Egregious Behaviour from VTA

Today, I was shown amazingly egregious behaviour by and flipped off by a light rail conductor during my commute. I complained to VTA. Rather than rewriting the story again, here’s my complaint:

  • Date of Event: January 20, 2006
  • Time of Event: 10:50am
  • Mode of Transportation: Light Rail
  • Route: #902
  • Vehicle: #950A
  • Direction: North
  • Nearest Major Cross Street: Mathilda & Java

This complaint is regarding the horrible behaviour displayed by a light rail conductor.

I commute from San Jose to Yahoo! in Sunnyvale almost every day on light rail, from Fruitdale to Borregas station in the morning and back in the evening. I love the service and have never had any major problems at all. Bravo!

However, this morning, I boarded the northbound Mountain View train at Civic Center at about 10:19am. Upon departing the stop before mine, Crossman, I promptly pushed the stop request strip, and confirmed that it registered. It sounded the chirp, and the screen displayed “STOP REQUEST”. There were two others on board the train who prepared to get off as well.

The train did not stop at Borregas station, and continued on without slowing. After it was clear that we were not stopping at Borregas, and no announcement was made, I pushed the intercom call button.

The conductor answered after a moment with “Is there an emergency, or are you disabled?”, already displaying an attitude. I responded “You did not stop at Borregas station, and there was a stop request”. He promptly hung up on me, and made a train-wide announcement “Would the parents of the small child please keep him from pressing the red button unless it is an emergency”. There were many witnesses around the intercom that I was using that were equally aghast at his behaviour.

The train stopped at Lockheed Martin station, where I got off. I walked to the front of the train near the conductor’s window and flipped him off … and he responded in kind by doing the same.

I understand that stops might occasionally be missed, and it would be inconvenient, but acceptable as long as it’s infrequent. However, I would have expected the conductor to make an immediate train-wide apology, or at least an apology after a customer called him on the intercom. I completely did not expect such a customer-unfriendly, and frankly utterly rude, attitude.

As I said above, I love VTA and I love light rail, but this is completely unacceptable. Thanks for your attention in this matter and prompt discipline of this conductor. Please follow up with me as soon as possible.

I hope they fire his ass. It’s not like they’re paid to stop when I push the button. Amazing customer-minded attitude.

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