OC Transpo riders take to Twitter to voice complaints

A grandma in a walker could go faster than this bus.

Is that bus driver trying out for NASCAR?

The woman with the crying baby taking up five seats is so annoying.

Can someone please give that guy a stick of deodorant?

Taking the bus sucks.

That’s the consensus from OC Transpo riders who use social media to complain about pretty much anything.

“I hate taking the bus on Wednesdays,” wrote one Twitter user on, you guessed it, Wednesday.

“The first bus comes early, the next bus comes late,” wrote another.

“Good thing I plan my routes a half hour in advance so I make my appointments on time,” said yet another.

Whether it’s taxes, weather, or bus routes, throughout history people have always griped, said University of Ottawa sociology professor Diane Pacom.

With tension between the needs of the individual, society’s expectations, and the expectations of the individual, “I believe people tend to complain even more now, because we have the sense of entitlement,” said Pacom.

“’I have to get whatever I want, and I want it now. I don’t have to wait.’”

Throw technology into the mix, and watch the complaints explode by the millisecond.

“Twitter gives people this capacity of becoming even more vociferous,” said Pacom, adding it airs their frustration to a bigger audience.

“They can commiserate with us.”

Social control used to be much stronger, said Pacom.

“Before, if you were somewhere (throwing a fit) your neighbours were there, witnessing it,” she said.

“You cannot just start screaming at the bus driver.”

But now, with the anonymity of mass culture, it’s likely “we’re never going to see these people again, so (what’s the) big deal?,” she said.

People can now “literally scream throughout the Internet and the digital world,” said Pacom.

And they can make a splash silently.

Using social media is a “very effective way to vent what you’re pissed off about to a large number of people,” said therapist and author Sara Dimerman.

When people are in a situation where they feel insignificant, “social media is like a powerful loud speaker,” said Dimerman.

Tweets can centre around power and revenge.

Whining via social media can also be cathartic, Dimerman said.

Or, it just might be the new crossword puzzle.

“We’ve become a society where we’re perpetually bored and need to keep our fingers busy,” said Dimerman, adding at other times, it merely feeds into the preoccupation with disclosing what we’re doing.

City staff watching

But people are watching those hashtags, such as #ihateoctranspo, and the audience includes city staff.

“OC Transpo employees monitor our Twitter feed and Facebook page periodically throughout regular business hours for customer feedback,” wrote business and operational services manager David Pepper in an e-mail.

“Through a better understanding of these trends and issues, we can improve service in many ways to meet our customer needs and expectations.”

How do you explain those who choose to compliment instead of complain?

“Some people choose the common good before their own needs,” said Pacom.

“They know that you have to give some in order to get some. I think it’s a matter of choice.”

With different values and levels of tolerance, “some people are better bred than others,” Pacom said.

That includes being respectful, polite, and more sensitive.

“Others are totally narcissistic, like, they don’t care at all,” she said.

Overall, a societal shift means we’re more aggressive.

“We’re not a society that is driven by kindness and altruistic values,” said Pacom.

Instead, it’s all about “me, me, me, I, I, I. What’s in it for me?”

#IHATEOCTRANSPO

So why do you hate OC Transpo? Whine and complain through social media. Tell us what bugs you. The City of Ottawa is listening and so are others.

Tweet with the hashtag #Ihateoctranspo or tell the Sun’s Kelly Roche your beefs.

E-mail Kelly at kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca or DM her on Twitter @ottawasunkroche

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/01/12/oc-transpo-riders-take-to-twitter-to-voice-complaints

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