Wednesday, December 18, 2019

CV

CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, a Latin phrase meaning "course of life."

I recently updated my CV and included it as a tab on the navigation bar for easy access. My life followed an interesting course in 2019. It turned down a road of solidary with the poor and it followed a calling for radical advocacy for the expansion of public transportation to improve mobility.

As I ponder what is next professionally I feel open to what 2020 has in store.  Please check out my CV and reach out to me with job offers!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Hours, Rides, and Pay

I began working for the Winston-Salem Transit Authority on Monday, January 28th and ended my tenure on Friday, December 13th. I learned a great deal about the public health importance of public transportation during the course of the year of our Lord 2019.

I worked 2,037 hours providing an estimated 24,721 rides (hours multiplied by rides per hour ratio) and earned $26,764 in take-home pay.

The chart below shows that my hours were trending up from an average of 43.3 hours per week.  My longest week was 55.8 hours which resulted in an estimated 832 rides.

The average American works 1,811 hours in a year (TMFBookNerd).  I worked 226 hours more than that which helps me rationalize the completion of my goal of driving for a year. I logged 8 weeks of working 50 hours or more.

My income was below the federal poverty line for a family of 5.

View analysis of my hours, rides and pay online in this spreadsheet. Data comes from the ADP App of my pay stubs; any error in data entry or analysis is my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

All Aboard!


This video is highlights of the last few days and features an opera singer singing the Latin prayer Dona Nobis Pacem.  The prayer translates as "grant us peace." 

Friday is my last day as a driver.  Check my route calendar to find a time to ride along. 

Please join us in public transportation advocacy, sign up for updates


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gratitude


This Thanksgiving I am grateful for how public transportation makes provision for my family and our community.  Driving is rewarding because I see how rides to daycare, work, healthcare, school, and the grocery store support life.

Having a holiday off gives me time to reflect on how interacting with passengers can be so meaningful.  Sometimes space opens up and they share stories from their life.  Listening to those stories gives me hope for our community.

I am thankful for you as a reader of this blog.  Please complete this form to share your contact information.  I hope to contact you about advocacy opportunities to help improve public transportation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Vacation Analysis

I accrued 17 hours of vacation for 2020. It made me wonder how I compared to my fellow drivers.

Table 1 shows the breakout of allotted vacation hours by the number of drivers. You can see that the 5 most senior drivers (whom each get 6 weeks off) account for almost 15% of all the allotted vacation hours. By comparison, my classmates (4 drivers) account for .08%.  The average driver will get 80 hours of vacation in 2020.

Table 1: Vacation Allotted by 102 Drivers
Allotted HrsN Drivers% Vacation Hrs%
24054.91,200.014.6
20032.9600.07.3
1601312.72,080.025.3
1201110.81,320.016.1
9311.093.01.1
9011.090.01.1
802322.51,840.022.4
6211.062.00.8
401312.7520.06.3
36.643.9146.51.8
29.922.059.90.7
2311.023.00.3
2022.040.00.5
19.922.040.00.5
1743.968.00.8
1311.013.00.2
1022.020.00.2
711.07.00.1
01211.80.00.0
1,261.61021008,222.4100

Creating groups makes it easier to visualize the fact that 30% of the drivers do not ave much vacation.

Using seniority as the primary means of bestowing benefits tilts the scale in ways new drivers feel but often lack the words to express. It works against newbies.  New drivers are doing extra work to cover for everyone else's vacation. The current policy forces them to wait to years to receive one week of vacation.

Figuring out an equitable vacation policy would reduce the high intitiation burden that new drivers face.   Addressing such issues would aid in the retention of drivers.

Here is the link to the data.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Operator Survey


Alfredo and I conducted a survey of fixed-route bus drivers for their suggestions regarding routes and schedules.   Below are the tables of our findings. 


Table 1. WSTA Driver Schedule Survey N =79Total%
A ten-hour shift 4 days a week starting in the morning5772.2%
A ten-hour shift 4 days a week starting in the evening3038.0%
An early morning 8-hour straight shift 5 days a week2227.8%
A Late 8-hour straight shift 5 days a week1620.3%
Split shifts 5 days a week56.3%
Night runs with weekends off1822.8%
Provide a suggestion of a schedule810.1%


Table 2. Route Suggestions
RouteSuggestion
89More time on the route
93Route needs to be cut short
93Service Castle Heights or 331 and North Hampton Dr; Change time points on the outbound trip
95Cut out Strattford and Knollwood
99More time on the route
103Move final time point back so you can get to TC earlier
104Changing inbound time points for a bathroom break at the TC on Route 104. The new time points could be [5. Old Lexington 6:05] [6. Waughtown and Vargrave 6:10] [7. Waughtown and South Main 6:15 [1.TC 6:20].
104Adjust so you can get a bathroom break
105More time on the route
105Not go up Argonne

Sunday, November 3, 2019

NC BikeWalk Summit

I will be telling stories at the NC BikeWalk Summit on Saturday, November 9th in session 4 from 10-11am. I hope to inspire change.

As background on economic mobility, I plan to tell them that roughly 40% of Americans would struggle covering a $400 emergency expense like a broken down car (FRB).  Last week 3 different passengers asked route questions and sheepishly admitted they were new riders because of recent car trouble.  They represent the latent demand that I see in the ride per hour ratio.

I will explain why people run in an effort to catch the bus so they can "step up" in life even risking it at dangerous intersections.

I will advocate for counting every bus ride as a call for more safety infrastructure for pedestrians.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Intersection

From the driver seat of the city bus, I have begun to dread coming to the intersection of Patterson and Indiana Avenues.  The intersection is the convergence of routes 87 and 92.  You can see from the ratio of rides per hour that they are our most popular routes.  These routes combined represent just over 15% of all rides. 

I am fearful for the people I see walking in this dangerous interchange.  I have seen them darting across this busy intersection to try to catch whichever bus is passing at the time. Route 87 stays on Patterson while 92 turns on Indiana.

If you go in person or take a virtual Google Maps tour of the intersection you will see pedestrians but no infrastructure for safely navigating the interchange.  The intersection is crowded with people and yet no pedestrian amenity (i.e. crosswalk, island, signal) in street design. 

Driving either of these routes is an inexhaustible source of people-watching. It is a privilege to serve the passengers in these important public transportation corridors.  I hope I never witness a person struck by a car at the intersection of Patterson and Indiana. 

5 Bags Full

The volunteer effort to sweep the transit center resulted in five bags full of cigarette butts.  It took 10 people an hour and thirty minutes to collect such a quantity of butts. 


A passenger friend, a real God-send, worked as two men.  We all got a laugh out of the tool I fashioned to scrape the seams between the concrete slabs.  It was a rake handle with a screw protruding from the end and was affectionately named  “the butt cracker."

We left feeling tired but accomplished. We departed wondering how smoking in a public space can still be allowed?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Route Ride Per Hour Ratio

The Winston-Salem Transit Authority is on course to provide over 2.5 million rides in 2019. That is a big number that can be hard to grasp.  Breaking it down by route helps it add up.

I became a bus driver to experience first hand the power of public transportation and to help me understand the complex system.  As I drive around I have been thinking of a measure to use in comparing routes.  I came to the idea of using a ratio that compares ridership per hour of service.

 Table 1: WSTA ridership per route for September 2019.
RouteDTNSDRides% RidesHrs% HrsRides/Hrs
87^NL721,54610.1633.54.434.0
92NEL611,9695.6428.03.028.0
96EL712,7986.0497.53.525.7
93EC79,7474.6475.03.320.5
91NL68,3673.9428.03.019.5
83*SL714,4976.8801.55.618.1
89NL78,6604.1481.53.418.0
86SL78,3583.9483.03.417.3
84WL66,3843.0412.02.915.5
105*SEL711,1475.2751.55.314.8
81/82WC66,1092.9416.02.914.7
103*WL710,7625.1733.55.114.7
94EL77,1563.4493.53.514.5
88NL53,5481.7260.01.813.6
102SWL51,3110.6100.00.713.1
107*WL79,1214.3713.55.012.8
106NL76,0652.8485.53.412.5
98NEL53,2451.5260.01.812.5
80*WL78,8154.1733.05.112.0
109NWL65,1052.4438.03.111.7
90NL75,7822.7497.53.511.6
85*WL67,8193.7678.04.811.5
104SL75,5012.6483.03.411.4
101SECT75,1292.4473.53.310.8
97NC63,9581.9422.03.09.4
95WL54,2892.0480.03.48.9
110EC59560.4120.00.88.0
108SC72,9711.4485.53.46.1
99WCT58350.4240.01.73.5
100AllC71,0800.5361.82.53.0
29213,03010014265.810014.9
D = Cardinal Direction | T = Type (Circular, Cross Town, Linear) | NSD = N Service Days
^ = has 2nd bus | * = 2nd Bus Funded by NCDOT B40

You can see that some of the routes are very popular and others are quiet.

I believe you can use this type of information to advocate for second buses on popular routes like 92 and 96.  For example I think the Place Matters Initiative should push for a second bus on route 96 that runs through their impact communities.  I have driven it and could feel the importance of the bus in those places.

What interesting things do you see in this information? 

This analysis is available on the web. The data was provided by the Winston-Salem Transit Authority in an email from the General Manager on 10/10/19.