Yuppie rides the buses again

I now spend more time than ever on the bus versus the metro.  At my new office, I can get the 42 bus from it’s start all the way to two blocks from my house.  It’s slightly slower than metro+bus or metro+walk, but convenient when it’s cold and wet and I just want to sit down.

But, it makes me realize more and more how ill-equipped the bus is to attract more middle class professionals.  It’s not just the class diversity, which might put you next to someone who is drunk or high and you fear might vomit on you.  It’s the bus drivers.

I was on my way to a business lunch the other day and realized it was faster to hop on the bus that was pulling up than take the metro across town.  There were only three of us on the bus, including the driver.  I pulled out my briefing to do a bit more prep, but couldn’t concentrate because the bus driver was conducting a LOUD conversation with the other passenger.

One woman driver who I see regularly is a nutty and aggressive driver.  She hits the gas and then breaks every few seconds and yells at the traffic.   Frequently, the drivers want people to exit at the front door, most likely for some traffic safety reason, but they never explain why.  And then bark at the passengers like they are doing something wrong.

I imagine the bus drivers are highly stressed and feel besieged by the traffic, the passengers, and their bosses.  But a little customer service would go a long way.  Sometimes, I avoid taking the bus simply because I don’t want to deal with the hassle.  Over on metro, everyone stands and sits in wonderful silence.

5 responses to “Yuppie rides the buses again”

  1. lane says:

    god, our transportation issues are depressing.

    as if the death of high speed rail were not enough!… now this!

    : – )

    I’m sure Swiss buses kick ass in customer service and cozy seating.

    happy eleven eleven eleven!

  2. PB says:

    Stella, sorry about the scheduling mix up (hopefully I pulled and rescheduled before you saw).

    I was having this same thought about TSA people last night. One of the women was so loud and rude and I kept thinking, in my world this would complete unaccetable. And yet in this public employee universe it is weirdly OK and I am held hostage by unprofessionalism.

  3. Stella says:

    Btw, I know I’m a horrible snob who will be stripped of all privilege in the next life…but we need everyone to ride the bus, so I’m very concerned about how we make that happen.

    PB – saw nothing.

  4. Stella says:

    Lane – I’m sure you are right…and I would die of boredom in Switzerland. Thank god we are now entering the age of Aquarius.

  5. I already ride the bus–I’m a believer, whether I like it or not.

    I’ve seen bus drivers make frequent eye contact with whoever they’re having a conversation with– some of them think they have the route memorized and that they can concentrate on traffic and people waiting for the bus with only their peripheral. My only consolation is that, if we get into an accident, the bus will always win unless it’s against a semi or a train. The other vehicle will crunch and the bus will barely be dented. Even a semi can be sighted through the corner of a bus driver’s eye.