Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bend it

A couple picks ago I was doing a split 10 - a single trip on the 10 in the morning, then a few hours on the 10 in the afternoon. The 10 could stand to have a few artics during peak hours, however it serves Central Terminal, which was built before the County had any artics in the fleet. Even those early ones were used out on 441 so didn't have to try and maneuver in the terminal.

For the morning run I was assigned a bus and went out to the yard to inspect it. It was an artic. Hmm, I thought, will this work? This was the first I'd ever heard of an artic going out on the 10. It was one of the newer New Flyer models which drive like a dream so I was looking forward to it. After making sure with dispatch that this was the right bus to take out, off we went.

My starting point was the north layover by the Publix on Camino Real, and I got into the habit of getting a couple spicy Jamaican patties there. It was early and they were hot and fresh. It was not unusual to cross paths with a Palm Tran driver who also had a layover at the same time, however it was invariably too early for his breakfast snack of choice.
"No croquettes!" he would decry with arms gesturing resignation.

My suspicion that this bus was out of place on US 1 was confirmed all the way down the line, from the perplexed looks of waiting passengers unsure if the headsign was correct to the incessant comments I received as they boarded.
"Is this the speed bus?" a woman in Boca asked.
"Is this the Express?" a man wondered, coming up to me after he'd been on board awhile.
Now, the US 1 Breeze north of the Terminal had been eliminated more than a year earlier so perhaps he was thinking about that service.

At McNab a regular with a bicycle grew a dejected expression as we pulled in to the stop; all three bike rack slots were taken. Fortunately, we had extra room this morning in the rear so I popped the back doors and instructed him to hold onto his bike in the spacious low floor door well area. He was grateful he'd be able to stay on time that morning.

Finally we turned into Central Terminal. Even when the onboard announcer is functioning, it never recites where we are, only to say "Route finished. Thank you." Out of habit, I always call it out. It signals the last stop, wakes up the sleepy riders after a long trip, and is just fun to say. It's a reminder that all roads lead to Central Terminal, where there's a place for every misfit - even oversized buses.

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