If I’m not working late I usually take a 6:40pm bus that takes me from downtown Vancouver out to the boonies. This evening, I waited patiently for that 6:40pm bus to come. The time came and went without the bus arriving. It’s very rarely late. Then around 6:50pm a bus with a route number that’s my route came flying by the bus stop. Instead of the route name it had “Not In Service” on the front. I clued in that perhaps was my bus. It sailed off into the distance.

The next bus was in 25 minutes so I wasn’t going to wait around for it at the bus stop. I made a short walk to Pacific Centre where 25 minutes would pass much faster. In a short while, it was time again to go back to the bus stop.

At exactly 7:15pm my bus pulled up to the stop, except it was no ordinary bus. It was one of them fancy test buses that use on my route once in a while. These buses use alternative fuels to power them and Translink is assessing several models for a future fleet purchase. Usually they don’t look any different than your regular bus but maybe the engine sounds a little different.

This bus was different though. The seats were in a really non-Translink configuration. It was wild I tell ya. Some seats were facing each other like in a passenger train car. I sat at the back of the bus where it was only three seats across. There was a woman talking to two other people two rows ahead of me. She was telling them how she used to be a stripper and how she worked the strip club circuit in Vancouver. She stopped dancing because the money wasn’t so good anymore. I’ll be honest here and say that it looked like her best days as a stripper were behind her.

When the weirdness of my surroundings and the former stripper two rows ahead of me was no longer interesting anymore I feel asleep. I woke up to find myself just about at my stop. When it was time to get off the bus, I made my way to the rear doors. Standing there, I was confronted with these instructions:

1. Wait for the green light to come on

2. Wave your hand “here”

When I read the part about waving my hand to open the door I immediately knew this bus sucked donkey balls. The “here” part was this nebulous region on the door that was painted yellow for highlighting. So let me get this straight, you want me to do “jazz hands” in front of a sensor I can’t even see so the doors will open? This whole gimmick was designed to make people look like an idiot before they get off the bus.

So the bus pulls over to my stop and I’m getting ready to do my best Annie Oakley. The light turns green and I do Queen Elizabeth waving to her subjects. Nothing. Now, I’m thinking I gotta do it more gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I try it again with what I can only describe as a mime washing an invisible window action. That does the trick. The doors open with a whoosh so loud, it can only mean this bus is hermetically sealed.

I hope that bus never makes it into the fleet.

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