Tomorrow Is April first, April Fool's, someone's birthday I am sure and Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Change Day—one of two days during the year when the the local transit authority—bus company—makes adjustments to routes and more importantly when route drivers take over their new routes. Sort of like a transit musical chairs. The drivers are sort of like the low-men and women on the totem pole in the transit universe, which is actually pretty stupid since the drivers are the face of the agency for most of the public and for many of the public the only face of the authority.
Not that it matters but the drivers are union for the most part but being has not helped their plight too much. The driver system is a seniority system driver who have driven the longest has best shot at the prized route and times. It seems the UTA is all about split systems. New drivers are on the low end of the food chain the must suffer through a 'split work day. The drive may have a ten hour but that day will have two parts mornings from 6:00 to 10 and then have a four or five hour break and drive again 2:00 to 8:00 in the afternoon and evening. The work week will also be split one day on and one off then three days, or two days and another day off and another day and for those drivers driving 8 hour shifts their days get really crazy. I guess through out the year drivers have the option to bid on selected pieces of work and of course routes which might be more desirable to spousal and family life. But that's the way their system rolls, the longer you work at the authority the better the pie is. So anyway twice a year the customers has to also deal with “Change” some routes actually change, usually service is reduced by dropping actual bus stops or in some cases suspending service or routes entirely. JI suppose there has been instances where service has been restored but I have not heard of it direct or from n actually customer and then there is the (of late) constant fare increase and the newest way to scalp the passenger is the fuel surcharge the immediate “stick it to you” UTA management uses to raise fairs every time the middle East raises the price of crude.
But this all happens on “Change” Today, I said goodbye to our morning driver who has been driving my morning bus since last “change”. This driver is a South Sea Islander, Tongan. This bus is an early bus, it is the first bus on the route in the morning, beside me there are between four and five other riders this early riding to the train. This driver—I don't really know his name something like Ep'Tau. This driver is always happen, warmly welcomes you on his bus ad gives the customer the benefit of the doubt letting one use the excuse “the cat ate my bus pass” once but lets you ride. Since the wheelchair station is right by the driver we have talked a lot—he watches out for me crossing the street if I'm late and driving my power chair on and off the ramp of the bus. He even took my direction as I had to talk him through fixing my power chair one morning when the chair stopped working all the way in the back position.
But he is moving on “ Change”:the only constant and now I have break in another driver...groan.