Sunday, July 03, 2011

BUS STORY # 243 (Darlene’s Tucson Bus story)

I was having dinner with friends recently, and one of these friends said she had a bus story for me.

Darlene lived in Tucson from the mid-’80’s to the mid-‘90s. One of the things she did while she was there was arrange and lead Elderhostel tours.

It seems they had a contract with a private bus service that wasn’t always as dependable as she would have liked.

I asked if they were the only game in town.

She replied they were the cheapest game in town.

So, in the vein of “you get what you pay for,” one evening, when she and fifty elders had finished a tour of a local planetarium, the bus didn’t show.

She tried calling the service without success. After a half hour or so, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

She called Sun Tran, the local transit company, and told them how she and fifty elders came to be stranded at the planetarium. She said she had no money, and asked what they could do to help.

They had her take her elders a couple of blocks to a stop on Speedway where the last bus of the evening would be coming. She said the elders were wonderful about the whole thing and treated it like a great adventure.

Turns out Sun Tran and the driver were also wonderful about the whole thing.

When the bus arrived, the driver had already been notified of the situation by the dispatcher. He opened the doors and let everyone in, no fare needed. Darlene said they filled up the almost empty bus.

The driver was an exceptionally good-natured fellow, and instead of dropping them at the stop nearest their hotel, he left the route and drove them right to the hotel itself.

Darlene wrote the Sun Tran folks a thank you letter praising their help and the spirit with which it was given. She said the seniors were so impressed they were still talking about it the next morning. Of course, Darlene must have been impressed, too, because, after all these years, she’s still talking about it.

I’m impressed, too. And that’s why, after all these years, I’m telling the story again, right here, right now.

Long time Albuquerque riders will remember that our public transit system was also called Sun Tran before changing to ABQ RIDE back in 2004. Anyone who’s spent time in both cities knows we have a lot of other things in common with Tucson. I’d like to think that includes how our system and our drivers would have handled Darlene’s situation.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “La Estrella de Tucson” ⓒ All Rights Reserved and is posted with the kind permission of So Cal Metro. You can see this and all So Cal Metro’s photos on Flickr at:


Anonymous Brenda said...

Ah, that warms my heart. Great story.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed, too and my heart was also warmed.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thanks to you both for your kind words. I'm grateful Darlene shared this wonderful story with me. I am delighted to be able to pass it on.

8:03 PM  

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