29 November 2005


Remembered to look today - didn't bring my book so I could pay better attention to the ride. I think I've been on 4123 a lot lately - I know it was a take home bus the other night. Again with the 4100 class.

Freezing ass cold at the bus stop - must have been 40 degrees tops and light wind. Felt I was well dressed, but still had to do some hopping and foot shifting to keep the extremities warm. Only supposed to go up to 65 for a high today - mid 70s are coming tomorrow, though.

Lots of regular riders, hardly any new ones. Amazing how comfortable it gets. Different driver today - wonder what happened to my little pirate ... hope he gets another shot at route 66.

Even without book there was nothing remarkable to report about today's ride - smooth, uneventful - a lot more pleasant than driving.

22 November 2005


Geez, another lost number. I'm so focused on reading my book, I forget to look at the bus number. Layout was the same as all the 4100s, so I'm sure it's one of those. The other day I was at a meeting on the second floor of the Foundation Bldg and seated right next to the window. I could look down on College Street where all the buses come and go. To my surprise, the bus numbers are painted on top of the buses, just like the movie, "Speed". Can't imagine anyone hijacking a bus on good old route 66, but I guess anything is possible in this world. Nice to know we could be found if lost.

Today's ride was unusual only in that no one spoke to anyone else. Usually there is some chatter between a couple of riders, but today was complete silence. About half the regular riders were on it, but none that converse. A different driver - haven't seen my old counterfeit printer friend for a couple of weeks. My riding has been sporadic, but I should have seen him if he was still on the route. Wonder if they purposely rotate the drivers? Avoids complacency, but it's nice when there's someone who knows what's going on - the driver looks for the regulars and makes small exceptions. Maybe that's what the bus company wants to avoid. Too bad if it is.

18 November 2005

#I don't know

Sorry to disappoint, but I completely forgot to look at the bus number. I'm sure it was just one of the 4100 boys - nothing remarkable. I have a book I'm reading and have become a bit obsessive about getting to it ASAP on the bus. Really hampers my observations, but I must finish. Need to use a book while waiting for the bus and not so much while on the bus.

Last night's ride home was a blast. The bus was full and I was going to stand, but a kind person made space for me in the front seat - wedged between one of the morning regulars and a seriously large girl. The bus kept getting more passengers and a guy got on and hit me full in the face with his backpack. No big deal and he was very apologetic. Eventually, the regular rider to my left got off and the backpack guy sat down. He asked if I rode this bus often and I said every day, but not at this time. He laughed and said it looked like I wouldn't be riding it at 5pm in the near future. I said I would avoid if possible. Told him how nice and uncrowded the 6am bus was and the large girl to my right agreed and another man said the 5:30 am was even nicer, but it took him an hour to get to work. I said I worked at ASU and had a nice, short ride. Backpack guy asked if I was a professor and I told him I did web things and was a student. He seemed a wee bit surprised and I said I didn't go earlier in life and when the opportunity arose with the tuition waiver, I took it. Told him I was graduating in December and he was so nice. Kept saying, "that's cool" and "good for you". His enthusiasm made the whole thing worthwhile.

That's what's so nice about the bus - these small group interactions - might never see any of these people again, but we chatted like old friends for a few minutes and the trip and day and life were better for it.

16 November 2005


Doubt if this craft is new - one of these days I'll go through the archive and make a list of buses ridden so I'll know. Never thought I'd get this far. Today's ride had to be an all-time snooze. The only remarkable thing was me being the very first rider on the bus - a virgin-like experience that lasted until the next stop. Oh well, it never happened before, so it was unique. I brought my book along and read the whole way. The book is good and apparently nothing of attention-grabbing note occurred since I read without distraction until time to get off. It's dark for the whole ride, now, and that makes things outside the bus less distracting. Watched the moonrise on last night's ride home, but it had already set by this morning. No complaints, just makes for a boring blog entry.

15 November 2005


Uh oh, forgot to archive dive and see if this guy is new. The number is vaguely familiar, but aren't they all by now? Kind of a non-regular regular day. Regular driver - not there. Regular newspaper guy - not there. Regular backpack guy - not there. Other regulars - there. There was no heat on the bus - not sure if the driver was having hot flashes or the system was broken. Was really looking forward to the warmth of the bus after standing in the cool (well, cold since it's Arizona) morning air and there was no warmth. There actually was the ever-so-slight smell of rotten eggs. A bit like a sewer smells, but very faint. I couldn't connect it with anyone, just seemed to be part of the bus. Oh well, it's always something where my nose is concerned. Steve, the auto mechanic/USA Today guy had a nasty cough - made me wonder about the bus and flu season. I never think about these things usually, but the pandemic talk has me thinking about sneezing and coughing and closeness these days. Talk about a place prime to share germs - the only place worse is an airplane with it's closed air system. The bus at least gets some outside air passing through as the doors make frequent openings. Hate to drive, but wonder if it might not be prudent for the next few months ...?

08 November 2005


Holey moley - what a bus ride!!! This day surpassed anything that has gone before. Not even sure I can relate everything that went on - oh well, best shot. First, this is a repeater - last seen on September 29, 2005 - had to do an extensive archive dive for that info.

The bus was later than usual - I saw it coming and thought it was going way too fast to stop - it went by me and then screeched to a halt about 10 feet past the stop. As it flashed by I saw the number 108 on the sign (huh???) but saw a regular in the back seat so raced down to the door and jumped on. Not the regular driver (no surprise) but a woman who apologized - said she didn't see me for the glare (like my white hair doesn't glare in the headlights?). No big deal and I grabbed my usual seat, ready for a calm ride to school. The driver continued with the bat-out-of-hell driving and slid past two other riders at two other stops. She saw them, but just barely. Both are regular passengers and both made laughing comments about the "near misses". I noticed that there were no new faces. Every one who boarded was someone who I've seen regularly before. There is always, always, always someone new and it was starting to get freaky as everyone was familiar to everyone else. The driver calmed down a bit and, except for the lack of new faces, the ride took on the flavor of "usual", that is until we got to the Tempe High School stop - release the hounds!!!

A couple got on the bus with their luggage - each had two huge suitcases plus a "carry-on" - took forever for them to get on the bus and situated in seats. After they loaded, two more people got on, a woman and a man. The driver, in the loudest, meanest, most hateful bitchy voice ever yells to the woman, "Hello - I NEED TO SEE IT!", referring to the woman's transfer slip. It was the most unprovoked, hate-filled voice and attitude I have ever heard. Near as I could see, the woman did nothing to be treated so rudely and my (and that of several other passengers') jaw went down. What the ....? Now, earlier on, it became apparent that the cords on the bus were not activating the stop message. It had worked out because people were getting on at all the stops where people wanted off. However, the woman who had just been yelled at wanted off the bus and pulled like a maniac on the cord. It didn't work and, of course, the driver didn't stop. The woman walked forward to the front next to the driver and said something in Spanish - trying, I believe, to convey that she needed to get off the bus. The driver yelled at her again and made angry motions for her to get behind the yellow line. It was crazy and the woman retreated to the back of the bus. My stop was next and before I could do anything, the engineer guy yelled from the way back seat - "Next stop, please." We were at the light at Apache and Mill and I wasn't sure she heard him, so I stood up and said, "Next bus stop, please." I moved forward and the driver calmly stopped the bus at the stop. I said thank you as I got off and she was as nice and pleasant as could be. Note, the woman who wanted off the previous stop did not get off.

Once off, a guy who gets off there, too, when he rides, looked at me and I looked at him and he said, "What was that about?" I had to laugh as it was so nice to know I wasn't alone thinking this was one crazy lady driving that bus. I commented to that effect and he said, "You know, some people just hate Hispanics, maybe that was the problem." I couldn't disagree because there was no other explanation.

This took lost in translation to a new level and added several new dimensions of weirdness. The driver was a fairly young African American woman and I was totally unprepared for her meanness to the Hispanic lady. I don't know if ethnicities came into play here, but would not have expected discriminatory behavior in this instance. Whatever caused the rift, it was a ride to remember.

03 November 2005


This might be a new bus. I see 4132 and 4134, but not the 33. Whatever, it looked like all the other 4100 series. Wonder if there are 4100 of them? Took some sewing on today to see if it increased the ride speed. Didn't feel it was as fast as the other day, so dodging furniture dolly man's questions must have been the real secret to a fast ride. Not sure I want to repeat that, though. Today's ride had lots of new people and lots of conversations. Especially interesting since I could keep my eyes on my work and listen extra hard. Had a substitute driver who knew a passenger and they chatted up a storm the whole way. The back of the bus was in full discussion - flu guy even moved from his usual corner seat and got up in the high back area. Lots of sports talk again until engineer guy got on - he actually used the word "capacitor" today - amazing. Ride had a very "hubbub" feel about it, but energizing, not exhausting. Glad, too, since I woke up at 2:45 am and never went back to sleep. Gonna be a long, long afternoon.

02 November 2005


I know this is a repeat bus. Almost all the 4100 class buses look the same - difference just seems to be amount of wear and tear to the individual craft. I think the 66 route has a ridership that's not too hard on the vehicles. I've ridden some on the 81 that are seriously worn down - flattened seats, no padding, lots of general scuffing. The 66 buses never seem to have the abused quality that I've found on some of the 81s. The 66 just caters to a kinder, gentler ridership.

Today's kind and gentle ride was just that - uneventful and polite. Many regulars and a whole slew of new riders. Wish I was a bus researcher and could ask lots of pertinent questions. There are so many stories behind the stories - be nice to get into a few of them.

Noticed everyone is wearing coats in the morning - gonna be 90 degrees this afternoon, but it was cold at the bus stop. Must have been around 50 and that's freezing to acclimatized Arizona blood. Half the stuff I carry is clothing - overalls for painting class, light shoes for heat, coat for coolness, long sleeve shirt for over-the-top air conditioning. It's difficult staying comfortable in Az even when it's the nice time of year. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- they can get people to the moon and back, but have no idea how to regulate an HVAC system. Our brightest and best aren't working on basic life comforts, apparently.

Not much of a bus blog, today - not much of a bus ride.