It's now been two weeks since Metro passenger Ania Howard happened upon a snoozing, erratic bus driver on her Bellaire route, but she hasn't gotten any answers yet to her pretty basic question of "What the hell was going on?"
She and her daughter took a bus to the Bellaire Transit Center and went to transfer to another bus. The door was closed and, as fellow travelers stood and waited, it stayed closed.
Because the driver was asleep, as the accompanying (blurry) picture after the jump shows.
The passengers already on the bus had not been aware of the snoozing, Howard says, "but they were curious [as] to why the driver had waited to depart....During our transit from the Bellaire Transit Center to Bellaire [Boulevard] & Hazrd Road, the driver was speeding and slamming on the brakes. Her driving behavior reflected the habit of a fatigued driver. I also witnessed that she almost missed a few stops had it not been for the passengers asking her to stop."
Sounds like fun!! Howard took down the route number, the bus number and the time of day and sent it to Metro. Where the fun began.
Three days later she got a call. (Pretty good!) But no message was left, and when she called Metro no one knew who had called her. (Not so good!!)
Fast-forward to today, and she's still dealing with the complaint. Having not heard back, she took the initiative again.
Here's her version of events:
3.9.09 I called metro 7:45am. I told the operator that I filed a complaint in February and no one had followed up with me. After finding my complaint, the operator told me that the bus number I had given led to route 25 and the complaint was sent to the route 25 supervisor. He sent the complaint back, noting that it was not the right route. I asked to speak to management or a supervisor to find out when a follow up would be given. The operator would not transfer me and would only respond with same info on what happened with report.
Called 8:00 am and spoke w/Diane. She could not initially see the info in regards to what happened to my report. After further investigation with my complaint (while I was on the phone on hold), she reconfirmed the info I had listed on my report incase the info from my report was relayed wrong. She said that a supervisor would call me back after an investigation was performed.
Clarence Jolivette called me back at 8:49. Specified that the operator who appears asleep (and who he thinks it is) on the bus is on vacation until March 14th. He asked me to describe the driver because the picture can only identify that the driver is sleeping. He said that there were 3 women of similar description driving the same route that morning and he is trying to pin point down which driver it was. I asked if he could just investigate with all 3 drivers. He said he could but they could easily deny it and he would have to question them in a way to lure the truth from them. He said he could say "Remember that lady who woke you up on the bus a few weeks ago? She filed a complaint against you." Clarence said he would investigate and contact me once the driver comes back from vacation.
Not that Howard's banking on that.
"I hopethe situation we experienced will help Metro get their act together or bring forth awareness of some sort," she tells Hair Balls. "Either way, we're getting a car."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.