Dear OC Transpo,
I know it must be annoying to have to constantly deal with public whining about late buses. I assure you that I am not one to typically complain about such things. The majority of drivers I know and have spoken with do an excellent job and try their very best to maintain scheduled times. I do not wish for this letter to throw them under the bus (pun not intended).
However, this past week, my frustrations have boiled over. On Monday, I sent you a few angry tweets (perhaps letting my emotions get the best of me) as I impatiently waited over an hour for the #1 bus on Bank Street. There didn't appear to be any reason for this – the weather was great and the traffic was unusually light thanks to March Break.
Yet, a bus that was supposed to come at 8:11, 8:31 and 8:51 according to your schedule did not arrive until past 9 o'clock, despite me waiting at the stop since shortly after 8:00.
What response did I get from my complaint?
@brianclarke__ Please visit our site or call Info at 741-4390 for the March Break schedule as we're running a reduced service this week.
— OC Transpo (@OC_Transpo) March 11, 2013
Well, I did in fact check the March Break reduced schedule and noticed that the bus was supposed to come every 20 minutes, not once an hour. That was probably the lamest response I could imagine.
Now, I don't really have any constructive criticisms on how to fix the issue. As I mentioned above, the drivers, other than a very small minority, do an amazing job in their work and seem to share many of the same frustrations with the public regarding OC administration. I know there are too many variables such as traffic and weather to account for and thus it is unreasonable for me to expect buses to always be on time.
However, experiences such as mine are becoming too common among Ottawa citizens. Something needs to be done. I don't understand enough about scheduling to know what this is. But as a business owner, I do understand branding and customer service, and right now, OC Transpo seems to have a very negative brand stigma amongst its customers.
The unreliability of stop schedules and the very unhelpful, 'nothing-we-can-do-about-it' attitude evidenced by the Twitter response I received is at the heart of this negative stigma.
Right now, you guys are the best car salesmen in Ottawa.