Eye On CARTA - And Response

Friday, February 1, 2013

I've had many close-calls with CARTA buses for years. When lodging a complaint that the same bus ran three consecutive red lights, the CARTA dispatcher's consistent response was, "Well, have you ever tried to stop a bus in a dime?"

As a matter of fact, I have. I've driven Greyhound Charter buses. And unlike CARTA drivers who drive 14 ton vehicles as if their were sports cars, I do not assume the attitude of "I'm bigger, he'll move." 

CARTA bus drivers aren't even supposed to have a cell phones with them on the job, but I filed a complaint against a specific downtown full-size bus because she was double-parked blocking most of Market Street (instead of in-line behind the bus already at that curb) and when I passed the driver, she was oblivious to anything except her furious texting. This same bus a block down the road pulled up behind me at a red light. The operator was still maniacally texting.

You cops see it every day and let it go because it's another arm of the Chattanooga government and the Po-Po would prefer to avoid interdepartmental scuffles.

I suggest a moratorium on CARTA buses. Their drivers are apathetic to their responsibilities and passengers. Their complaint department is (for the past two years) either impotent or couldn't care less. When I mentioned other infractions CARTA employees have incurred, the pat answer from their complaint department was "That person doesn't work here anymore." I'm not gullible. Are you? 

Public transportation in Chattanooga is attempting to grow numbers. CARTA will not be successful while your bus drivers run red lights, change lanes on-a-whim without signaling, double park in the middle of busy arteries at anytime, including rush hour and dishing out parking tickets. Today, from 2-2:30, I saw five separate incidents of CARTA Buses running red lights at Market and MLK, Broad and MLK, 4th Street and Market. I think the assurances I received at CARTA Corporate this afternoon to be little more that lip service only to rapidly dissipate like a gaseous emanation in the wind. My rationale for lodging a complaint against that bus is because CARTA never, ever does anything about any complaint.

Attention Chattanooga government and CARTA officials:  I will be carrying a video camera on my person at all times when away from my residence. When I witness a CARTA, SEPTA or any other form of CARTA service disregarding the law, texting or talking on a cell phone, eating or having a polite conversation with passengers, it will all be recorded and will all be considered distracted driving.  A weekly compilation of these videos will be presented to the chief of police of greater Chattanooga with copies sent to WRCB, WTVC, WDSI, WDEF and others. Boy will they have a field day. Oh, and since the drivers are public employees, video taping them in the performance (or lack thereof) of their job has just been ruled completely legal.

 Attention all CARTA passenger: Until all CARTA bus drivers have received remedial instruction on the rules of the city and the road, I believe it is unsafe and unwise to avail yourself of any CARTA service. Until their management "gives a darn" this is a bus company actively seeking a major accident. Are you going to be in that bus?

David D. Fihn, Sr.


* * * 

After moving back to Chattanooga over 30 years ago, I sometimes found myself needing the use CARTA public transportation services when I was without my own transportation. In my own transportation,  I've also driven behind and beside CARTA. I can honestly say I've never witnessed what Mr. Fihn, Sr. just described. It sounds more like he's hallucinating or something. 

For quite sometime now, I've noticed a certain "group" operating behind the scenes that seems to have formed here in the city, promoting themselves as activists operating for the good of the people. But they really come across as a hate group. Whose agenda is much darker than simple mean spirited. Their acts and deeds appear base, ugly and down right evil. Are you a part of that group, Mr. Fihn? 

Brenda Washington

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