Shelter from the elements

Citylink customers no longer have to wait outside for driver breaks

Print Article

COEUR d'ALENE - Two weeks after challenging the Citylink transportation system, 73-year-old Marie Rippetoe still takes the bus.

And she no longer has to wait in the cold.

"We now have buses to stay in down at the gravel pit (at Riverstone)," said Rippetoe, who left a message with The Press on Friday. "Anytime there's that 40-minute transfer, we have a place to stay."

Rippetoe made news on Oct. 16 when she refused to get off a Citylink bus parked at the Riverstone stop. She was asked to leave the bus, to wait outside in the dark while the driver took a break, and she said no.

She was eventually driven home by police.

Citylink managers, realizing the problem at hand, almost immediately set to work on a solution. Coeur d'Alene Tribe spokesman Marc Stewart described the planning as a work in progress.

"Citylink is committed to customer service, and safety, and providing the best possible experience," Stewart said. "The final product of what this will be is not determined yet."

The free bus service is funded by The Coeur d'Alene Tribe, federal grants and the state of Idaho. Citylink is headquartered in Worley; bus routes serve the Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls area.

Due to a gap in the schedule, Citylink service is interrupted at Riverstone for 30-40 minutes. Drivers normally take a break there, often leaving the stop to grab a bite to eat. Rippetoe refused to leave her bus because there's no shelter at Riverstone - just an empty gravel lot with a portable toilet - and on a cold, dark night the place is inhospitable.

Citylink plans to build a shelter eventually, Stewart said. In the meantime, the bus service is looking for an interim solution.

Once Rippetoe's story came out, "It definitely put a light on the fact that there is a gap," Stewart said.

A few options are being discussed, he added, but there are a number of considerations. If commuters are allowed to stay on unattended buses, damage or vandalism could occur. In fact, Stewart revealed, one of the buses was recently vandalized when the driver took a break and the passengers stayed aboard. A seat was damaged, he said, and trash was strewn about.

"It's just a matter of trying to figure out what works best for everyone," Stewart said.

He mentioned two more possible options: Passengers riding with drivers while they're on break, and drivers eating in a separate, nearby bus.

As for Rippetoe, she's happy that passengers don't have to wait outside anymore. Her brief protest seems to have made a difference.

"I've had the bus drivers tell me I'm their hero, and I've gotten a couple phone calls from people," she said. "It's wonderful."

Print Article

Read More Local News

Record-breaking weekend at jail

March 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office hit new record high numbers of inmates in custody over the weekend. A total of 439 inmates were in custody Sunday morning at the county jail, which has 327 beds....


Read More

Dance, don’t walk down Memory Lane

March 27, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — It's been many years since Tom Carlson found himself on the dance floor of a high school gymnasium, bound by casts and crutches. He underwent many surgeries to fight the tuberculosis...


Read More

IdahoWorks notified about data breach

March 27, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee About 170,000 of the Idaho Department of Labor’s 530,000 job-seeker accounts — active and historical — were compromised by a hacking incident on March 12-13 involving America’s Job Link, a Kansas-bas...


Read More

Officials discuss flooding, landslide hazards

March 27, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Recent rain and snow melt is increasing ground saturation, according to the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management, making conditions ripe for landslides and debris flow on steep slopes. The...


Read More