Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Double damned...

Okay... so what could possibly be worse than taking the bus? That's an easy one. Not having any busses to take, of course. We are now at the "eleventh hour" before the folks at OC Transpo (Ottawa's finest purveyors of bussing-type services), operators of the inimitable Loser Cruiser, are scheduled to go on strike.

Okay, to take their side of things, they've been without a contract since what? June? July? It's been awhile. But hey, it's not like the money tap has been turned off since then. It's not like they're living all destitute-like, having to sleep in their busses with no home to go to at the end of the day. No...no... all that part has been cool and all. But as per the norm, "management" has been dragging their knuckles, or their heels, or something... and now everyone is like: "FINE!! Here we are just before Christmas, so let's see how you like it when we quit running the busses and then the citizens will call you up and scream at you until your ears bleed a bright, Yuletide-colored blood!!"

There are a lot of instances in life where one aggravated party will scream: "Yeah? Well my money pays your salary and I expect to receieve fair service!!!" In 90% of these instances, it's patently untrue. In this case however, it's right on the money. Why is it that we, the paying patrons of OC Transpo, are inevitably the ones left twisting in the wind whenever a transit strike occurs. Management doesn't pay for it (they save about $2,000,000.00 a week when the busses are not running). The workers don't pay for it. The passengers...? Right in the neck, every fucking time.

The drivers are hoping that commuters will turn their ire on management. Good luck with that one, as management are not the ones who walked off the job and left us scrambling for ways to make it in to work. What about those who depend on the bus system to make a living? Those who may have to takle reduced hours, change their shifts... make less money. What of those who because of this scenario, will not be able to make bill payments, mortgages...? You're jeopardizing their entire lifestyle...their livelihood... Because you're not happy with some of the finer points of your contract?

I understand that the drivers want the freedom to determine their own shifts and routes, based on their seniority. This is a problem if the attrition rate amongst drivers and lack of recruitment, leaves too few drivers to man the routes that are required. Management has therefore taken over this task of assigning routes and drivers, based on the requirements of the public. Reason being: It is management's responsibility to provide a reliable transit service to the public.

They are not handicapped by the same feelings of entitlement or priviledge that the drivers are. Their bottom line is simply to deliver the service that the public pays for and rightfully expects.

I'm sure that in the drivers' eyes, their demands are no less valid than management's reasons for not wanting to grant them. As a member of the public who pays for this service however, and having actually been directly involved in a management capacity within the Navy, I have to side with management. The mission must take precedence over how 'warm and fuzzy' your troops feel.

*Sigh!* Great! J.F.G. (Just Fucking Great!!), as my friend Spider would say. I finally manage to reconcile myself to taking the bus for the winter months, just in time for these assholes to stop running them.


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