Sunday, February 23, 2014

BUS STORY # 381 (At The Old Town Transit Center In San Diego)

Young woman studying bus schedule. Downloaded from CommuterPageBlog by busboy4
Young woman studying bus schedule. Downloaded from CommuterPageBlog.

We are waiting for the driver of the 10 to finish his break when I notice a young woman standing at the map showing the routes and schedules of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

She is standing there, looking very studiously at the display, with a spiral notebook open in her left hand. Every once in a while, she looks down at the notebook and writes something on the page.

I point her out to Mrs. Busboy. See, we’re not the only new riders around here.

She’s Asian -- Korean, I think -- and we begin speculating about whether she’s a native but new to the buses, or maybe a student who’s ranging beyond her usual campus-related routes, or a tourist, from out of town or maybe even out of country.

An older man in a jacket with an SDMTS patch on the right shoulder approaches her. We assume he’s one of the drivers, and has taken it upon himself to help. They begin talking in a foreign language. Ah, so, from out of country.

We can see from their expressions it’s not going well. We don’t know if the languages aren’t the same, or if the young woman just isn’t getting it.

Mrs. Busboy is trying to imagine what it takes to go to a country where you don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language and try to get around using the bus. She finds it challenge enough just thinking about trying to use the bus in Albuquerque. She feels for the young woman.

Our driver has returned to the bus and opened the doors. We join the riders in line to board.

We spot her again as we are leaving our bay, standing at the edge of another bay, looking out across the center. She looks anxious but determined, as if she may not know how to get there, but get there she most definitely will.


Over the next five weeks, I will be posting stories about our experiences using the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

BUS STORY # 380 (Shorts 34)

Ad in front window of Nob Hill's StreetFood Asia by busboy4
Run don't take the Bus!!, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.


I board a full bus and head for the rear. When I pass by the bench seat facing the rear door, all I see is a dress shirt hanging from an overhead strap. It looks like a curtain. Underneath the shirt I can see a pair of black pants hanging, and there’s a striped tie wound around the top of the hanger. It’s impossible to see behind the curtain until I get up on the rear platform. Then I look down on a guy in sweats holding the shirt straight with both hands so it doesn’t get wrinkled.


Three of us wait for a woman to exit the front door before we board the Rapid. Once she’s off, the first guy boards and approaches the fare box with his pass. The driver says, “Two exit doors, and she’s gotta walk all the way to the front door to get off the bus.”


Seen on a nine-year-old-sized girl boarding the bus with her mother:

My Mom Rocks by busboy4
Downloaded from skreened.


Heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend... ABQ RIDE is gonna be replacing the 300s with new buses. They are supposed to be New Flyers like those in the current fleet, but powered by compressed natural gas rather than the diesel-electric hybrids. Late spring.


There’s a bicyclist in the outside lane. The traffic is light, and the bus pulls around him. I’m surprised when the driver honks as he passes. He pulls the bus pulls over at the next stop, pops the doors, and waits. “He’s probably gonna want to ride,” he explains to the rider across the aisle by the door. Now I understand the honk. Sure enough, the cyclist pulls around in front of the bus, loads his bike on the rack, then boards. The driver tells him he’d just as soon pick him up as run him down. The bike rider grins, swipes his pass, and heads for the back.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

BUS STORY # 379 (The Kiss)

Downloaded from Inspired by design. by busboy4
Downloaded from Inspired by design.

It’s a middle-of-the-block stop, but besides the person getting ready to get off, there is one waiting to board.

The person getting off is a young woman, early 20s maybe, and she is walking toward the front door.

I am wondering why a rider would walk all the way to the front of the bus from the back rather than use the exit door at the rear, especially when she can see there is someone waiting to board by the front door.

He’s a young guy, about the same age, and he steps to the side when he sees her getting ready to exit.

She steps down on the sidewalk and walks past him, to the bus stop bench, where she puts down her purse, a big, black, patent leather thing, and opens it.

He doesn’t board. Instead, he turns in his place and watches her.

I think they are speaking to one another.

A piece of paper flies out of her purse and starts gusting down the street. He momentarily looks like he is thinking he should chase it down, but he doesn’t. He turns his head back to watch the woman searching her purse, now a little more frantically.

I look at the driver. He isn’t saying a word, just sitting there watching the woman ransacking her purse, watching like the rest of us wondering what is going on.

We watch her pull out a pink notebook, open it, pull out a bus pass. She hands the bus pass to the young man, then gives him a quick kiss on the mouth.

He starts turning toward the door, then pauses, turns back, grabs the girl and pulls her close, and gives her a real kiss. ...two, three, four, five...

Afterwards, he boards, slides the pass through the slot, then heads for the back of the bus. Perhaps he’ll look for her through the windows after he passes my seat. But right now, he looks like he needs to be somewhere.


The photo above was downloaded from Inspired by design.


Thanks to PI from right here in Albuquerque for this week’s "Holy Cow!" story: 11 Celebrities Using Public Transportation Just Like You.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

BUS STORY # 378 (Cutting The Apron Strings)

Old lady on the bus by Elvis Nieves Photography
Old lady on the bus, © All Rights Reserved, a photo by Elvis Nieves Photography on Flickr.

The older woman guides her walker to the first seat facing forward, then maneuvers to sit in the window seat.

But before she can sit down, the young girl behind her lunges forward and grabs her.

“Not there!” she says, pointing to the seat.

I’ve already pegged them as grandmother and granddaughter.

Grandmother thanks her granddaughter profusely as she helps the old woman settle in the aisle seat. Granddaughter takes the bench seat in front of her and arranges the walker so it fits snugly in the space between them.

The walker looks like a combination stroller, with a closed, blue canvas compartment where a basket would be. It looks full.

Once they are settled, the granddaughter, who may or may not be in high school, pulls a cellphone out of her purse. She holds it in front of her grandmother, then proceeds to give her instructions on how to make a call.

She makes her practice until she is satisfied her grandmother has mastered the process.

A little later, the granddaughter opens the blue canvas on top of the stroller and pulls out a backpack. After strapping it on, she hands her grandmother the cell, tells her she loves her and not to lose the phone.

She gets off at her stop, leaving her grandmother to ride on by herself.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “Old lady on the bus,” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of Elvis Nieves. You can see all Elvis Nieves’s photos on Flickr here.