PERSONAL DRIVER

This morning I got off the train to work and I was walking briskly to the bus stop to catch my bus to the studio. I saw my bus already waiting for passengers, so I increased my pace. This particular bus doesn’t linger for very long at the stop. It drives up, takes on all the passengers that are waiting and pretty much leaves less than a minute after that.

I saw this bus had already been boarded by many passengers so I had to hurry. I got within 30 feet or so when it started to drive off. Oh well, there’s always another bus. I looked behind me and indeed there was another bus, pulling up right away to the stop. That was odd, since these buses are supposed to be spaced about 8 minutes apart on this route. I wasn’t complaining though.

I was the only other person waiting and the bus driver opened up the door and I sat down in a seat. I was expecting him to sit there for another several minutes but he drove away as soon as I sat down. Whoa. It was just me and the driver. We were perhaps a minute behind the previous bus.

I wasn’t paying attention but I later realized he wasn’t stopping to pick up any passengers at the subsequent stops. I then heard the bus operator’s phone go off. It’s the phone that operations uses to talk to individual drivers as they’re on their routes. He spoke on that phone for a few short minutes before hanging up. He then looked into the rear-view mirror and asked me a question.

“Which stop are you going to?” I answered him and he said that would be ok. He then told me that his particular bus was running 30 minutes behind schedule because of an accident. Operations was telling him to try to make up time and try to get back into proper sequencing of buses. To do that, he would need to pass other buses along the route. The only way to do that was to not take on any more passengers and drive as quickly as the law would allow.

We passed by several stops with people waiting. I was the only one on this bus and he was essentially my private driver for the morning. We got to my stop in record time because he didn’t have to pick up or drop off others. It was super cool.

I felt like I still had to ring the bell so I did. As I exit the bus, I told the driver thank you and good luck. As I walked off, I could see the bus had the “sorry, not in service” signage on the front.

It was a fun commute this morning.

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