How to Ride a Nutty Bus


by Dante DeAmicis

I have a love/hate relationship with riding the bus. It works as long as you don’t expect too much of it. It is part of my sustainable mobility plan but it has serious limitations. As long as you accept what those limitations are you can work around them. First, if you rely exclusively on the bus you will not always get where you are supposed to be at a certain time. Some places you won’t get to at all. The reasons include: road work, breakdowns, no bike slots left, connections that can’t wait for transfers, too many wheelchair pick-ups, new drivers, drivers who don’t change route signs, you fall asleep and miss your stop, drivers who decide to make up time by skipping the part of the route where you are waiting, drivers who zone out and don’t see you waiting at a bus stop… You get the idea.

I’ve have had all these problems but there are ways around them. First, stop thinking of the bus schedule as a contract. Those times are goals that may or not be met. Do use schedules, hard copy or online, to plan your possible route and don’t expect the driver to have the entire system memorized. If you have to be somewhere try to take an earlier bus and use the extra time at your destination to do other things. Make more bus/bike trips and less bus/transfer trips. Make sure appointments know you are taking the bus so ask for time slots with wiggle room. Watch for the bus don’t just wait.  When the bus approaches the stop you are waiting at, wave your arms frantically so you are not mistaken for a homeless person hanging out.

And finally, make sure you have exact change before you get on the bus, dug out, and counted. Other wise I will have to kill you. The bus cannot take off while you are standing, rooting for change or trying to break a large bill with passengers. Its not in the schedule nor is a homicide investigation.

I’ve learned to accommodate my needs with the bus’ reality. Bus travel can be a workable marriage but a poor romance. You just have to work that in on the side.

One thought on “How to Ride a Nutty Bus

  1. Yes, well stated. It is all a balancing act between environmental concerns, personal economics and wiggle room with the occasional threat of gratuitous violence. Lake Transit might not rock, but it does roll.

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