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What's on YOUR mind?

Man, this bus is dirty. Like really. It’s kind of gross. Do they ever clean public busses? I guess it’s not really a priority, especially in the Canadian winter. I’m fairly certain cleaning the busses is actually at the bottom of OC Transpo’s to-do list, buried beneath finding grouchy bus drivers, disregarding any apparent schedule, and ignoring the desperation of everyone who’s ever ran to catch the bus, only to see it pull away. That, at least, is what I can only be left to assume through my experience as a passenger.

I could never know for sure but I can imagine that there are actually some bus drivers who take pleasure in doing that. They relish every instance of power they can get over their passengers. Oh, here comes another one. He’s got two bags over his shoulders and he’s absolutely dogging it. And damn, that’s a steep hill up from the O-Train. Here he comes. He’s getting closer. Almost there. Ok, now’s my chance. Look straight ahead, close the door, pull away from the curb. It’s 9:30 pm, it’s snowing and I’m already behind schedule (laughs to self at the thought of having a trip schedule). I’ve been that sprinting dude more times than I can remember and each time it happens I become a firmer believer that such a thought process actually exists for bus drivers in my city. It’s like a religion they all share. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they drink wine on their breaks sometimes.

Variations of said power-tripping religion (fetish?) even extends to oh, it’s raining out today. Look at that ocean of water on the side of the road. I sure would love to take the bus through there, just to kick up a storm. Haha! Someone was walking on the sidewalk as I totally soaked him. Oh well, he was already wet in the rain. What are towels for, right?

As a curious and regular bus rider I notice that being blatantly inconsiderate is the first of two frequent trends. Let’s call that story Situation A. The second usual event is what I call Situation B, and it occurs when I’m already on the bus. I don’t know how aware bus drivers are of the schedules of other busses or the train. However, it is easy to remember that the train leaves Bayview on the 0, 15, 30 and 45 of every hour. If you’ve heard of that schedule once, it can’t be hard to remember. So as we pull into Tunney’s Pasture at 9:58, a sensible driver ought to know the train, which is fairly popular, leaves in 2 minutes. What’s surprising is that it is possible to make it there in time. And yet all too often dozens of passengers miss the train because of lazy startups or, worse, those times when the bus just stalls for no apparent reason. And so the seconds tick by, and hope gradually dissipates. It’s the worst feeling ever, to lose hope on the bus. Maybe the driver assumes the train will be late, since that’s always the case with busses. But the reality couldn’t be farther from that assumption. The train is painfully punctual. It leaves exactly on schedule – to a fault sometimes (ie when I miss it).

I don’t mean to rip on the bussing system in my city (actually, yeah I do). I understand bus drivers are just people. They have a responsibility to be pleasant but a right to be cranky. And I know they deal with far less diplomatic people than me every day. By “far less diplomatic” I mean people who actually talk shit to their faces, rather than semi-anonymously and uber-passive-aggressively via a blog post. I digress.

You can’t blame them for their faults. Some are great at what they do. Others are horrible. But that comparison can be made in any field. It just happens that they offer a public service, and as such are held to high expectations. Maybe mine are too lofty (although they often come down to merely courtesy). Could I be a better passenger? Maybe. I could smile and say thank you as I leave the bus. I’ve done that before.

A day later I was covered with water from the side of the street.



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