Tag Archives: Buses

Did you hear what happened in the back of the bus?

18 Aug

ESPN’s front page covers the Wilson sexual assault case. A few things:

1. As a parent, there are certain things that you refuse to let cross your mind, because even the hypothetical thought gives you shivers. A story such as the one involving these young boys fits the bill. Seriously, it would take me a very long time indeed to transition from demanding revenge to demanding justice.

One claim says that a varsity player sat on the chest of “John Doe 1” to hold him down, and that a cell phone was inserted into his rectum. It says the second alleged victim, “John Doe 2,” was beaten, held down and had what felt like “multiple fingers” or a foreign object forced into his rectum.

Connors says his clients had their uniform pants on during the alleged assaults.

The claim says that hazing also took place in 2007. During that season, varsity players allegedly carried JV boys to the back of the bus, where they “pinned them to the floor, beat them, and placed worn, unlaundered athletic supporters over their noses and mouths, poked at their buttocks and rectums with various implements, abused their genitalia, and otherwise assaulted and battered them.”

and

The varsity was still playing the night of April 17 when Logan leaned against his mother’s car and asked for dinner money. She was proud of him that night. He’d made a nice catch. The bus would make one stop, at Burger King, and then they’d be home.

“I love you, Mom,” he said. “Pick me up at school.”

When Logan was little, his mother says, he dreamed about wearing a Wilson uniform. He watched his big brother play sports and ride the bus with his buddies, stopping for hamburgers on the ride home. He wanted to be just like them.

But when he stepped off the bus at Wilson that night, Logan told his mother he was quitting baseball because the varsity boys were “jerks.” Then he said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore. As their car pulled away, Logan and his mother saw a boy searching for something in the back of the bus. It was Erik.

What was he looking for? A shoe? Why didn’t he say something?

“In my house, it’s all open,” Erik’s mother says. “For me, I was floored. Why wouldn’t this kid tell me?”

“He goes, ‘Mom, it was so bad. I wish I would’ve died, right then and there. I wish I would’ve died,'” she says.

She starts to cry.

“And I said, ‘Well, that wouldn’t have been good for anybody.’ I’m sorry. It’s just … he’s a good kid, you know?”

When the school held a meeting about it, people lined up to defend the honor of the coaches, or the perpetrators, and blamed the media. The most inflammatory comment from some ignorant lunatic reads:

“I’m angry, and I’d be willing to bet … I would be willing to bet most of the people in this room are angry. And I would be willing to bet some of them would like to take some of these reporters to the back of the bus.”

And what? Stick a cell phone up their asses?

2. I don’t care how small your town is or how close-knit it is or anything like that. Something – civilization – broke down on that bus ride, and the filters that are supposed to protect kids from the savagery of other kids utterly failed. This wasn’t hazing, it was torture. no kid should ever be subjected to that, and it boggles my mind that a teenager could bring himself to do this to a younger kid – a supposed teammate, no less. Then I read one of the defendant’s lawyers say, “He’s a genuine person, not some kind of thug wearing a baseball cap sideways. He’s a nice kid, and I want to see it work out for him.”

I think history has shown us time and time again that “nice kids” can oftentimes commit unspeakable horrors. The “baseball cap sideways” remark? I’ll let you figure out what I’m thinking on your own.

Hype-Brids

16 May

The NFTA recently transformed a lot of its buses to diesel/electric hybrids. So did Toronto’s TTC. But in Toronto, they discovered this:

Toronto’s new and expensive hybrid buses are saving less than half the amount of diesel fuel the transit agency – and the governments that paid for them – claimed.

The Toronto Transit Commission and the federal, provincial and city governments said as recently as March that the new hybrid diesel-electric buses – which cost $734,000, compared with $500,000 for a conventional bus – were using 20 to 30 per cent less fuel.

But the TTC’s current fuel-savings estimate, incorporated in its 2008 budget after tests on the new fleet last summer, is just 10 per cent – although officials expect that number to improve.

Since hybrids only make sense in stop-and-go, heavy traffic*, I’d wager that the fuel savings in the Buffalo-Niagara region is even lower still.

The NFTA says:

Metro estimates a 25% to 30% reduction in fuel based on the efficiencies of the hybrid drivetrain.

If Toronto is getting 10 – 20% savings, I’d bet that we’re getting 5 – 10%. If that.

*The hallmarks of hybrid engines are engine start/stop, occasional electric propulsion, and brake regeneration. For that to make sense, you need to be stopping and braking a lot. Hybrid vehicles make zero sense in zero traffic WNY.