I love taking the bus. It’s cheap, gets you to places and “car”-pooling is generally better for our environment. I’ve taken the bus in cities such as Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Paris, Honolulu, Montego Bay, West Haven and other places. Bus rides always promise an adventure whether it’s about fellow riders or the driver himself. But that’s just half the quest, which begins, at the bus stop.
I found out that Brazil has the most bus riders with an astonishing 85% of its citizens using it daily. Last summer a revolutionary act broke out in the country due to an increase of fares in addition to issues that arose from building the World Cup Stadium there.
Los Angeles ranked second in best public transit systems in the U.S. and I understand why. Schedules were printed at every bus stop, they were on time and there were many stops in general. It was easy to use and utterly convenient. Hawaii was also ranked in the Top 10 for probably the same reasons PLUS the app that was convenient in searching for what bus to use.
As mundane as it sounds, bus stops are full of life. It’s where the homeless find shelter at night, regulars cross paths during rush hour and people share frustrations about the reliability and timeliness of the public transit system. I would like to share some stories about making use of the public transit and its stops.
The Fun story:
While waiting at a large bus stop in Montego Bay (Jamaica), my friend and I sat down in the more van-resembling vehicle. Soon we realized that all eyes were on us as we were the only "white" ones in it. Through the windows, salesman offered pineapples, nuts, newspapers and water to us first, knowing that we're obviously tourists. I got a paper, but he didn't have any change. In fear of the bus leaving soon, he ran across the area to make the approximately $1 exchange. That became the topic of conversation with other passengers.
The Educational story:
A Korean veteran, who seemed to be severely affected by the war, stood at the stop in West Haven, CT (U.S.A.). We talked to about Kim Jong-Un’s threat to set off a nuclear bomb. He confidently claimed that he won’t pull through and that he’s only doing it for the attention. The 10-minute prediction turned out to be true.
The awkward story:
While riding a busy bus in Nice (France), the driver made an abrupt stop causing all the coins I had to drop on the floor. I literally unintentionally made it rain. But effortlessly it gets worse. I wore a skirt and tried to reach down as elegantly as possible, but the great driver started moving again. Then I fell. And yes, everyone saw.
The Painful story:
Yesterday I was walking towards the bus stop right by school in West Haven, CT (U.S.A.). I was relieved to see the B7 approach, and increased my pace. The bus stops and I worry he won’t see me, so I start running and extinguishing my cigarette at the same time. Not a great combination. I was so close to jumping on bus, yet managed to fall on the ground right in front of it. I got up, pretended nothing happened and sat down. Needless to say, I didn’t make any eye contact with the rest of the passengers for the rest of the ride. At least I have some cuts as souvenir.
The Red Flag story:
During an evening bus ride in New Haven, CT (U.S.A.), there’s always that one person who manages to make her phone call clear to all passengers. The lady was yelling out her divorce story, assumingly at her soon-to-be ex-husband. Threats about taking away the kids and putting him into prison -“where he belongs”- were made. I bet I wasn’t the only one who was concerned, but the bus certainly wasn’t the right place to talk about it.
The Please-Shut-Up story:
In Istanbul (Turkey), as my aunt and I tried to get back home from an exhausting night, we encountered a woman who picked up her phone two minutes after entering the bus. She was on the phone for an entire 25 minutes. She irritated the entire passenger crew uncomfortably by discussing her issues about her colleague.
Everyone has crazy bus stories, what’s yours?