Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Problem With Opinions

After I wrote about the problems with those three double decker buses, an interesting thing happened.

The reason I posted the original information about the fumes problem was not some kind of rantful company slam. If you have been reading this blog, you'll notice that's just not my style. I don't publish this to embarrass anyone, or break news to the public.

There is a faction of drivers that I like to call the Garage Lawyers. We have these types of people in every profession. You know the guy. He has all the answers, and he's an expert in what the company should do in every situation. In some cases, he's so jaded against the company, that every incident becomes a reason why the company is trying to screw the worker. Everything is an injustice to him. Hell in a handbasket is his motto.

I received one of those letters on Friday night, via the blog. It was explained to me that my blog was the catalyst for great change at OC Transpo, and that the company would have "let someone die" before they did anything if I hadn't have wrote what I did.


The company had been in contact with Alexander Dennis long before the blog was published. The investigation into a driver's sickness began as soon as the connection was made between fumes and his illness.

I know that people getting sick seems like a slam dunk in terms of cause and effect, but consider the obvious here. Fumes can be a problem on any bus. All it takes is for a mechanic to screw the rubber seal improperly on an access panel on the 4200's, or not replace the grommet properly under the rear seat of a 6000 series. An exhaust gasket can fail at any time due to wear and tear. An improperly seated turbo hose can force exhaust straight into the engine compartment. Who hasn't seen the white smoke billowing out of the top of an articulated bus on the opposite side of the exhaust stack? It happens all the time.

Now I ask the letter writer... is that the Ivory Tower trying to screw you? Or is that the product of regular everyday errors made by mechanics (as mechanics will do in every garage in every city), and the normal cycle of wear and tear? We don't fix things when they are not broken. So when they break, don't tell me there's an evil plot here.

When I published a blog entry centering around fumes in buses and how to recognize the effects of carbon monoxide, I never meant to enable the Garage Lawyers. So stop sending me your letters. I will not publish your rants. I will not "use my media contacts" (whatever the hell that means, as if the media gives a shit about a bus driver's blog) to get your twisted message out.

I wrote that entry because a driver drove a fume filled bus long enough to reach the advanced stages of carbon monoxide poisoning. That really bothers me. That really alarms me. That driver likely took comfort in the fact that the bus was so new, the same way we all do in a new car.

"How can this be unsafe? It's new!"

And yet he drove for hours, likely progressing from happy and healthy to feeling a little off, then feeling slightly more terrible, then bad enough to start vomiting... and how many other drivers might do the same? I write this blog from the driver's seat. My perspective. Issues like this directly affect me. I'm still driving the double deckers. They are good buses. I'm no more leery of those buses than I am of every bus, because I know the vehicles. I am a professional, and that is my job.

So read the original post again, Garage Lawyer. Take the advice within it. It came from my doctor.

But save your soapbox to pack your things in when someone actually publishes your rants.

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