R&T Employees Good at Getting Hit by Cars, Missed by Buses

January 8, 2010
*Update: Attend a Complete Streets Spokane meeting, Wednesday January 13th from 5:30-7pm at the YMCA!
With a commute-alternative-loving company like ours, it’s not surprising that we have a broad range of experiences with alternative transportation.  You’re likely to find us walking, biking, riding the bus, or carpooling, both to save money and to help the environment. You’ll also find that an unusually large number of our employees have been hit by cars, or narrowly missed, while commuting to or from work.

We’re full of stories about our adventures dodging cars and chasing after buses…

Thank you, Mr. Bus Driver

Thank you, Mr. Bus Driver!

R&T owner Russ Nobbs is an avid user of commute alternatives. In the warmer months, he rides a recumbent bicycle. In the winter, he walks or rides the bus.

Earlier this week, Russ missed the bus.

In his own words:

“It was a dark and rainy night, Monday evening.  The #45 leaving downtown at 7:20pm stopped at Goodwill on 3rd for a passenger.  At the next bus stop to the East, the driver passed me by even though I had my arm out trying to wave him down.  I was standing at the stop in front of the church, near the light.  True, I was wearing a dark leather jacket and true, the driver was visiting with a passenger standing behind him.

The East Fifth bus behind the 45 did stop for me, tried to reach the driver of the 45 by radio and failed.  I got off the East Fifth at Arthur and walked the rest of the way up to 13th.

I’d not mention this incident except that it is not uncommon to wave the 45 down in this area.  Another regular rider who gets on at the Goodwill stop wears a bright yellow jacket for night visibility.  She’s experienced the driver missing her entirely at the Goodwill stop.  I’ve had to step out and wave the 45 down at both the Goodwill stop and the next stop to the East.

I suspect the evening runs may not have a lot of riders getting on the bus in the area beyond Division and therefore the drivers are not very attentive in that area.  I’m writing this in hopes that the drivers can be encouraged to watch for riders in this area as well as the more populous areas.  Those of us who work late need the bus, particularly on dark and rainy nights.”

Russ sent his account to Susan Millbank, the Spokane Transit Authority Ombudsman.  Susan responded immediately, offering R&T free safety flashers to make our employees visible at night.  We asked for a small number to pass out to those most likely to need them.  They were personally dropped off by Terri, an STA employee.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover that instead of the dozen flashers we were expecting, the box contained 100 safety flashers!

Now that’s service.  Thanks, STA!

So if you’re out on the road in the Spokane area this winter, you may be a little less likely to hit (or miss!) the employees of R&T.

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  • Reply Amy Mickelson January 8, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Hey Dave – save some safety flashers for me when I walk in on Monday morning! I could use them on my daily winter walking commute to Rings & Things (in the dark both directions)

    And thanks Russ for voicing your concerns to STA and their response. Thanks.

    Rings and Things pedestrian commuter since 2003!

  • Reply Polly January 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I picked one of those up right after they were dropped off, and stuck it on my backpack for the walk home.

    I’m normally on the sidewalk, but there are a few spots where water oozes out from hillsides (a park and a few residential spots) and freezes across the sidewalk making a nice slick sheet. I have them memorized now…. (after a few “WHOA, thud, ouch” instances)

    I love the South Hill of Spokane, WA =) But it’s treacherously icy in patches sometimes – whether you’re walking, riding or driving!

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