Sunday, January 20, 2013

BUS STORY # 324 (Late)


The bus is late.

The woman waiting at the stop with me pulls out a cell phone and calls 311.  She asks if there is something wrong with our bus, and tells the agent her connections are in jeopardy.  She is polite.

When she is finished, she turns off her phone, puts it in her purse, then stands silently for a long moment. Then:

“They told me there’s nothing out of the ordinary that they know of, “ she says out loud, not looking at me.

I ask her what happens if she misses her connection.

She has to take another bus to the Northwest Transit Center, and take yet another bus in order to get home.  But she can’t afford to miss that other connection at the Transit Center, either, because it’s the last one for the day.

We talk a little more, and I learn she moved to Albuquerque two-and-a-half years ago from San Francisco, after she was laid off.  She tells me San Francisco is expensive enough to live in with a job.  It’s impossible without one.

I ask her why Albuquerque?

She got a job offer here.  She explains she’d sold her car after moving to San Francisco because there was nowhere to park, and because the public transportation there was 24/7.

She’d looked to see if Albuquerque had a public transportation system, but she says now she didn’t look closely enough.  She finds the routes adequate, but the schedules not.  Too much time between buses, and they all stop running at night. She points out the bus we are waiting for (the 140) has its last run at 6:20 p.m.

She tells me she had several route options between where she lives and where she used to work, so she always had an alternate route to fall back on. But her office has just been relocated to this area of town, and this route is the only option she has. She does not want to have to leave work early in order to provide a cushion for an unreliable bus schedule.

Our bus arrives almost 10 minutes late. It has been dead on time until now.  We get to her connecting stop a few minutes before her bus is scheduled to arrive.  But there is no way for me to know if her bus was still on the way or had come early.

No way for her to know, either.

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