28 January 2010

61 something or other

last night's ride home on the 72 displayed the best and worst in human behavior. I sat at the end of a 4-person seat, soon joined by a young woman, followed by a man whose ample gluteal area consumed 2 seats. A few stops later, an older woman got on the bus and, with no place to sit, she grabbed an overhead strap and stood in front of our seat. I could see her holding her purse and her hand shook, somewhat like a Parkinson's tremor. No sooner did I notice her affliction than the young woman next to me stood up and told the older woman to take her seat. A kind, generous act - I feel comforted when I see this behavior in younger people - like unearthing buried treasure - civility found!

The worst behavior occurred a bit later when a young man boarded and used a reduced-fare card without an ID. The driver asked for the ID and the young man responded in a menacing tone that he "don't got to show you no ID, you just drive the bus". The driver pursued the issue, saying bus policy required proper ID with reduced-fare cards and the young man walked away from the driver, saying, "school told me I don't got to show you nothin' so you just drive the bus". The driver told him to read the back of the fare card (ha!) and the next time he rode the bus, be prepared to show ID. The young man said, "you just drive the bus, you ain't in charge of no policy, you just drive the bus." Each statement from this man/child contained threat and menace and the bus became extremely quiet during the confrontation. The youth sat down, in the front near the driver, and kept repeating, "you just drive the bus." The bus continued and the driver didn't say any more. Suddenly, the young man got out his cell phone and I could hear him say, "customer service" - I knew he had called the bus company and planned to complain. He remained on hold for awhile and just as he began to speak to someone, his stop arrived and he got off the bus.

During the whole ride, the driver checked ID for every reduced-fare rider. He didn't single this kid out -- he just did his job. Clearly, this kid wanted to put on his best urban tough street gangster style and he really only looked ridiculous. Like a mudslide, this kid's behavior buried the civility that earlier graced the ride.

22 January 2010

Riding the combo

Yesterday, my umbrella exploded and died -- most likely dry rot. The significance of this to a bus blog, you ask? The lack of umbrella and the constant rain required me to evaluate my transportation options. Taking the 81/light rail combo enabled me to cover less distance to the bus stop while passing by my neighborhood Walgreen's where I could stop in and secure a new umbrella - ha! Walgreen's, as I feared, was completely sold out. Oh well, nice idea.

I enjoyed the 81/light rail for a change. I don't get as much exercise, but the dash for the train from the bus adds an exhilaration that almost makes up for the lack of distance walked. A disabled woman on a scooter boarded the 81 and from her conversation with another woman, I gleaned that she worked downtown, transferring, too, to the light rail. A rain slicker covered her pretty well and I admire her perseverance getting around in this miserable weather. Need someone to invent a convertible top for electric wheelchairs - be good for rain or, in Arizona, excessive sunshine.

21 January 2010

she's back

Yes, it is mfebber, returned to the bus blog. Over the last 6 months I had to move my mother to a retirement community and then to a dementia care facility. The dementia thing is an ongoing communication gap - figuring out reality from delusion, hallucination and beyond. It created havoc in all aspects of mother's life as well as mine and left me not wanting to do much of anything - including post to a bus blog. Things have settled down somewhat and my interest in life and things non-dementia are returning. Hope to start posting regularly again.

No on-board bus news today since an early dentist appointment put me behind the transportation power curve and I drove to dentist then work. However, the demise of the 66 bus route constitutes the biggest bus blog news of the year. Blame it on hard economic times and low ridership on the 66. The 66 route always ran on streets also serviced by other routes, a redundancy that never quite made sense. With the recent change, the 72 remains the only bus traveling on Rural, the 92 the only bus on Guadalupe and the 65 the only bus on Mill. Losing the 66 reduced my really convenient bus options somewhat; however, I find the one-mile walk to the 72 stop at Rural and Guadalupe to be a stress-relieving, waist-trimming benefit. Come the high heat days of summer, I might resort to the 81/light rail combo, but for now the walk to the 72 works for me.

Rain is our new best friend in the Valley of the [I-can't-see-the...]Sun - supposed to have 24-36 hours straight rain! Quite a phenom for the area - over a year's worth of precipitation might fall in one week. Makes for a damp wait at the bus stop, but offers high hope for beautiful desert flowering come spring time.

Welcome back, mfebber!