PACE bus driver nearly causes crash
April 26, 2011
This morning a PACE bus driver pulled a stupid and reckless stunt in McHenry. About 10:17AM I was following the bus eastbound on Route 120. After passing through the Route 31 zigzag, we continued east on 120. At about Riverside Drive a westbound fire engine with red lights operating was approaching and the PACE bus pulled over into a parking lane and stopped parallel to the curb.
State law does not require vehicles to stop - only to pull to the right and to stop if necessary to allow safe passage of the emergency vehicle. Many drivers do stop when meeting oncoming emergency equipment. And the PACE bus driver did just that. I had slowed and intended to continue on eastbound in the outside through lane, when suddenly the PACE bus driver turned his wheels to the left and pulled out sharply to block the outside traffic lane. I braked sharply and avoided hitting the bus.
Apparently, the bus driver's nose was out of joint that I wasn't going to stop for the oncoming fire truck, and he decided to insert himself into the traffic lane, risking his vehicle and any passengers on it and nearly causing a crash.
On another day I would have summoned the McHenry Police and had the bus driver cited, but today I was enroute to the press conference at the Round Lake Park P.D.
A serious complaint was lodged with the Pace folks, although it took several calls to reach them. First I called the McHenry County Government Center to reach the contact in the County Transportation Department who is in charge of the Pace Bus program for seniors. I figured she'd have a good number for Pace. Instead, I got transferred to the Jail.
Ten minutes later, I called back, and there was no answer by the County Government telephone operator. Actually, they don't have a telephone "operator". Calls get answered by a clerical person in the County Administrator's office. A third call got me a number for Pace, but not the right number. The fourth call, to the (wrong) Pace number, got me the Pace customer service number, where I insisted that a supervisor take my complaint, hoping it would get handled today and just sent through the general complaint pipeline.
That PACE bus driver was dangerous and deserved a ticket.
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