Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

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This is me excited to ride the Kansas City streetcar today.

Can’t you tell by my nifty T-shirt?  I won that T-shirt last year in a twitter contest where I tweeted in 140 characters or less why I was so excited to ride the Kansas City streetcar.

Today I wore my special t-shirt downtown to ride the streetcar on the 2nd day of operation. I wanted everyone to know that I fully supported this new investment in downtown Kansas City.

I arrived with my family around 1:30 pm and the River Market was buzzing like I had never seen on a Saturday.  Parking was hard to find and since I work in the area, I was able to snag a company parking spot.

We walked three blocks over to where the action was, ate a great meal at Cascone’s Grill and jumped right on the new streetcar at the stop directly outside of the restaurant.

The plan was to take the streetcar to the Crossroads area – jump off to check out the new restaurants and shops and hop back on to Union Station where I heard there was a carnival taking place.

The cars were packed with people.  Even with the air conditioning blasting at full blast – the 90 degree air outside made it hard to keep cool inside with so many people.  At every stop, more people tried to jam themselves on the cars.  (Shout out to the annoying woman who decided it would be a great idea to bring a bike on board with 200 of her closest friends.)

By the time we made it to the Crossroads District, my daughter wasn’t feel well.  It was clear we we were going to have to abandon our plans and head back to our car and call it a day.  We quickly crossed the street and were able to jump on another streetcar headed back down towards the River Market.

The streetcar was humming along the route when we were right before the North Loop stop at 7th and Main.

Then we sat…

and waited…

and waited…

When you have a child who doesn’t feel well, it seemed like forever, but probably we sat for 10 minutes.  People started pushing the button to open the doors and left the cars.  The driver made an announcement,

“The streetcar in front of us has broken down.  We are waiting for the car to be removed so we can continue.”

All of the doors towards the right side of the car suddenly opened and then a police officer came jumped on board.  He told us that the car had a door problem and that we all needed to get off the car.  He mentioned something about buses coming, but no real details were given.

People left the streetcar.

Some took pictures with the broken down streetcar.

Some had the officer take their picture with the broken down streetcar.

 

I went up to the employee working on the platform and asked what we should do?  When were the buses coming?  When I realized he had no idea what we should do, I recorded this video.

 

We waited and no buses came.  I looked around to flag down a cab.  And then I snapped back into reality and remembered we lived in Kansas City.   No cabs were coming.

I looked across the highway at the River Market and realized I parked about as far on the other side of the River Market as you could get. My poor child wasn’t feeling well so I went back to look for the officer to see if he could provide some assistance.  In what seemed like an instant – the officers were all gone.  They left us all to figure it out on our own.

So we all started walking across the highway to the River Market.

My family made it back to the car – exhausted and with a story to tell.

Now here is the rant part starts so hold on and buckle in….

I get that there are going to be issues with the streetcar.  I don’t have it built up to be some sort of ride at Disneyland.  It’s public transportation – and public transportation can have serious problems (see recent Metro fire in DC) – but it’s DAY 2!  I don’t work for the streetcar, but at this point you can consider me a free consultant….

  1. Have a back up plan more complex than just WALKING!
  2. Communicate that back up plan to all employees! ALL EMPLOYEES! Even the guy standing on the platform!!!  That is why everyone has cell phones. No one should be unaware of what is happening in 2016!  The same message should be delivered by all employees to concerned passengers.
  3. See #1.
  4. This city and your route are NOT THAT BIG – activate your back up plan within 5-10 minutes and then communicate that to people!
  5. I love that the police were in on picture taking part of this mishap, but stick around long enough next time to see, if after the novelty wears off, if people actually need help.
  6. If I wasn’t clear enough – see #1.

Ultimately, time will tell if this streetcar will be a success in this town.  Day 2 has me wondering, but I will ride it again and give it another chance.  I will just be sure my Uber app is ready to go as my backup plan and not depend on the city to have my or my family’s back.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “KC Streetcar breaks down. Complex backup plan – walking

  1. Anonymous says:

    As far as point number 5 complaining about the police…. Remember when you were told to pass the e-tax or there would be 100 positions cut? You passed it and then there were 124 positions cut. Those officers probably had more important things going on throughout the day than a busted street car. Such as shootings which happened throughout the day.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Fair point. We should give them the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Greg says:

    The more you have the government do for you!! The more there is to go wrong!! and HOW MUCH MONEY did we spend on that?? and funny how tthe break down was not on the news – but I had a busy day – maybe I just missed it!! ?? I really don’t feel like the government does much well !! They have stolen and continue to spend our social security money !! Obama care is a failure!! Of course how can something so poorly thought out “that we have to pass it so we can find out what is in” it be a success!!?? Well I could go on !! But it is Sunday morning -Just have a nice day and learn to take care of yourself!! Guess maybe parking in the middle of the street car route so the walk may have been shorter – would have been a good idea !! or just avoid any government run anything would have been better!! Sorry your daughter didn’t feel well and I hope you all are better now!!

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Hi Greg-thanks for writing. My daughter feels much better. Thanks for wondering. I agree that parking midway might be a better option next time 🙂 I will enjoy my day! You do as well. Aimee

  3. Phil Harmonic, Train Conductor says:

    An excellent posting from Aimee Patton! Geez! That’s now two in a row, I think she’s had an epiphany.

    Why do I like this posting? Because she writes clearly, and with humor, detailing her chronological experience dealing with this issue.

    She informs the reader that she’s been a pre-launch supporter, even using her ingenuity to score a nifty T-shirt. She’s an enthusiastic civic booster who assembled her family for a fun day riding the streetcar and supporting downtown businesses.

    As for the bike rider, I feel your pain, but at least it wasn’t a horse coming aboard. Riders, watch your step! And by the way….isn’t bringing your bike onto a 2-mile long streetcar, a little like wearing white gloves while making mud-pies?

    She closes with fairness, stating she’ll give it another chance. But perhaps the most brilliant point is made when stating–“I will just be sure my Uber app is ready to go as my backup plan and not depend on the city to have my or my family’s back.” The Uber ride service is of course a successful member of the private enterprise system, meaning they either exchange a useful service for compensation or they perish. Now, if we could just get government to adopt that standard.

    Best wishes to Aimee Patton and family.

  4. Aimee, this is definitely an interesting perspective. I agree with needing a backup plan, but I have to tell you that you have unfortunately validated something I had hoped was just misconception…a saying used by some to justify a professional existence. I’ve been in law enforcement for about 15 years. Knowing the cynical nature of police officers, I often just blow off some of the more common ideologies and boisterous jargon I hear on a daily basis. For example, the sheepdog analogy made famous by Lt. Dave Grossman. The idea is that most people are sheep while the cops are the sheepdogs keeping the wolves at bay. I understand the analogy and it is good for morale and a sense of purpose, but I had always thought of it as erroneous. I know countless non-law enforcement people that are not sheep. In fact, some of these people would do quite well in that lawless yet somehow euphoric world in which the police are non-existent…that world that is revered and desired by so many glorified in the media today. But as I read your blog I realize that there most definitely are sheep out there. There really are those who, without direction from police or another authority figure, are just lost.

    Back in the 1980s, when community policing was really making its way across the country, there was an interesting perspective expressed in Black and Baumgartners On self help in modern society. It basically describes a world in which citizens rely too heavily on police intervention and find themselves unable to solve problems alone…without assistance…you know, from the police. When I read statements like, “They left us all to figure it out on our own” it concerns me that we may be at that place described nearly 30 years ago. Even more so, it concerns me that there may really be sheep out there who are really lost without someone leading the pack, or flock as it were in this case. Please tell me that’s not the case.

    I do know the pain and stress that goes with an ailing child and things just not going your way at said time, but make sure you focus and direct that pain and frustration appropriately. The police should not be in that path.

    Thank you for the thoughts though!!!

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thanks for writing. Interesting thought about most people being sheep. I would tend to agree with that in many cases. In this case-if it wasn’t appropriate for the police to be the “sheepdog” then it was absolutely not appropriate for them to jump on board and communicate to us what was happening. That’s why there is the driver. The police established themselves in that case as a resource and point of contact (sheepdog).

      Being resourceful has never been a problem-but at that time there were few. Since the police established themselves as someone with answers, and resources that they said were available never showed, it would have been nice to just ask them follow up questions.

      In the big picture-this was not a terrorist attack or active shooter situation where the police are most valuable. I just needed to walk a long way.

      Thanks again for reading and your service as a police officer!

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