous mess. Graffiti blocked all the windows on the cars, the platforms were filthy, trains arrived late, if at all, and the whole place reeked of human excrement and exuded danger at every turn.
Then somebody, God bless 'em, started to organize and the next thing anybody knew there was something call "The Straphangers Association" and all of a sudden there were people, with clipboards and stop-watches and schedules and forms, standing on every subway platform, making copious notes about arrivals and departures and announcements and MTA employees.
And in no time at all the subways were suddenly clean, and new, and beautiful and safe and you could finally understand the announcements blaring from the loudspeakers (well, sometimes).
All the politicians in New York City couldn't do a friggin' thing about the lousy subways... but a handful of citizens could.
I believe in citizen action. I believe in citizen OVERSIGHT.
Now I want the mofos who run the bus companies where I live to be accountable. Something they are not now. Or not much. Mostly there's a lot of standing around and fingerpointing and denying everything.
They're like 4 year olds alone in a room with a broken lamp. "IT FELL" they say.
Oh, and that state legislator I mentioned, above. She wants me to join her rabble-rousing campaign to put a knife to the bus companies collective throats.
I emailed her back, "SIGN ME UP, ASSEMBLYWOMAN!"