Sunday, October 24, 2010

BUS STORY # 207 (“An Incident”)

Bus Stop, originally uploaded by busboy4.

It’s the first almost-cold day of the season. The wind is blowing hard and chill, gusts sandblasting bare skin. It looks like it might rain. There are five of us waiting at the corner of Lomas and Louisiana for the 11. Those of us that left before sunrise have light jackets. Those that left later in the day don’t.

A junior-high girl in a white T-shirt, short gray skirt, and black suede boots huddles up close to her mother. Mom’s wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. A woman in dark pants and blouse stands by the bench where mom and daughter are sitting. She’s using a big, pink shopping bag as a windbreak. An older guy in a gray and maroon striped polo shirt and black shorts stands near the curb, scanning Lomas for a bus.

We’ve been here about 40 minutes now, long enough to have seen two 11s going west, and three Red Lines going north.

“See anything yet?” asks the mom.

“Lotta dust,” answers the older guy.

It starts to spatter rain.

“Look, a rainbow!”

The girl is pointing northeast, toward the mountains. Sure enough, there’s a nice half-rainbow coming down somewhere near the end of Lomas. Where the pot of gold is. Where I’d be if the bus had come.

The spattering passes. A guy in jeans and a blue hoodie with the letters LA on the front walks across the street and joins us. He ends up sitting on the low metal bar separating the used car lot from the sidewalk and smoking.

The older guy sees a bus. He tells us it’ll probably be crowded since it has at least two runs’ worth of riders on it.

We watch the bus stop on the west side of the intersection and let four people off. The four people waiting then board.

This is a good sign.

When the bus pulls up at our stop, the driver runs his hand past his neck: the “full-up-to-here” signal. This is a bad sign. We keep walking toward the bus anyway, and he stops and opens the door.

“Sorry, I’m full up. I just can’t take any more riders. There’s another bus behind me. He’ll be here in 10 minutes.”

The girl thinks the driver seems “frantic.”

I start tracking the time on my cell phone. The next bus arrives in 18 minutes.

I ask the driver what happened to the earlier buses.

He mulls this question over before answering, a bit tentatively, that there was “an incident” on one of the buses and they had to transfer the riders to another bus.

When I get home, I post a question in the ABQ Bus Riders Discussion forum at Duke City Fix asking if anyone knows what happened. No further information is forthcoming at the time of this post.

However, I also email Rebecca Torres at ABQ RIDE’s Customer Service asking the same question. She responds the next day. There was indeed “an incident” which required calling in APD. She knew service had been disrupted for quite a while, and she apologized for the inconvenience.

At this point, I don’t need any more detail. I'm happy to have a quick and straight answer. Given the circumstances, neither she nor ABQ RIDE owes me an apology. Instead, I'm feeling thankful for all they do -- and all they put up with -- to keep us moving.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brrrr. Good story. You are a trooper and a good citizen. BBBH

6:37 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Well, thank you. BBBH. Trooper for sure, but I'm not sure what makes me a good citizen here. But it does remind me of all the things that can make a bus late: drivers accommodating disabled riders, sometimes in wheelchairs; drivers waiting for folks running for the bus; drivers waiting for another bus so riders won't miss their connections; traffic - with and without orange barrels; weather (fortunately, a rare problem here in Albuquerque); and, of course, riders who can't or won't behave like responsible adults.

Also, although I don't know this for certain, I'd bet Rebecca Torres finds Customer Service a mostly thankless job. So here's another opportunity to say "Thank you." Let's make that with an "!"

7:21 AM  

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