Dealing with the government or some agency within the government is never a lot of fun.
Low-level bureaucrats can be remarkably indifferent, and We dont have anything to do with that is a quick out when someone asks for relief of one type or another.
It never hurts to ask, though.
So heres a lesson to be learned.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a woman wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the bus stop at Apple Glen and what is called Wal-Mart entrance drive, a stop that many motorists might have never noticed as they try to maneuver through traffic at the shopping centers.
The bus stop was out in the open, just a grassy patch on the corner, and a grassy patch of sloping land at that. It is an uncomfortable and dangerous spot even in good weather, much less in the rain or in winter. Couldnt something be done to remedy this situation, the letter writer asked.
Well, the short answer for the Citilink folks could have been, We dont have anything to do with that, and, in fact, they dont have anything to do with it. Citilink has at least 1,112 bus stops around the city and it owns a handful of bus shelters, but Citilink doesnt get involved in putting up new shelters.
Instead, Betsy Kachmar, assistant general manager at Citilink, contacted an outfit called Metro Media Partners. Metro Media Partners is run by a guy named Eric Shippy, who bought the local bus hut business from its previous owner a while back. Could Shippy look into this, Kachmar asked.
Well, there was a problem. The land where the bus stops in question are located is private property. Shippy couldnt just throw up a new bus hut. He had to get permission, and the owner of the land would certainly want some compensation for use of the land. After all, Shippy would be making money off it from advertising.
Additionally, Shippy had spoken to the owners about a bus hut at that spot a month ago, but nothing ever happened.
But Shippy decided to try again. I pushed a little harder, he said, and a deal was struck.
We got it resolved pretty quick, Shippy said. Theres value for me, theres value for the property management, and were able to deliver a service.
The woman who wrote the original letter to the editor was delighted when she heard the news. You see, her daughter was one of the people who had to stand and sit at the bus stop there. She was born with a birth defect and has seizures and cant drive, so she has to rely on the bus. At least now shed have a place to sit and a place to get out of the rain.
Well, she will soon. Its getting cold and the new hut might not be able to go up until early spring, but if theres a warm spell, he might be able to squeeze in the work, Shippy said.
The point is, the deal came together, and fast.
I was shocked myself, Kachmar said.
It just goes to show, complaining helps – sometimes.
I cant fix it if its not broken, Kachmar said.