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, April 2, 2008

RT owes me $248.31 and I expect to be paid

Sacramento Regional Transit owes me two hundred and forty-eight dollars and 31 cents, and right after RT delivers the wife's bus stop benches, I expect RT to use some of that cash stuffed in administration mattresses and pay me back. Perhaps I'll even hold my breath.

The No. 80 bus that the wife needs to ride home was late again tonight.

"I'm at Starfire and there is no bus," the wife complained. "I got here at 6:09 and it never came. Now it's been 15 minutes."

Yesterday, the bus was 15 minutes late. Tonight it never came at all. Well, it may have eventually arrived at Folsom and the Starfire light rail station, but I told the wife to take the next inbound train, and I would meet her at 65th Street. I promised to smother her frustration with pasta sauce at Strings Restaurant in the F65 shopping center at Folsom and 65th streets.

I took the next outbound train and met the wife's arriving train. As we walked across 65th Street and up to the restaurant, she recounted her call to 321-BUSS.

A half-hour after the No. 80 bus was due, the wife got a woman at 321-BUSS on the phone. The woman started off by telling the wife the No. 80 bus was scheduled for 6:10 and the No. 84 for 6:41. Her implication was that the wife had missed the bus.

"No," the wife explained to the woman. "That's when the bus leaves the Watt/Manlove station. I'm at the Starfire light rail station and the No. 80 is scheduled to arrive here at 6:14."

The RT customer service woman again tried to suggest the wife had missed the bus.

"I was at the stop at 6:09 and someone else had already been waiting when I got there," the wife insisted. "The bus never arrived."

The RT customer service woman tried a new tact: "There's a bus that's running 35 minutes behind schedule," she said. Before the wife could get a better explanation her cell phone lost the call. (I'll be charitable here and not suggest that the lady at 321-BUSS hung up.)

The Strings Restaurant is very nice. We think it's the best in Sacramento, at least the best of those we've patronized. Just don't get the coffee. It was bland and lukewarm.

Now, I would not have complained if all this adventure cost was the price of the meal -- $35 -- but RT wasn't going to let me off that easily.

As we were eating dinner I checked the schedule for the No. 82, which we would take home. It was 7:19 and we weren't finished, so the 7:28 p.m. departure was out of the question. The No. 82 runs every half-hour and so one would expect the next bus at 7:58, which would have been convenient. But, no, the next bus wasn't scheduled to depart until 8:13 p.m. Blocked again!

Across the parking lot from Strings is an Office Depot store. We finished dinner at 7:30 and the wife suggested we browse Office Depot.

And that is how I ended up spending $213.32 for a Nikon Coolpix L18 camera, an extra 1GB SD media card and a two-year extended warranty that came with a bunch of other camera accessories.

And it is all Sacramento Regional Transit's fault.

If the No. 80 bus had arrived at the Starfire light rail station, the wife would have boarded and the kid would have picked her up at her stop and taken her home. I would have taken the train to the bus stop and taken the bus home. That's how it's supposed to work. That's why we each have transit passes. We're supposed to be saving all this money by leaving our cars at home!

But, no. Instead we now have pasta leftovers and a new camera with a bunch of accessories.

No comments: