RFTA: the rest of the story
December 14, 2010
A letter to the editor from Trenton Allan recently appeared in local newspapers regarding an incident in which he states he was dragged by a RFTA bus that he was chasing down Mill Street (“Dragged by RFTA,” Dec. 9, 2010, The Aspen Times). Everyone at RFTA is very relieved that Mr. Allan was not injured during this incident, and we sincerely regret that he felt our response to his complaint was less than satisfactory.
RFTA takes the incident involving Mr. Allan very seriously because it underscores the potential for injury whenever a person enters the street to chase a moving bus. RFTA strongly recommends that people not chase moving buses. While missing a bus can be frustrating and inconvenient, getting injured by a moving bus would be even worse.
The statement from the Hunter Creek bus driver indicates that as he was driving along Hyman Avenue to Mill Street there was no one waiting at the bus stop. There was someone seated on a bench nearby and the driver slowed to see if that person wanted the bus. Getting no indication from the person that they wanted the bus, the driver proceeded north on Mill Street, having never stopped at the bus stop.
It isn’t clear where Mr. Allan was when he attempted to attract the driver’s attention but, from his letter, it is clear that he was aware that the driver did not see him “hustling” to catch the bus. After passing the bus stop, the driver states that his attention was focused ahead on Mill Street because he had no knowledge that someone was chasing the bus and there were parked cars, other vehicles and pedestrians to watch out for in front of the bus.
On his subsequent trip from Rubey Park to Hunter Creek, the driver states that Mr. Allan boarded his bus at the Clark’s Market bus stop and began to berate him about being dragged by the bus. Because the driver had no knowledge of the incident, and the conversation with Mr. Allan was becoming heated, he directed Mr. Allan to be seated and to be quiet. A passenger on the bus subsequently called Rubey Park to alert RFTA that there was a male passenger on the bus who was yelling at the driver and being very rude to him.
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The RFTA customer service representative at Rubey Park states that when Mr. Allan called he indicated that he had been left by the bus at the Hyman Avenue mall bus stop and that he had chased the bus. Mr. Allan did not tell her that his coat had been caught on the bus ski rack and that he had been dragged. She did ask him if he understood how dangerous it was to chase a moving bus, which, given Mr. Allan’s recounting of the incident in his letter, seems like a reasonable question to ask. She also states that Mr. Allan declined to leave his name and contact information. Mr. Allan reported the incident to the Aspen Police Department, which conducted an investigation but did not cite the bus driver.
RFTA services operate nearly 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. At any given time, RFTA may have up to 70 vehicles on the road operating within a 70-mile service area. RFTA buses travel nearly 3.8 million miles per year, transporting close to 4 million passengers. The safety of the public is of utmost importance to us. Whenever RFTA is involved in an accident in which someone is injured, whether at fault or not, the traumatic impact is felt throughout the entire organization.
While RFTA does its best to operate its services in a safe manner, we can never rest on our laurels when it comes to safety. The nature of our business makes it infeasible to have supervisors everywhere our vehicles operate at all times, which is why we appreciate feedback from passengers, motorists and members of the public.
If you observe a RFTA vehicle being operated in an unsafe manner, please write down the vehicle number and the time of day and call a RFTA dispatcher at 384-4955 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We assure you that you will be treated courteously, that your complaint will be promptly investigated, and that appropriate corrective action will be taken.
chief executive officer, RFTA