More Bus Fun

Warning: Rambling anecdote follows. Proceed at your own risk.

I love riding the bus in new places. It reinforces the power of public transportation when a person unfamiliar with an area can get where they are going without resorting to taxis or calling a friend to pick them up. With the proliferation of online trip planners, finding your way around a non-familiar area is easier than ever. That said, it doesn't always go so smoothly.

Yesterday, I took the train down here to Portland. (My love affair with trains continues, despite them not showing a movie...) Andrew, being the good friend he is, offered to pick me up at the train station. "No," I said. "I'll just hop on a bus." I had done my research before hand (on trimet.org) so I had schedules and routes all documented.

I exit the train station and find my bus stop. There was someone else there, so I quickly confirmed that this is the bus I wanted. We had 20 minutes or so to kill, so we struck up a great conversation*. The bus comes and we go on our way. Trimet buses have reader boards displaying each stop as you pass it, so if you are paying attention, you won't ever miss your stop. I was paying attention.

While I don't know Portland overly well, I've spent enough time to get a general feel for it. From that general feel, I sensed the bus wasn't going in the direction I was hoping to. "Have faith," I told myself. Often buses take meandering routes to get to their destination. When everyone else had gotten off, my faith started running dry. I asked the driver and sure enough, I got on the right bus, but going the wrong way. Alas.

Armed with new directions from the driver, I get off and start trudging to the nearest bus stop. (By this point it is after 10:00). As I am walking away, the driver opens her window and yells, "I got a better idea. Get back on." It turns out that she was officially off duty and returning the bus to the garage, which was in the direction I wanted to go. So she turned on the off-duty sign, made me promise not to tell how fast she drove, and then floored it. In the course of my personal bus ride, she told me her life story, another meaningful conversation with a stranger courtesy of the bus.

I finally made it to my destination, perhaps a little later than I might have, but filled with inspiration from meeting a few good people and an ever renewed sense of appreciation for public transportation.
Friday September 26 2008File under: transportation, travel

Toggle Comments (5)comment?
on Fri 26th Sep, 2008 01:34 pm PDT soreyes said:
you should move the warning to the header of the blog
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on Fri 26th Sep, 2008 01:38 pm PDT Wren said:
Oh, SNAP!
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on Fri 26th Sep, 2008 08:25 pm PDT jule said:
meaningful conversation on all my bus rides involve llistening to some dude in jelly sandals talk about his former job at burger king
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on Sat 27th Sep, 2008 12:58 pm PDT Deneva said:
I've never been on a city bus... except for that shuttle that goes up and down the strip in Las Vegas. I was careful not to make eye contact with anyone for fear they would start a conversation with me ;)
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on Tue 30th Sep, 2008 08:14 am PDT Wren said:
The double-decker Las Vegas strip shuttle can hardly be classified the same as a true city bus. Next time you're in town, we'll hope on the 410 and go for a ride. It'll be awesome!
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