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

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My button

And then I noticed a small box at the front of the bus, across the aisle from the driver.

The No. 82 bus was about halfway between 65th Street and where I get off on Edison. I had looked up from my reading, and there it was. The box must have been there before. There when I boarded the bus. There when I made myself comfortable and waited for the scheduled departure. There all of the time until I finally noticed it. Magically it appeared.

For the rest of the ride I kept looking up from my book to study the box. Buttons?

Today was "Dump the Pump Day" and Regional Transit had promised to give "I Dumped the Pump" buttons to bus riders. Twice on my way to work I boarded a bus, and twice I left without a button. I sulked all day.

Finally, I couldn't wait any longer. As the bus passed the Whitney and Mission stop and headed for the Mission and Engle stop, I pulled the stop-request cord and walked to the front of the bus.

"Ooh! Buttons," I said out loud.

The driver immediately pulled the bus to the side of the road, a good block and a half before the stop, and opened the door. The driver must have thought I had missed my stop. Or maybe he felt someone so excited about a button was a hazard to the other riders.

After a moment's puzzled pause on my part, I decided it would take too long to explain all of this to the driver, and so I just grabbed a button from the box and happily got off the bus and walked home.


Maya said...

I dumped the pump on Monday. I make it policy to ride the bus at least one day per week. I think that, given how damn inconvenient it is for me to ride rather than drive, that I deserve a button too! Yesterday was not doable for me, but I dump the pump once a week.

Why not a dump the pump week?

John said...

I think it would be interesting to explore tie-ins with businesses near light rail stations and bus stops. Offering a 10 percent discount to people who have a bus transfer ticket or monthly pass would help both ends of that arrangement.

Jon Q. RT Driver said...

Fat chance on the discount idea. Most business owners/managers see us as more of a nuisance than anything else.

John said...

I would hope that the effort to convince commuters that it is smart to use transit would spill over to the local businesses.

One real problem transit has is the image that only "those people" use it. That is a bigotry that should be fought, not just by the gentrification of the ridership -- getting the suburban riders to leave their cars at home and use RT -- but with awareness of the ignorance that underlies such feelings.