An Open Letter to Cascades East Transit

I’ve had it clean up to my eyeballs with being harassed about my wheeled cart (not to mention my drink cups and my bicycle) by many of the drivers at Cascade East Transit.

Do the bus drivers (not all of them, but enough to be a constant irritation and source of stress) actually think I ride the bus nearly every single day and haul that cart around at least 3-5 times a month because I want to?

Do they think I spent nearly $50.00 on that cart simply because I had a spare $50.00 burning a hole in my pocket? (don’t I wish LOL!!)

Do they actually think I ride the bus nearly every single day and haul that cart around 3-5 times a month because I want to irritate them?

Do they think I get out of bed in the morning and immediately start thinking of ways to make their life difficult?

Do they actually think I enjoy hauling 60-80 pounds of whatever I need (on my next to last trip I desperately needed cat litter and cat food) anywhere from 1/2 a mile to a mile (no matter what the weather is?) and that I would do this repeatedly if I had any other options?

Here’s a reality check. I do not have a vehicle nor do I have access to a vehicle. I cannot haul 40 pounds of cat litter (or even 20 pounds of cat litter) and 10 pounds of cat food on a bicycle, nor can I carry it home on foot (home, by the way, is 2 1/2 miles each way from the bus station).

There is a minimum cost of $5.00 for a cab, and they cost $8.00 each way (not including tips) just to go to Safeway from my house; if I want to go to Trader Joes it’s going to be $20.00-$25.00 EACH WAY.

I make a whopping $1200.00 per month ($800.00 from work and $400.00 from my roommate) her $400.00 comes right off the top to pay space rent, there’s another $100.00 (at least) for electricity, another $140.00 for telephone (that doesn’t include any long distance calls I might need to make), cable, and internet (I work from home online so I have to have internet access), another $53.00 for my cellphone, $15.00 per month for a bus pass, and another $100.00 for my computer (which again I have to have because I work ONLINE from home).

If you do the math, that leaves me $392.00 per month which would be lovely except for the fact that I am trying to pay off 5 months of back space rent, 3-4 years of back property taxes, and extremely high medical bills from a unexpected (and uninsured) hospital stay in 2010.

I don’t have spare cash in my budget for even an $8.00 cab ride to Safeway much less the $20.00-25.00 for a ride to Trader Joes. I haven’t purchased any new clothes since 2009 because I cannot afford them.

But I can’t possibly be allowed to take my wheeled cart on the bus because it is too heavy for me to handle…..hmmm, I handled it just fine today, it is NOT my fault that the bus driver chose to help me and then make comments about how there was too much food in it and that I should not bring it on the bus.

The wisdom according to some of the bus drivers appears to be that I should just buy what I can carry in my canvas shopping bags (no matter that I can only carry 3-4 days worth of food at a time) and god help me if I go get a food box at the end of the month because that’s too much to bring on the bus as well.

Additionally, most of the people who have a problem with the cart do not express it in a ‘kinder, gentler’ manner. They are generally pretty rude about it which should not be acceptable for people who are PAID to deal with the public.

I’m trying to come up with a way to attach the cart to the bicycle for big shopping days (which really aren’t all that big/heavy unless I need cat litter which is generally about once every 2 months) because I am tired of being harassed about the cart.

A little compassion and understanding on the part of the guilty bus drivers would go a long way. It would also help if they realized that without people like me who ride the bus on a regular basis they wouldn’t even have a job.

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