Poor Customer Service – Coast Mountain Bus Company

Here is a letter that my wife wrote to Coast Mountain Buslink today:
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Hello:

I am writing to you with a major customer service concern about one of your bus operators. Today, Monday September 11th, 2006, I tried to board the #110 Bus (B7418) heading east from Metrotown at 3:34 PM. The bus operator would not allow me to board the bus because I had a double stroller. There was plenty of room as the bus had roughly 10 passengers. I have been a regular bus rider for nearly 10 years and I have seen people with the same stroller board the bus. In fact, I have been able to board any Coast Mountain bus with my stroller so far this year without any problems.

I am a parent with a four year old with two seven month old twin babies . I cannot drive. I cannot afford to. My son is going to school now and the bus is my only option. THE STROLLER FITS ALL COAST MOUNTAIN BUSES! And he had no consideration to allow me to board. Why doesn’t he allow me to board? Does he hate children? Does he hate people who don’t have earn the $60,000 salary that he has?

For the most part, I have had excellent service from coast mountain bus operaters. In fact, John Strachan, a good friend of mine is a bus operator in Port Coquitlam. However this particular bus driver on B7418 at 3:34PM poorly reflects the Coast Mountain Bus Company. I am afraid to run into him again.

The bus is a Vital, Crucial mode of transport that allows me to take care of the needs of my family. Without it, I cannot pick up my son, or get food or help my family. I cannot risk running into this particular bus driver again. I suggest that you move this bus driver to another route and give him sensitivity training regarding parents with children.

This issue needs to be resolved quickly.
First, I would like a Copy of this email to be sent to your Manager.
Second, I would appreciate follow up correspondence (letter, email) as soon as possible regarding this particular bus driver and would like assurance that he has been moved elsewhere.

Please call me at 778.******* or email me here at ***** if you have any questions. I will be most happy to answer them.

Sincerely,

Evelyn, Nicolas, Euna and Zeta

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I’ll keep you guys posted as to their response. Feel free to contact them at custrel@translink.bc.ca on our behalf if you have some time.

7 Comments so far

  1. Soultrance (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

    Wow, thats brutal.

    I’ve always though Translink in general sucks, personally, and a lot of the bus drivers, especially downtown, are utterly pricks and rude for no good reason. If they don’t like their cushy $60k/year job, then maybe they should quit and find something that requires less interpersonal skills, it’d sure help everyone that has to deal with this kinds of rude drivers.

    I hope you get a response from them and I hope it’s not just a fluff piece and they actually do something about it.

    Good luck!


  2. Rod Templeton (unregistered) on September 12th, 2006 @ 8:50 am

    This is the exact same problem that we experienced with Translink. Multiple drivers along the same route. Translink assured us that a “system wide” bulletin would go out informing drivers that double strollers were to be permitted. That was either a lie or the drivers don’t care and are ignoring it.
    My wife actually got a story printed in the local paper detailing this situation, where she said that she was denied service on a public transportation system. Then we heard from Translink, who told her that, “You were not denied service.” She told him that the driver’s exact words (after someone boarded the bus in front of her) were “I’m not lowering the bus. You can’t get on,” before closing the doors and driving off. Mr Translink’s response? “Oh. Um. That, uh, would constitute denying you service.”
    Among the reasons she has been given for not allowing the stroller on the bus:
    – I’m late for my break
    – The lift is broken
    – I don’t know how to work the lift

    She also had a driver tell her that it was unsafe for the twins to be in the stroller and that she should hold on to them while he was driving. She wanted to know why he thought this was a good idea considering that if she did the same thing in a car (where she would be wearing a seatbelt) that it would be illegal. If the bus were in an accident, she couldn’t hang on to two 15 pound babies.
    I hope that you do get resolution on this (best one would be a fired transit driver, IMO), and I don’t mean to be completely pessimistic, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.


  3. Rod Templeton (unregistered) on September 12th, 2006 @ 8:52 am

    This is the exact same problem that we experienced with Translink. Multiple drivers along the same route. Translink assured us that a “system wide” bulletin would go out informing drivers that double strollers were to be permitted. That was either a lie or the drivers don’t care and are ignoring it.
    My wife actually got a story printed in the local paper detailing this situation, where she said that she was denied service on a public transportation system. Then we heard from Translink, who told her that, “You were not denied service.” She told him that the driver’s exact words (after someone boarded the bus in front of her) were “I’m not lowering the bus. You can’t get on,” before closing the doors and driving off. Mr Translink’s response? “Oh. Um. That, uh, would constitute denying you service.”
    Among the reasons she has been given for not allowing the stroller on the bus:

    – I’m late for my break
    – The lift is broken
    – I don’t know how to work the lift

    She also had a driver tell her that it was unsafe for the twins to be in the stroller and that she should hold on to them while he was driving. She wanted to know why he thought this was a good idea considering that if she did the same thing in a car (where she would be wearing a seatbelt) that it would be illegal. If the bus were in an accident, she couldn’t hang on to two 15 pound babies.
    I hope that you do get resolution on this (best one would be a fired transit driver, IMO), and I don’t mean to be completely pessimistic, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

    Our solution to the problem? We bought a car and my wife no longer takes transit. I could really care less if it’s harder on the environment to put another car on the road, as long as my wife and kids don’t need to be made to feel like second class citizens by some (way) over-paid idiot.


  4. buddy (unregistered) on September 12th, 2006 @ 10:21 am

    Strollers are welcome on CMBC buses. However, open strollers can only be accommodated on buses equipped for carrying wheelchairs and must be smaller than 2’x4′ to manoeuvre safely on the aisle. Prioity for the wheelchair area is given to wheelchairs, scooters, elderly and disabled. Should anyone in these categories require this space, you will be asked to fold the stroller and move to another seat.


  5. Rod Templeton (unregistered) on September 12th, 2006 @ 11:14 am

    It does meet those criteria (a front to back stroller, not a side by side) and there were no wheelchairs, etc on the bus. As I mentioned, this has happened many times, to many mothers of twins in this area. Drivers have also suggested picking the stroller up (with the kids in it) and carrying it on to the bus rather than kneel the bus or lower the lift.


  6. (unregistered) on October 1st, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

    For all of you people out there who think bus drivers are rude, petty etc why dont you read the CMBC policy regarding strollers:

    Rules for Riding
    Strollers are welcome on CMBC buses. However, open strollers can only be accommodated on buses equipped for carrying wheelchairs and must be smaller than 2’x4′ to manoeuvre safely on the aisle. Prioity for the wheelchair area is given to wheelchairs, scooters, elderly and disabled. Should anyone in these categories require this space, you will be asked to fold the stroller and move to another seat.

    DO YOU SEE THE 2′ by 4′ footprint??? The measurement is made from the handleback (where you hang on and push the stroller to the front of the stroller. If it bigger than 2-4 than it is not allowed for SAFETY REASONS including not fitting on a high floor lift safely (cant fit with parent hanging on). If it is smaller than YES it can ride

    Please read the latest 24hours about the complaint regarding a double stroller and see what the complaintant says….I am not going to fold my stroller for a WHEELCHAIR!!!!! THAT IS WHAT THE SPOT WAS DESIGNED FOR,NOT STROLLERS, THAT IS A COURTESY WHY BECAUSE YOU CAN FOLD IT the person in the wheelchair CANNOT!!!! people folded their strollers on buses for over 50years why so lazy now?
    and by the by the CMBC policy for strollers when wheelchairs arrive at a stop is as follows:

    Prioity for the wheelchair area is given to wheelchairs, scooters, elderly and disabled. Should anyone in these categories require this space, you will be asked to fold the stroller and move to another seat.

    But hey when the driver turns to ask you to move the resulting answer is usually NO


  7. yong_sa (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 5:35 am

    Yes, we did see the 2×4 footprint. In fact, we measured it and it was well below that footprint. What really bothered me was
    1) The inconsistency of the bus drivers. All bus drivers except this particular one would allow my wife to get on.

    2) There were no wheelchairs on the bus at the time and still he would not let us on.

    3) We have twins and a 5 year old. Do you truly expect my wife to fold the stroller take both babies on her left and right hand and kick my son onto the bus, Hand the babies to a passenger, plop the bus ticket into the dispenser pick up the stroller, drag it onto the bus, then take a seat and hold onto dear life while hoping that the bus driver doesn’t make any sudden stops because both of her hands are full? Common sense dictates leaving the babies in the 2×4 stroller, don’t you think?

    In defense of the coast mountain bus, we did get some first class response from the managers. Check out part 2 by going to this link:

    http://vancouver.metblogs.com/archives/2006/09/poor_customer_service_coast_mo_1.phtml



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