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Riding the Bus Can Get Weird Sometimes

On Monday, May 6 at approximately 4:40 a.m., I caught Sun Tran No. 6, bus No. 2708, headed to the Ronstadt Transit Center.  Upon arriving the transit center on Sixth Avenue, the driver proceeded to drive past the transit center without stopping.  The ridership, surprised by the driver's actions, questioned the driver on why he did not stop.  The driver replied ... "You have to ring the bell for me to stop."

After the ridership asked the driver to stop, rather than return to the transit center, the driver dumped us on North Fifth Avenue between Toole and Congress in the darkness.

As I walked out of the bus, I explained to the driver that we have never needed to "ring the bell" to stop at the Laos Transit Center, Ronstadt Transit Center or Tohono Tadai Transit Center.  I memorized the bus number out loud so as to contact Sun Tran of the incident and the driver rather smugly said ... "Would you like a transfer to get the bus number right?"

At this point, I was offended by the driver's comment as the ridership was not to blame for the incident but rather the driver himself.

I am asking the ridership to begin to "ring the bell" upon arriving any of the three transit centers to remind each and every driver to stop and be courteous to the ridership, as a result of one driver's incompetence and rude behavior.

The conduct of the driver was uncalled for and he will probably not be reprimanded for his actions.  Teamsters Local 104 (Bus Drivers) must be reminded who is paying their high union salaries, homes and cars.  There were no bank CEO's riding Sun Tran, but rather low to medium income people just wanting to get to work and start their work day so as to pay for their homes and to put food on the table.

Sad, how the ridership stood behind Local 104 during the last contract negotiation, only to be sold-out by the Teamsters after the RTA backed out and the Teamsters ran with their tails between their legs and negotiated a new contract with the city in less than eight hours.

I am asking Teamsters Local 104 to respect the ridership and do their job professionally.

And to the ridership ... RING THE BELL!

Alex Maldonado


The Problem Is Still Demand

Arizona has proceeded with caution in implementing the state's medical marijuana program ("The Numbers Game," May 2). California is often held up as an example of what not to do. It's true that anyone in California who wants a medical marijuana recommendation can get one. The recommendation allows consumers to purchase locally grown marijuana of known quality and safety from dispensaries that generate tax revenue. That's a good thing. So-called medical marijuana abuses are not to be feared. It's the status quo that's scary.

As long as there is a demand for marijuana, there will be a supply. Is it somehow preferable that consumers purchase untaxed, unregulated and potentially unsafe marijuana from criminals? Marijuana prohibition keeps violent drug cartels in business. When cartels control marijuana distribution, consumers are exposed to illegal cocaine, meth and heroin.

This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana's illegal status. Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

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