Once again, the bus did not arrive yesterday.
It probably won’t arrive today either. In the last week I’ve been left waiting in that hot Alabama sun 3 separate times.
I’ve probably talked to you guys about the terrible bus situation here before, but it’s still happening so I still have to discuss it. I won’t keep you long—I just want to discuss a few things that went through my head as I waited.
When I was in art school, in the lovely city of Savannah “Jo-Ja”, the bus ran seven days a week, all day and every thirty minutes like clockwork. I had been so used to having to wait hours for the bus here at home that I assumed that it was some sort of dirty trick.
“Why is this bus on time?” I’d ask no one in particular. “Is this a kidnapping?” Not here, though. Here you wait.
That’s the worst part, the waiting. You slowly gain the realization that the bus won’t be coming and that you’re going to be late—again. I hate tardiness, especially when it’s me. Some people could care less but I’m not a fan of it. It’s even worse when you’ve done everything in your power to be punctual and then the bus doesn’t arrive. So, you’re standing there—oh yeah, the standing...
At the corner where I normally catch the bus there used to be a nice bench. So, at the very least, if you were going to have to wait an extra hour for your broken down bus to show up, you could sit. But not too long ago a stack of fancy condominiums were put on that corner and that meant, for some uppity reason, that the bench had to be torn from the ground.
So, let’s say for the sake of argument that the people in the condo didn’t want common folk sitting outside of their fancy new homes so the benches were removed. I’ll buy that. So it’s better to have us all STANDING there? Dripping sweat, milling around and cursing like a group of sun zombies? Genius!
Whatever you do, NEVER call the central station and ask about information on the late bus. I’m not going to say that everyone that works there is a short, rude person that hates you and hates answering your simple questions—I will say that I haven’t met anyone that’s had to call there that hasn’t been snapped at.
So, adding insult to injury, not only are you stuck in the sun and late for wherever you’re going—NOW the mean lady at the bus station is angry at you for having the nerve to ask why the bus isn’t arriving. It’s a madhouse! A Madhouse!
Perhaps there is hope, though. Everyone keeps telling me about these new buses that they’ve seen at the central station. They’ve been telling me this for over a month and I haven’t seen one yet, but they’re there! New buses! Maybe they’ll be outfitted with some sort of time displacement device so that they are ALWAYS on time!
Sadly, new buses are only half of the problem. The service and routes are also a head-ache. There just isn’t enough connectivity and diversity in this system. For example, my parents only live about 20 minutes from me by car. It’s about 45 minutes by bus—but there is only one bus that goes in that direction and it only goes ONCE a day. That bus leaves the station at ten minutes after five. So, let’s say for the sake of argument that this bus is meant to take people that work for a living back to their homes after a hard day’s work.
Well, most people aren’t done working until five. So our bus system assumes that you can, somehow, manage to leave work and make it to the central station in ten minutes to catch the ONLY bus that will be going in that direction.
How are you supposed to get to the station on time? By bus?
I’ve had an idea for quite some time and now I’m going to share it with you. It’s simple and it would make peoples lives so much easier when it comes to depending on the bus. No, I’m not setting up a comedy bit—I’m serious about this and now it will be documented here in the back of the paper in case someone tries to steal my simple yet wonderful idea.
A three light system. At every bus stop is placed a set of three lights—red, yellow, green. The light is green if the bus is on the way, red if it has already passed, and yellow if it is late or broken down. This way you aren’t just standing around and gambling on whether or not you’ll ever make it to your destination.
“Here I am at the bus stop! The light is green so it’s on the way!” or “Oh! I see that the light is red—well, I’ve missed this one, guess I’ll start walking!” Instead of the usual “Here I am at the bus stop. Will I be here 10 minutes or an hour? Place your bets!” So, I guess that’s it. In about an hour I’ll be out there again waiting patiently. Will I make it on time? Will things ever change? I guess we’ll see in two months if I have to, once again, write about this situation.
Wish me luck.
J’Mel Davidson is the founder of a local improv comedy troupe called The Feminist Debutante Guild. You can send him the love—or a NEW CAR!!—via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.