Thursday, November 28, 2019


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%

Creating groups makes it easier to visualize the fact that 30% of the drivers do not have 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 initiation 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
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


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?