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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Never one to avoid disaster when I can invite it, I decided to try the No. 82 bus that leaves American River College at 8:04 a.m. After all, things went so well yesterday, maybe my fortune has changed.

And, sure enough, when I boarded I was pleased to see my favorite driver. He's my favorite because he is the only driver who appears capable of negotiating the lengthy route and arriving at Sac State in time for me to catch the No. 30 bus scheduled to depart at 8:52.

Now, on occasion, even this driver has had trouble making the collection. There was the famous karma payback trip that featured an old bus and two time-consuming wheelchair pickups and crowds and crowds of Sac State students. Days like that are controlled by the gods. Woe be unto him who angers them.

Anyway, today we hit the timing mark at Mission and Engel at the scheduled 8:12. The driver then picked up a wheelchair rider at one stop and still made the timing marks at both Watt and El Camino and at Kaiser Hospital. That flip ramp on the new buses really speeds the process of loading and offloading wheelchairs.

The driver off-loaded the wheelchair rider at the Winterstein Adult Center, waited for her to cross the street and then raced on.

The No. 82 arrived at Sac State just two minutes behind schedule at 8:47. The No. 30 bus arrived at 8:53 and I was walking to work at 22nd and L streets by 9:11.

I will admit that besides the help of the transit deities, the driver also benefited from a drop in Sac Student ridership, but he deserves a Bus Driver Appreciation Day award.