Sunday, June 05, 2016

BUS STORY # 500 (Service Suspended)

¿Dónde está Busboy?, originally uploaded by busboy4. Photoshop by Skyler Rexroad.

This is Busboy’s last post.

It’s time, really.

I began posting bus stories in August, 2006, when I was a rather wide-eyed newbie to public transportation. The riders, the drivers, the buses, the stories — all were a marvel to me.

The stories continue to be a marvel to me. But, like me, the stories have begun to slow down.

For one thing, I don’t hear as well as I used to. A lot of good bus stories have come from overheard conversations. These days, I just don’t hear those conversations unless they’re happening close by or whoever’s speaking has an exceptionally loud and clear voice. Así es la vida.

When I retired, I lost the regular work commute routes, and along with that, a ridership that was comfortable enough with one another to share stories. I also quit having to take the 50 between Central and the airport. That route may have provided more stories than any other. It certainly provided a lot of interesting ones.

You might suspect that retirement would also decrease my usage of the bus, and hence my opportunity to come across new stories. Not so. In 2014, I tracked boardings to see if buying an annual pass was worthwhile. I had 580 boardings that year. My work commutes involved between four and six boardings a day. Six a day times 52 weeks comes out to 312 boardings. So I’ve actually had more opportunities to come across a story than when I was working.

I think another reason for the decrease in stories is the ridership’s increased use of earbuds and headphones. Many of those who do not are scrolling and texting. It is not an environment that lends itself to conversations.

Finally, there is always the possibility that I don’t see the stories as readily as I did when I was new to riding the bus. It’s a lot like the mountains or the skies out here; you get used to them, and quit seeing them like you did when you first moved here.

I owe a lot of people a thank you.
  • ABQ RIDE. The improvements in keeping to the schedule and the professionalism of the drivers since 2006 is noteworthy. More, it’s critical to making public transportation in Albuquerque a reasonable option. There’s certainly room for more service, but I don’t think we can get much better service.
  • The ridership. I’ve read a number of bus blogs from other cities over these past 10 years, and for a city our size, we have a largely well-behaved and considerate ridership in comparison.
  • The many riders who have shared their stories with me. What a remarkable privilege and experience!
  • Blogger, and the Blogger community. I still wonder why someone else would go to the trouble of providing a guy who rides the bus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the opportunity to tell the whole world about his experiences free of charge. I’m also grateful for the many folks who freely shared their time and knowledge on the Blogger Help forums and other Blogger-focused blogs about how to format, how to create links, how to download from Flickr, and so many other tips that helped make my site do so many more things than I could have imagined when I first set out.
  • I’m especially grateful to the many Flickr members who gave me permission to use their photographs. So many of those, besides being marvelous in themselves, were perfect for the story I was posting.
  • I’m grateful to those readers who shared their comments -- or didn’t, but read anyway. There are a few of you who have been faithful readers over the years.  I thank you for that compliment, and for the comments and/or emails you've sent when a story provoked reflection. Over the span of Bus Stories, 71 people have signed up as “Followers.” I could never bring myself to activate this function; it felt too self-aggrandizing. Still, I’m grateful for those acknowledgments, and to any of them still reading, thank you.
  • Finally, I’m grateful to all the other bus bloggers past and present. Finding others made me feel like a member of a little community, and I began keeping links to their blogs along the right-hand margin of Bus Stories. Some of those linked to mine as well, and those were especially meaningful acknowledgments. I’ve had favorites, present and past, but I admire and salute anyone who takes the trouble to write about their experiences on the bus.

And that’s the story.