By Angela Montefinise
An Action Desk reader
was fuming this week when a New York City bus driver made an unexpected
stop along his Queens route – and then refused to continue.
The reader was on a Q88 bus
headed towards Queens Center Mall on Feb. 8 when a passenger got on and
said something "a bit rude" to the driver, the reader said. The
driver angrily pulled the bus over about 10 minutes away from Queens
Center Mall, and declared that he would not continue until the passenger
The reader said, "How can
he do something like that? It’s his job to take people places, and he
The 20 or so people on the bus
sat there for nearly 20 minutes, waiting for the driver to move. The
passenger refused to apologize, however, so the driver sat there, his gear
shifted firmly in park.
The reader said, "It was
totally ridiculous. People have places to go."
The driver placed "Not In
Service" on the bus, and ignored passengers as they pleaded for him
to move. The reader said, "It was absolutely insane. The guy refused
to do his job, all over pride. It was nuts. Everyone was just begging the
guy to move."
Finally, another bus drove by
the stranded passengers, and they all got right on. The reader said,
"Then, while we were getting off the bus, the driver started waving
his fist at the woman who was rude to him. The whole thing was
According to a spokesperson
for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the bus driver was "in
the wrong in this case." She explained that a driver has the right to
stop a bus if there is serious trouble on board, but is required to call
his or her command center and report the incident to the police.
According to MTA records, no
such call was made on Feb. 8 from bus number 8198 – the bus the reader
was on. She said, "I got all the information. I was so mad, it was
The MTA spokesperson said,
"The driver can’t do what this driver did. The reader’s best bet
is to file a complaint with our bus line."
When filing a complaint, the
spokesperson said residents should have as much information on hand as
possible, including the time and date of the incident, the bus number and
the bus driver’s badge number.
The spokesperson said,
"When a complaint is made, the MTA will look into it and it if is
warranted distribute the proper disciplinary action . . . If a complaint
about a driver is not the first complaint, then it is looked into more
By Kathleen Melville
For one Action Desk reader, a citywide tow truck problem specifically around Woodhaven Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, and Northern Boulevard in Queens must be stopped, and making people aware of it is the first step.
According to the reader, there is an ongoing problem of tow trucks using police scanners to find out where accidents are, then rushing to the scene to get their before the cops. Once there, the drivers convince people to let them take their cars, but the truth is, what they’re doing is illegal.
According to a police source, it is illegal for tow trucks to use police scanners to find clients and for them to show up at the scene of an accident. By law, only companies working directly with the Police Department, sheriff or City Marshal are allowed to arrive at the scene of an accident to remove a damaged vehicle.
The trucks are called by law enforcement on a rotation basis.
The reader said that most people don’t know that, and therefore pay skyhigh prices to get their cars towed by another company.
According to a police source, “The tow truck drivers convince the people that the police tow trucks will rip them off, when really they are ripping them off.”
Before scanners were made illegal, tow truck companies were all competing with each other to get to accident scenes, and were driving recklessly and hurting people on their way to the accidents, according to a police source.
The reader, who is acquainted with a former tow truck driver and a Consumer Affairs inspector, said police officers just let tow truck drivers go, never issuing them a summons when they’re caught illegally using a scanner.
This police source disagreed, saying officers always give summonses when necessary.
The officer added that if people finds themselves in a situation with an illegal tow truck, they should get the tow truck number and company and file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs.
More important than filing the complaint is the knowledge that this goes on so people can avoid it, the reader said.
By Angela Montefinise
After months of snow, salt and
ice, the borough’s roads are pretty banged up, and the New York City
Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched its annual Pothole Blitz
to clean things up.
According to the DOT, the city’s
streets don’t deal well with winter weather, leaving gaping potholes in
many areas. When snow melts, it seeps into cracks in the street – cracks
that become holes when the melted snow freezes and expands.
In addition, the salt used to
keep the roads safe erodes the asphalt, leaving dozens of bumps and holes.
To combat these problems, the
DOT launches a pothole blitz, which includes teams of workers being
deployed to various areas to fill as many potholes as possible. Over the
weekend of Feb. 6, the DOT filled 4,000 potholes, concentrating in Queens
on the Cross Island Parkway, where many complaints have been filed about
In a statement on Feb. 9, DOT
Commissioner Iris Weinshall said, "Over the next several days, we
will have at least 30 pothole crews working the streets of New York. We
will take advantage of this break in winter weather to improve our roads.
Our pothole crews will continue concentrating on arterial highways, but
they also will be working on many of the main roads, secondary roads and
tertiary roads located throughout the five Boroughs."
Weinshall encouraged all New
Yorkers to report potholes to 311, with a DOT spokesperson saying,
"We can’t fill a pothole if we don’t know it’s there. We rely
on the public to help us keep the roads in this city as safe as possible .
. . Now that the weather is breaking a bit, we can finally attack the
roads and get them as driveable as possible."
Once notified of a pothole,
DOT assesses the degree or severity of the damage. Crews then remove
excess debris or material from the hole and square off the hole. Then,
asphaltic cement is poured into the pothole, followed by a mixture of hot
asphalt. This material is compacted by machine and the hole is again
sealed with asphaltic cement to prevent water from penetrating the hole.
The whole process only takes
about 15 minutes.
Bothersome Bus Driver?
If you have a complaint about
a New York City bus driver, call the MTA’s complaint line at (718)
927-7499. Try to have the exact time and date ready, as well as the bus
number and driver badge number.
The MTA will investigate the
complaint, and take the proper disciplinary action.
If a tow truck arrives at the
scene of an accident and tries to persuade you to let it tow your car
without police present call 311 and file a complaint with the Department
of Consumer Affairs.
To report a pothole, call the
New York City Department of Transportation at 311.