Regarding the Monday letter, “Silencing rider unconstitutional”: I felt it necessary to respond to this letter which threatens the services of Island Transit, the county connector routes in particular, which are necessary for many people dependent on bus transportation to jobs, medical care, businesses and services not available on Camano and Whidbey islands. Continuation of state funding is vital for the survival of these critical services, as they cannot be supported by accessing fees from patrons.
While our right to free speech is a privilege under the law, reasonable and mature people realize there is a time for discretion and certainly, crammed on a bus with no way to escape is a good time to use it. I wonder if the writer realizes his extreme defensive posturing can do a lot of damage to a number of undeserving people.
I would hope Herald readers, having now been exposed to this issue, will recognize that common courtesy is a benefit in social situations, as is sensitivity to how one’s provocative speaking in the confined space of a bus may escalate into more difficult and disruptive situations for a driver and his passengers. Bus patrons have the right to a safe environment and as a patron of these services myself, I appreciate that drivers make the effort to maintain reasonable control of the activities of riders.
In my experience, Island Transit drivers have been friendly, courteous and genuinely concerned for the people they transport. I find the accusations against their character, at the very least, questionable.