Howard Transit has an attitude problem
Since our destination Saturday was a wine festival in Columbia, and my wife and I planned to do some tasting, it made sense to take advantage of our local transit service. So we hopped aboard the Silver Route at U.S. 1 and took a ride to Columbia Mall.
The ride was fine, and the improved buses were appreciated, but we came away with the impression that Howard Transit and its affiliated service, Connect-a-Ride, need to stage an intervention with some of their drivers.
The problem was that the signs designating which route the buses at the Columbia Mall were serving weren't working. So the transit system had posted makeshift signs to indicate the route. Some of the drivers seemed to think those signs were so crystal-clear that riders had no business asking them which route the bus was serving. They made their feelings known with rude, sarcastic answers.
Sharon Smith, director of customer development for Central Maryland Regional Transit, which runs the two bus systems, said there have been problems with the bus route signs. But she said drivers are expected to deal with questions politely.
"We certainly don't tolerate that type of answer," she said.
The transit agency certainly should not -- and neither should County Executive Ken Ulman. It's an election year, and when you're riding the bus, that driver is the face of his administration.
It's a shame that such behavior tarnished the experience because transit is more important to the county than many residents realize. The buses we rode were well-used, mostly by people who appeared to be traveling to and from their jobs.