Sunday, August 18, 2013

BUS STORY # 354 (To Garage)

To Garage by busboy4
To Garage, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

The engine dies as the bus is pulling up to a stop.

“This can’t be good,” says one rider.  There is nervous laughter.

“This is the third time this morning,” says the driver.  He then announces that we’re all gonna have to get out at the next stop and catch the next bus.  He’s phoning this one in.

One rider says to no one in particular, “So much for being on time this morning.”  Another rider says to him, “Maybe you can get the driver to write you a tardy note.”

The driver waits a few minutes, then tries restarting the engine.  It catches, and he pulls up to the intersection.  We have the red light.  It is still running when the light turns green.  We pull in at the stop on the other side of the intersection and file out.  The driver is telling each of us he’s really sorry, and I can tell he means it.

I step out on the sidewalk and am standing by the open front door where I can hear the driver talking to someone at ABQ RIDE.  He’s sitting in the driver’s seat talking on a phone that’s attached to the wall beside him.  Turns out he drove this same bus one day last week, and it stalled out near the end of his shift.  He reported it then, and he’s reminding them now that this is the same bus.

I look up at the number.  It’s one of the new 900 series.  I was expecting a 700 because I’d heard a rumor from another rider that the 700s are having problems and the mechanics don’t know why.

Just listening to his end of the exchanges, it sounds as if he’s having a difficult time convincing them there really is something wrong with the bus.  After a while, he hangs up the phone and steps back outside.

“They never believe you,” he says to me.  Which I take to mean he knows I was listening in.

I tell him I’ve heard the 700s are having trouble.

He doesn’t think so.  “They’ve got some miles on them by now, you know.”

Three of my co-riders have bikes, and when the next bus comes, there’s only room for two on the rack.  One of the riders defers to the other two, then asks the driver if he can bring his bike on through the back door.  The driver tells him the bus is too crowded.  My co-rider is cool with this.

The rest of us board. The new driver is right: We’ve made his bus crowded.

When I reach my stop and am walking down the sidewalk to my destination, I see another bus limping back the other way.  The signage reads “TO GARAGE.”

It’s a 700.


Thanks to Busninja in Provo, Utah, for this week's featured bus story: This Week In: Herriman, Utah.


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