Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ways to stop

An afternoon on the 50, eight of us drivers forced to stop before we can start. There doesn't seem to be a taxi available for us to get downtown to Central Terminal and start our shifts. There's a substantial crowd waiting when I finally arrive, hop in the seat, and book it. We're down 11 minutes, but we're gonna keep it moving and get on up the street. Great intentions, but today we have one of the slowest buses in the fleet. One with a single large spaceship door, which is also slow itself and confounds passengers accustomed to the standard double doors. These models are designed for commuter routes, so they can zip along highways just fine, but seem to struggle on local routes.

At Sunrise we pick up Mr. Mercedes like usual. He's something of a master painter and has repainted his bike since the last time. Now it is a glossy bright green, and still decked out with Mercedes hood ornaments on the front and rear splash guards. Shortly into the trip he comes back up and shows me picture online he finds funny. Thanks for the laughs!

The onboard computer isn't accepting my login today, so it won't be announcing stops. Maybe it's just me, but I love these glitches. It gives me a chance to go old school and announce stops the way drivers used to, with my bus voice. Plus I can call out stops the announcer might miss. Another shortcoming on this bus only sweetens the experience: the PA works and has a stellar retro machine sound effect, like blown speakers in a old European train station. Now this is fun, and I don't miss an opportunity to make an announcement.

At 48th St in Pompano, just at the end where line crews had the right lane closed, there's a fender bender in the left lane. Traffic is backing up and impatient motorists are cutting through the orange cones to get around the blockage. A passenger offers to jump out and move some cones. Thanking him for the gesture, but looking out for his safety with traffic so close, I shift a couple cones myself so we can bypass the crash scene. The line crews are gone anyway.

"Stop here!" A young man up front forgot to signal his stop and we passed it.
Another young man chimed in with some advice: "Ya gotta ring the dinger, yo!"

On Wilton Drive a woman smiles with her gold grill. Almost equally golden are her stunning 3-foot-long semi-bleached super-thin dreads resembling the roots of a sabal palm.

Over at McNab Rd, a regular with a manbun is puffing a newly-lit cigarette.
"Sorry to cut ya short, man." I sympathized after he tossed the one-drag smoke.
"No worries. That seems to be how I summon you guys."

Up on Hillsboro another 50 bus sits broken down. He has no passengers to transfer so it's not our leader bus and has probably been there awhile.

A beautiful thing about the service improvements to the 50 is the extra recovery time at each end. One consequence however, is we arrive at the Central Terminal before our leader bus has vacated the bus bay. When that happens, we park in D aisle until the space is open. This day my follower arrived earlier than anticipated and took the assigned spot before I could. This meant loading everyone while parallel to that bus. We weren't at the curb so I lowered the kneeler to make it easier for passengers to board. Yet another feature of this bus is a temperamental kneeler that must be operated a certain way. If operated like most buses, it will freeze up and not forgive you. Sure enough, that's what happened until one of our finest mechanics came over to assist and get us on our way.

No comments:

Post a Comment