There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The spoiled rider pouts

I was pouting. I was spoiled, and I didn't want to face facts. Pooh on facts.

For the second day, the bus arrived at the 65th Street light rail station as the downtown train was leaving. I looked at my cell phone clock. The time was 9:18 a.m.

As the train pulled away I walked over to the kiosk where the light-rail schedule is posted. Departure from 65th Street was supposed to be at 9:18 a.m. Ah, hah! I have been robbed by timely train service.

At least that's what the pouty, spoiled rider mumbled to himself.

But facts keep getting in the way.

If the bus actually adhered to its schedule, it would never meet the 9:18 a.m. train. The bus isn't scheduled to arrive until 9:23 a.m., which would be a fine fit for the 9:33 downtown train.

Riding the bus and train and depending on the vagaries of traffic and passenger load creates a certain ambiguousness where order is desired. Put another way, there's always going to be a certain tension between my personal convenience, and RT's need to serve the broader community.

I have never complained about the timing stops that the bus makes on most nights on my way home. When the bus gets too far ahead of schedule the driver waits. On some nights the bus does this more than once. I can easily imagine what it would be like to be hurrying to a bus stop only to watch the bus speed past 10 minutes before it was scheduled to arrive.

Today, for the first time in my month of riding to work on the bus, we waited at Watt and El Camino to catch up with the schedule. The sound of the bells announcing a departing train echoed in my imagination as we waited.

Yes, it is all for the greater good of the community of bus riders. Pooh, my spoiled self retorts. I want my train connection. Boy, it's hard to be adult about this.

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