Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Bus

Now that I’m a commuter to work, I have the pleasure of riding the bus with lots of other commuters every day. 

Fortunately, my commute on the bus only takes about fifteen minutes longer than it used to take when I’d walk to work. However, the drawback is, it’s a bus packed with commuters; and I mean packed. “Packed in like sardines” doesn’t quite describe it. “Packed in like sardines inside a case of cans of sardines” is more like it. 

These buses handle lots of commuters, so the transit authority uses the double-long, articulated buses that snake around corners. The bus stop where I get on usually has a large crowd of people waiting. After all, there are two condo buildings nearby, each with 640 condos. 

I’ve learned that if I walk a couple of blocks up the street to get on, I can usually get a seat. Then, when the bus snakes down to stop in front of my building, I’m comfortably sitting there while everyone else sardines themselves in. The bus makes a few more stops, cramming in more and more passengers each time, before hopping onto Lake Shore Drive for the express shot into downtown. 

Fortunately, I get off at the first stop once the bus gets into downtown. By this time, the carbon-based life forms on board have been compressed enough that they’ve begun to turn into diamonds. I’ve learned to opt for a seat near the rear exit so that I can efficiently squiggle my way out when the time comes.

Recent advances in global positioning technology have made bus riding much easier. There’s an app that lets you see when your bus is coming. Or, you can look online at the “bus tracker” website, see when your bus is two minutes away and then leap out to hop on. It comes in handy when it’s a grillion degrees below zero outside. 

Now that I’m a daily bus rider, I’ve learned some clever terms:

Bus-Bunching: Buses get off schedule and two or three end up glommed one behind the other. It’s really frustrating to wait and wait for a bus only to see three of them pull up at one time. 

Bus Drive-By: A bus gets so full that no more passengers can squeeze themselves in. At that point, the driver doesn’t stop at any bus stops. The bus whizzes by while awaiting passengers stand there with their mouths agape. Bus-bunching ensues. 

I’ve already been the victim of a bus drive-by. It’s really frustrating. 

Thank god for taxis.


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