I’ve spent extended amounts of time on university campus in the past two days.
Last night was the final night of my teaching the Speechcraft program for the pharmacy students. The classes occur in a brand new building on campus called the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy. Nice building. There is another brand new building called the Edmonton Clinic. The Clinic is just off University Ave. The Health Academy is north and just off 87th ave. There is a third building between them – some sort of power or pump station. But they are NOT the same.
DATS frequently brings clients to the Clinic. But the Clinic is itself very new and has only been open about 6 weeks. So they are still getting used to it. I’m the only person who has ever booked a trip to the Health Academy.
8:30 last night my phone rings and an automated messages indicates that my bus is on the way. Normally this message is a sign that the bus is about 5 minutes away. I was thrilled as it meant I’d get home fairly early. 20 minutes later there was no bus. I suspected that the bus had gone to the more frequently used, nearly identically named, but WRONG building.
I called DATS. They “helpfully” informed me that I was still in my pickup window (8:30 – 9:00). So I shouldn’t be worried about the bus until 9. I tried to explain about the automated message and my fears, but they just asked me to call back if it wasn’t there by 9.
At 9 I called again. They said that the bus was waiting for me outside and couldn’t find me. I indicated that was impossible. I tried to explain that I was pretty sure that the bus was at the wrong building. At first the dispatcher didn’t seem to understand.
“Are you at the Edmonton Clinic, sir,” the dispatcher asked.
“No, I’m at the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy,” I tried to say, but was cut off.
“That is what I’m trying to ask sir, are you are the Edmonton Clinic. The building across from the University Hospital?” Neither building is really “across from the hospital”. The Clinic is across the street from Corbett Hall. Part of the Health Academy is across the street from the hospital, but most of it is across the street from the buildings north of the hospital.
“I’m at the Health Academy. The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy. It is a different building to the north of of the Edmonton Clinic.” I was cut off again, but the dispatcher said.
“Ah, the driver is at the wrong building. Hold on. OK, he’s on the way. He’ll be there in ten minutes.” 9:05 at this point.
I give him 15.
“I’m sorry sir. He went to the east door, the south door and the west door and couldn’t find you. What door are you at?”
“The North door.” The north door of the Health Academy is the main door. Really the only door a bus could approach. Now the Edmonton Clinic has doors on all four sides with the north being an emergency door and the west being the official DATS door. I knew that the driver was still at a building half a kilometer away.
“I’m sorry we do not pick up at the north door. Where were you dropped off?”
“Right here,” I was growing frustrated. Obviously the dispatcher just didn’t get it. I tried to launch into my difference between the buildings explanation again.
I was transferred to someone else. A supervisor or something. Fortunately, he understood quickly that there were two different buildings with different addresses with similar names… Yay! But my bus was long gone and the next bus wouldn’t be there until 10.
DATS only runs until 11:30 with only a few buses left on the road for the late shift so I was getting close to the cusp of trouble. But my bus pulled up at ten. Amusingly, the driver told me he would have been there 10 minutes earlier, but he accidentally went to the Edmonton Clinic. I laughed, but the humour was wearing thin.
Dave, my brother and my aunt all responded to my online messages asking if I needed rescue. Fortunately I didn’t.
Shortly before 11 I got home. The trip from the U to home went by way of a neighbourhood hidden behind Nelson Lumber. Those roads are not well paved. But home I arrived. I was asleep before 11:30 and up again at 5 am the next morning.
I’m not thrilled with the DATS dispatcher. It would have been nice if she had given me the opportunity to properly explain myself, but she kept cutting me off in every conversation. But I blame the University. Why the heck did they name the buildings so similarly?
Today’s story is much shorter. I had a medical appt that was supposed to take 90 minutes. First it ran long. 12:30 – 2 became 12:30 – 2:30. Then a portion of the tests needed to be repeated in a different fashion. It became 12:30 – 3:15 and there was no longer a point in going back to work. But DATS didn’t have a bus that could get me at 3:15. The next available bus was 4:30. I spent another 5 hours on campus about 300 meters away from where I was stuck last night.
Finally though I’m home. Yay!