Tri-Met drivers mobilize to toss hot head to the curb
Portland, OR – When Antoinette Awuakye tries to renew her TriMet bus pass this May she may find a major roadblock in her way. TriMet drivers, members of Transit Union Local 757, have mobilized to keep the cantankerous commuter off the bus. The daily straphanger has earned a reputation among TriMet drivers of line 43 as being a bit of a hot-head, particularly when the bus is running behind schedule.
“One morning, I was two minutes late picking her up and had to listen to her bitch about it all the way into town,” lamented driver Milo Lane. “That was over 7 miles.”
It’s not just the morning drivers who are upset about Awuakye’s daily tirades – the afternoon drivers are up in arms, too. “I’d rather run a gauntlet of potholes than listen to her bitch all the way home,” stated driver Eileen Left.
Union representatives say the constant griping presents a safety risk to other passengers. “A driver cannot perform at their best when someone is constantly in their ear,” said union rep Bill Glass. “Besides, there are lots of reasons why a bus can fall behind schedule – such as if the driver’s spouse packs an extra sandwich in their lunch bag or they accidentally doze off at a stoplight.”
Some of Awuakye’s fellow passengers are also quick to defend the drivers.
“That woman has a mouth, alright,” said fellow passenger, Richard Smith. “I’m tempted to spring 200 bucks for an iPhone, just so I can wear some earplugs on the way home.”
Still, other riders understand Awuakye’s anger. “It has to be frustrating to have to wait an extra 5 minutes for the bus,” said Chris Logan. “Especially when you are packing five gallons of breast milk.”
Awuakye, whose last name translates to “woman without patience,” makes no apologies for her twice-daily ranting and raving. “Why post a schedule if you aren’t going to keep it?” she asks. “In my native Ghana, the public transit system is always on time – and it runs entirely on dirt roads.”
TriMet officials have not yet decided whether they will allow Awuakaye to renew her monthly pass or not. “We’re over $1 million in the hole right now,” says Mary Fetch, Director of Public Affairs. “So we can definitely use every cent we can get.”