Oh bus driver, say something, anything, please!

1 Dec

I had a completely exhausting day at work today. I had a million things to do because of being in DC for a week and then only being in the office one day last week. So I somehow accomplished two days worth of work in one. At 5:30pm, my coworker came into my office, and after talking to me for a minute, asked if I was ok because I must have looked like I was about to fall over.

So when I went to catch the 1R home and saw that the 1 was coming first, I was very pleased. Normally I like the extra walk from the 1R stop but tonight I was happy to take the time gamble and hop on the 1 so I could be dropped off right in front of my apartment. I wasn’t in a rush and I kind of needed a long bus ride to decompress. Even if we stopped at every stop, it wouldn’t take that long, right?

I guess I should have learned by now that I should never make any assumptions about my bus rides. Because when I do, they’re so often proven wrong.

Well, the bus ride was going fine. The bus was full but we were passing by lots of 1 stops and moving along quickly. Then at 24th Street, on Telegraph, the bus stopped. Passengers got off and some got on, and we stayed stopped. Oh well, I thought – I figured we were ahead of schedule and were just stopping for a few minutes to get back on schedule. I really didn’t mind and know that stopping and waiting is better for the system as a whole.

But then after a couple of minutes, the bus started beeping. Yes, it started beeping. It was a slow, medium pitched beep. I could see my fellow passengers start to shift in their seats and start to look annoyed. Normally, I might have walked to the front of the bus to inquire, but I was still feeling beat from my long day and just decided to sit back and relax.

The beeping continued, and at one point the bus driver turned the bus off and turned it back on, I’m assuming in hopes that the beeping would stop. It didn’t.

So we sat there and a few people started to get off the bus to walk to their destinations. Others stared through the back window, looking for another bus to arrive. People looked increasingly frustrated.

But the beeping and the waiting hadn’t gotten to me. I was content to just sit and wait. What I wasn’t content about was that during this entire time, the bus driver said nothing. There were about 40 of us on the bus and she just sat there silently, letting us all wonder what the hell was happening and whether the bus would be moving again or not.

All she had to do was explain that their was a bus malfunction (this is what I’m assuming) and that she would hail the next bus for us (which she ultimately did). I’m sure some of my fellow bus riders would have still been frustrated, but at least we would have known what was going on and that we didn’t need to be constantly looking for the next bus and ready to jump out of our seats to grab it.

So eventually a 1R pulled up and we all got off the 1 and onto the 1R, without having to pay an additional fare. But a couple blocks past the Summit Medical Center stop, a group of young women pressed the buttons repeatedly, hoping to get off at their normal 1 stop. I don’t think they had realized that they had transferred to a 1R, and it’s not entirely their fault, as our initial bus driver never said a word to us about what was going on!

So we sped past their stop, and unfortunately, the distance between the Summit stop and the 40th Street stop is very long so they ended up 10 long blocks away from where they wanted to get off. And I couldn’t help but thinking that if our bus driver had just communicated with us initially, none of this would have ever happened.

I understand that buses aren’t perfect. Buses break (just like cars do), and it’s completely understandable that our driver had to stop the bus and have us all get off. But she really could have said something, anything to us to help us understand what was happening. Saying nothing is unacceptable!

Ugh, now I understand a bit more why people hate buses.

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