Yesterday, I saw something freaky. I saw a bus driver who was so into his cellphone conversation that he didn’t notice people calling out for him to stop the bus at a given place. He was so oblivious that when that person calling out for him to stop did manage to get other people to pull the bell, he didn’t even notice the person get up and walk towards him yelling “Sir! Sir! Sir!”. He finally looked over, and nonchalantly asked if the person wanted the stairs lowered, after the person called out to him three times. That person had a dog! How do you not notice a dog? Well, I guess when you’re riveted to your conversation, it’s possible. If you haven’t guessed it, that person with the dog was me.
It wasn’t even a necessary conversation, because as I approached the door, I listened and heard something like “So I said to him…” That does not sound like someone calling 911 to help someone or alerting another driver to a major problem en route. And, he was having this conversation for at least 2 minutes before I got off the bus.
When I finally got his attention, I told him he needed to give greater focus to the task at hand, because I couldn’t get him to notice me and had to rely on someone else to pull the bell for me. He didn’t say a goddamn word back to me. Not an apology, not an acknowledgement. He was just waiting for me to clam up and get off the bus. I don’t think the people who pulled the bell actually expected me to confront him, even though I told them I would.
I’m phoning the city about this guy. Listen, drivers on cellphones. We’ve covered this before, and I still feel the same about it. You’re driving a public bus. Our safety is in your hands. You do not need to be having a long conversation on the cellphone. I don’t care how good a driver you think you are. Unexpected situations come up where you have to be paying attention to your surroundings, and believe it or not, when you’re on the cellphone, you are severely distracted, as you proved to me yesterday by not hearing me ask 3 times for you to stop at a given stop that we were approaching and failing to notice a passenger coming up behind you yelling “sir! Sir! Sir!” and extending a hand towards you. Had you not stopped, you could have stranded me somewhere in the cold, where pedestrians don’t often walk, so you could have endangered me. But this is bigger than me. If you don’t notice something going on inside your bus, who knows what you could miss outside the bus? Who knows who you could fail to see slipping in front of your wheels at a corner? Who knows what car you could fail to observe driving in front of you, until it was too late. Get off the goddamn phone!