Sunday, February 07, 2010

BUS STORY # 170 (Shorts 13: The Metro Stories)

Reagan Metro-DC, originally uploaded by Dr. Fieldgood.

Last week, I wrote about my first experience with Washington, D.C.’s Metro. This week, I’m telling the stories I brought back from that experience.


Metro tickets, originally uploaded by welcometoalville.

I’m standing before an array of vending machines trying to figure out how to buy a ticket on the Metro when another rider comes up to the vending machine to my left. I decide to watch what he does. He stands there looking for a minute, then turns and asks me how the vending machine works. I tell him I was hoping he was about to show me the same thing. We laugh, then figure it out together.


DCA Metro Platform, originally uploaded by sfgamchick.

Out on the platform, it turns out my vending machine partner and I are both waiting for the Yellow line. We get to talking. I’m from Albuquerque. He was born in Albuquerque. He left when he was six months old. He still has family out there. He figures it’s unlikely, but would I possibly know Kathy King?* Is that Kathy with a K, I ask. Yes it is. Do you know what she does, I ask. No he doesn’t. But he knows she has a couple of kids. In high school and junior high, I ask. That’s about right, he says. Well, I do know a Kathy-with-a-K King who has two children, one in high school and one in junior high. She’s an administrator for the company I work for. He calls his dad in Irving, Texas, who promptly ruins a good story. His sister, Kathy King who lives in Albuquerque, is a housewife.


So you're from Irving, I say. You wouldn’t happen to know a – I give him my brother’s name. He can’t say that he does.


*heart* public transit, originally uploaded by rachaelvoorhees.

I come up to street level after getting off the Yellow line at the U Street station. There’s a bus stop right there, and the 90 and 92 are both on the sign. But which way do I need to go? I ask a woman if these are the buses going toward the Ellington Bridge. Across the street, she answers. I cross the street, but don’t see any bus stop signs. I walk a couple of blocks until I do see one and wait. The 92 is there in less than five minutes. I board the 92 and show the driver my Metro Rail ticket. She tells me that doesn’t work on the bus. (After looking at the Trip Planner, I understand she is right and I didn’t fully understand the fare and ticket structures.) I put $1.35 in the fare box and ask her how many stops till 18th and Wyoming. I don’t know, she says.


The bus features a very clear voice announcement for each stop. (On the Metro, each announcement sounds like “Mshhruffltm at pshffleshfft. Ammhlek fump om bizzfhiffzt.”) Along the way, I figure out where I think my stop will be, and I am correct. After the announcement, “18th and Wyoming,” a slender, well-dressed adolescent tells me this is where I want to get off. He’d obviously overheard my conversation with the driver and had decided to help me out without being asked.


reagan national, originally uploaded by 1600 Squirrels.

How far from home am I? Waiting in Terminal C for my return flight, in an airport full of all sorts of strange and exotic languages, I hear an overhead page: “If there is anyone who speaks Spanish, would they please report to the Travelers Aid desk at Terminal A?”

*Real name changed.


The photo at the top of this story is titled Reagan Metro-DC and is posted with the kind permission of Dr. Fieldgood. You can see this and all Dr. Fieldgood’s photos on Flickr at:

The second photo in this story is titled Metro tickets and is posted with the kind permission of welcometoalville. You can see this and all welcometoalville’s photos on Flickr at:

The third photo in this story is titled DCA Metro Platform and is posted with the kind permission of sfgamchick. You can see this and all sfgamchick's photos on Flickr at:

The fourth photo in this story is titled *heart* public transit and is posted with the kind permission of rachaelvoorhees. You can see this and all rachaelvoorhees' photos on Flickr at:

The last spectacular photo is titled reagan national and is posted with the kind permission of 1600 Squirrels. I owe a special debt of gratitude to 1600 Squirrels both for letting me know the proper way to post photos from Flickr and for a series of emails helping me to master that process. An unexpected but happy consequence is that the photos posted to this blog are now larger than ever. And in most cases, links to both the photo and the photographer on Flickr appear immediately below the photo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glorius photos. and lovely stories. Who knew riding the bus could be like that. D.C. bus riders sound very nice.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you, BBBH Anonymous. I have to say that I was especially impressed with the teenager who volunteered to point out my stop. But I would also have to say almost all the ABQ RIDE drivers are a lot more helpful and friendlier than my driver was. But: this was one ride vs the hundreds I've had here. All in all, as I hope these two stories convey, it was an impressive experience.

4:12 AM  

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