STUPID BUS TRICKS Winter '08 - '09

if you ever had been waiting,and waiting (and waiting) for the LOOP BEACON EXPRESS bus and wonder "where the @#**!! the bus is .. it just might be at the Arlington library in Poughkeepsie - this picture of the BEACON EXPRESS bus in the parking lot of the Arlington library was taken 08/24/09 at 4:09:56 PM K.E.N.

January - 01-05

This report is a milestone of sorts.In 2009,the last year of this century's first decade,I began these reports. Same stupid stuff,different decade.Some things never change,unfortunately.Over the past 9 years, the company mis-managing and operating the county buses,First Transit,have demostrated a high level of Incompetence.

The DCPT city route CL has gaps in the schedule as do all,or most,of the other DCPT schedules.There is a gap of 2 hours and 24 minutes between the1:08 at So. Cherry St. and Main St. and the next scheduled bus (3:32). With the extra time needed to put on the aditional layers needed for the extreme cold (12 deg. F with a wind chill in the negative),I would not be able to get to the stop in time.

I would take the eastbound 3:32 PM bus to the Stop and Shop in the route 44 plaza as I had done before. The bus arrived at 15:38 hrs. - 6 minutes late. Vehicle number 520 - one of the 30 ft. 'shortie' buses. I boarded and paid with my change card. The driver departed from where I boarded and went only as far as the east side of the Cherry-Main intersection. She (the driver) was saying something about swipping or swapping a car ??.I did not know,at first, what she was talking about.

She seemed unsure if indeed she diid.I finaly asked what hapened? did a car hit the bus? she had told me she had side-swipped a car and may have broke/tore off the mirror.This happened near the Dunkin Donuts on Main street - almost a mile away from where she had stopped the bus.It should be noted,where the bus was stopped,is one of many (many) abandoned properties. During the winter, the snow is not cleared on the sidewalk along this property.

During the campaign to keep the Poughkeepsie City Bus system,I had made the comment to someone that if the county takes over the Poughkeepsie city routes, there will be a lot of banged up parked cars.This illustrates my point beautifully.

The driver had informed the passengers remaining (several had gotten off) will have to wait for her supervisor,the police for the acident report and another bus (WTF??) to take everyone to their destination.Thus begins the 'adventure'.Two men,who seemed to be mechanics (one sounded like Joe Pesci in the movie "Home Alone") arived and boardered the bus.One of the mechanics asked for everyone's destination.Aparently,the driver was to be releived.This begs the question,why not bring a releif driver to continue the sheduled revenue run??.The driver that was driving the bus when the accident happened,would remain behind for the accident report etc.

DCPT/First Transit does not get the concept that the DRIVER goes to lunch,or is relieved of duty due to an accident, but the bus CONTINUES on the run. And so we had to wait and wait (and wait) for the relief bus and driver.I saw a 'shortie' bus go by (vehicle no. 510) I had thought this was the releif bus and driver and grabed my duffle bag full of bottles ready to depart. Alas this was not the releif bus.One of the mechanics had told me this bus had a 'mechanical issue' The bus was obvously operating under it's own power and if it was going to the DCPT garage caould have easily made it to the Stop and Shop in the route 44 plaza.??

Finaly at 16:45 hours aproximately the relief bus (vehicle no. 408 a full size bus) arrived. Like the end scene of "Fiddler On The Roof",we had to trudge through the snow,with our belongings,to the relief bus and driver.The relief bus got as far east on Main St. as the Market Fresh parking lot.There we waited for the relief driver,for the relief driver,to come back from lunch. After the transit version of the 'changing of the guard' ritual,we were on our way east bound. I had thoght we would go to he Stop&Shop directly,but the driver did the full route.Down Raymond Ave. and around the round-a-bout and all the way up to Adams and then into the route 44 plaza and the Stop and Shop.We arrived at 17:10 hours.1 hour and 11 minutes late as per schedule.



WINTER 08 - 09

12/17/08 15:20 hrs. on Raymond Blvd. I saw a LOOP bus going toward Vassar College veh. #205 - full size LOOP - had sign that said LOOP 2 ?? what the?? (FYI: the LOOP 2 is suposed to be on US rt. 9 or SR 9G) - did not take the bus but was able to see driver as bus passed by - the driver was a black fellow, who looked familiar to myself


01/14/09 at Meiser Park Wappingers Falls - was waiting and waiting and waiting (in the cold) for the 18:04 LOOP 3 to the Galeria for continuation on LOOP 2 to Stop and Shop rt. 9
18:25 hrs. aprox. did not get veh. # - full size LOOP Gilig (an actual transit bus - which will be a rarity these days for the LOOP) the driver asked me where I was going - I had realized some of the LOOP 3's "morph" into a 2 - I had told him will be going to the Galeria to xfer to the LOOP 2 for continuation to the Pok. Plaza - Stop and Shop etc. on rt. 9 - he had told me something to the efect he will be continuing north - I said something like Oh and asked him if I had to put in another dolar - he said no (technicaly if one is taking 2 diferant routes one should pay a fare for each route even if there is no change of vehicle - at the very least a xfer fare)
I seemed to be the only one on the bus - the driver began to tell me about the new "prison" buses the county was purchasing (had thought at this point the county had yet to purchase, and what the driver was talking about was a future purchase) he had told me they were BLUE BIRD (full size) SCHOOL BUSSES - arghhh...!! noooo! this CAN'T be true! what kind of stupidity is this?? do'nt our county elected officials read the Poughkeepsie Journal? did they not know of and/or read the article about the "mini" Blue Bird school bus that had CAUGHT FIRE and destroyed and/or heavily damaged 6 other similar buses? one would would think that catching fire would be a negative selling point for a particuclar brand of bus.
IMHO I think there should be an audit/investigation - as with most if not all transit vehicle purchases,like the new hybrid buses the C.O.P. purchased,there is funding for said purchase from the state and federal governments - what I would like to know is did the county get a whole lot of money to ostensibly purcahse say 5 new diesel-electric hybrid buses and instead the county actualy purchased 10 cheap schoolbuses and the county and/or an elected official(s) pocketed the diferance?
I had realized during this conversation that we did not go into the Galeria and were north of the Galeria on US rt. 9 - I departed at the Pok. Plaza Stop & Shop et al. on US rt. 9

01/17/09 Sat. Think it was Saturday the 17th near the intersection of Worrall and Main I saw a plain medium green school bus coming down the hill (Worrall becomes Inis Ave. after crossing Main St.) the bus looked like an Army troop transport vehicle or ... a PRISON BUS - I had rememberd what that LOOP driver had told me about the "new" buses the county had gotten - and as it got closer I saw that the old style mechanical route/destination sign said LOOP 10 "oh my God!" I had thought, "the county actualy bought them!"

01/20/09 16:18 hrs. at fountain on Market Street
LOOP 2 new "prison bus" - plain medium green no markings on outside to indicate it is a LOOP bus just the old style route / destination sign in front - typical narrow school bus entry - the bus is a Thomas (however like RV's I think school buses may have 2 diferant mfg. one for the chasis and drivetrain and one for the body which is the primary make / mfg. - so in this case may be a Thomas/Blue Bird)

01/24/09 Sat. on Raymond Blvd. Arlington - LOOP 6 new "prison bus" veh. # 809 (think was 09 may have been 08)
took bus to the Galeria - the vehicle number would seem to indicate that the county purchased at least TEN of these - oh my God!! stupidity times ten!

01/31/09 Sat. at Arlington 14:22 hrs. LOOP 6 veh. # 413 BlueBird "mini" school bus
took to the Galeria etc. - did not catch fire


at Lowe's 16:28 hrs.
LOOP 2 from (old) SHM to Pok. - at Galeria 16:30 hrs. 10 min LATE
vehicle # 209 "super LOOP"
while waiting for the above I saw a LOOP "prison bus" with the veh. number 815 - this would indicate the county got MORE than 10 of these - at least 16 from the vehicle number (take note of this when reading the below) and...

in addition to the LOOP 2 being late,was BEYOND capacity at the Galeria - took 3 minutes to load - did not leave the Galeria until 16:33 hrs. (now 13 minutes late) - driver had to REFUSE ADDITIONAL passengers from boarding at Pok. Plaza (Wendy's etc.)

02/07/09 Mon.17:29 hrs.
I saw a full sized LOOP bus EMPTY blow by Wendy's rt. 9 - there were PEOPLE WAITING for the LOOP 2 - the LOOP 2 at this point would have been 4 minutes LATE - the bus that blew by these people waiting was in "stealth mode" - destination sign off and lights out inside (I think may have been vehicle no. 207 - and of course obviously was able to move under it's own power)
I was not waiting with other passengers - was still shopping

02/10/09 Arlington15:20 hrs. C.O.P. MAIN STREET veh. #282
got x fer for C.O.P. SOUTHSIDE
at main stop no other buses behind above at first- people ileagaly parking (as usual) - saw the C.O.P. NORTHSIDE bus pull up behind the MAIN STREET bus aparently at some point - did not see - the SOUTHSIDE (new hybrid did not get veh. no.) pulled up alongside the NORTHSIDE bus I did not hear the SOUTHSIDE either (the hybrids are very quiet)
while waiting I saw a LOOP "prison bus" veh. #814 then... I saw a hybrid bus going up left side - it was the SOUTHSIDE - I then had to take a LOOP to rt. 9 took the 16:15 LOOP EXPRESS B
veh. # 204 - had observed there was TAPE across the bars to the side/back door - aparently the door was NOT WORKING - there was only ONE WORKING door on the bus

02/13/09 Friday (THE THIRTEENTH)
at Worall and Forbus shelter 14:07 hrs C.O.P. SHOPPERS SPECIAL veh.# 280
x fer to C.O.P. GALERIA at main stop
14:31 veh. # 08-283 (40' hybrid)
took 4 min. to load to capacity - did not leave until 14:35 hrs. (now 5 min. late) picked up even more passengers at Harlowe Row near fountain - now beyond capacity on the way out 14:38 hrs. saw LOOP 2 ariving downtown Poughkeepsie
arrived at Galeria 14:58 hrs.
after getting off the (C.O.P.) bus, I saw a LOOP "prison bus" at the stop in front - veh. # 804 - sign said LOOP 3 - was going to Wappingers Falls but the LOOP 3 not suposed to arrive until 15:18 hrs.
I got on board and said to the driver something like "gee kind of early" the driver had told me he was suposed to be the 14:15 (from the old SHM) run - and that he is 45 minutes late - said something about this run goes into the VA Castle Point and something about taking a long time to set up for a wheelchair

{I have observed over the years that a lot of physicaly cahalenged people use the regular transit bus as a PARA TRANSIT bus even though the LOOP provides both PARA TRANSIT and Dial-a-Ride service}


at Meiser Park Wappingers Falls 16:12 hrs.
LOOP 3 - 8 minutes late saw two prison buses pull up at same time - I took the lead bus - it was the one I was on earlier - vehicle # 804
the OTHER LOOP (# 3?) was presumably behind
did not x fer to LOOP 2 right away - would take the 17:20 run LOOP 2 back to downtown Poughkeepsie
at 17:08 hrs. veh. # 810 pulls in sign says LOOP 2 - had to go to (old) SHM first then back to Galeria - seemed to be on time
veh # 810 back at Galeria 17:20 hrs on time then ....
the driver did not let anyone get on board - he told people had to wait for a BIGGER bus - a lady that was waiting, was understandibly upset
17:30 hrs. aprox. vehicle # 210 "super LOOP" shows up - the driver of that bus gets off and takes supper break - the driver of vehicle # 810 gets on - "changing of the guard" - finaly everyone is allowed to board - did not leave until 17:32 hrs. now 12 minutes late
at Wendy's rt. 9 - Pok. Plaza 17:45 hrs. (suposed to be downtown at this time)
arrive main stop at 17:55 hrs. - just after veh. # 211 pulls up sign says OUT OF SERVICE

02/14/09 main stop 14:30 hrs. C.O.P. GALERIA veh. # 08-283 (40' hybrid)
near capacity at main stop - kept taking on passengers at Harlowe Row was already beyond legal capacity then took on even more passengers at Oakwood Commons now WAY BEYOND capacity
at Galeria - observed LOOP vehicle # 210 in "stealth mode" - had card or piece of foam board with magic marker LOOP 2 (looks like a fith grader did it)
15:12 hrs. LOOP 3 veh # 206
the driver let everyone on board even though the bus had not been to (old) SHM yet


(back) at Galeria - did not x fer to LOOP 2 right away - 19:47 hrs. LOOP 2 vehicle # 211 "super loop"

{ today's reasonably on time performance belied the cahos,confusion and transit mayhem of the previous day - FRIDAY THE THIRTENTH}

02/21/09 Arlington 14:22 LOOP 6 veh. # 414 BlueBird school bus - for destination signs had pieces of foam board with magic marker lettering - had old "Ralph Kramden" era fare box


at Stop and Shop rt. 9 shelter 16:33 hrs. LOOP 2 vehicle # 210 "super LOOP"
BEYOND CAPACITY - arrives main stop 16:45 hrs. then... just a few seconds after, vehicle # 203 arrives - sign says LOOP 2 - north split LOOP 2 south?

02/28/09 Sat. at S&S rt. 9 shelter 17:27 hrs. LOOP 2 vehicle # 208
BEYOND CAPACITY - driver said can't use dolar bill - something about coin stuck in bill slot ?
arrive main stop 17:42 hrs.
after getting off bus had observed about a dozen people inside the ATM lobby of the HV FCU Civic Center PLaza branch - aparently they were using the ATM lobby as a bus waiting room/shelter