Sunday, March 16, 2014

Racing the Bus

Chase a bus and you might catch a car, says the public service poster near the ceiling of the bus. I have only once had the opportunity to chase the bus (and I say opportunity, because really it is a rare moment that you're late enough to miss the bus but still early enough that it's within chasing distance). I felt pretty awkward, making it stop in the middle of an intersection for me, so from then on, I've made a point of leaving a little bit early. Because I'm usually early for the bus, I have time to play a little game.

I don't chase the bus; I race the bus.

Whenever I get to my stop, I check NextBus to see when I can expect the bus to arrive. If it says more than 4 minutes, I usually just keep walking. The next bus stop is only .2 miles away (I mapped it) and I figure I can kill some time and get in a bit of exercise with that extra walk.

It's kind of fun, and a little suspenseful, to see whether I can get to the next stop before the bus does. Sometimes it's been very close; I've actually overtaken the bus as it waits at a traffic light.

Only once have I walked to the stop beyond the second one. It's .3 miles farther down the road—not a significant difference by most calculations, but it does take 150 times as long to walk, which can mean a lot when you're on foot and racing a motorized vehicle. The one time I did walk to the farther stop, I had a disturbing experience with a very sick drunk, which has made me kind of afraid to ever risk waiting at that stop again.

Scary people aside, racing the bus is a pleasant diversion compared to standing in the cold dying of boredom. I recommend it to anyone who commutes regularly by bus.


Jackie said...

Next Bus....that is something I had never thought of...but then, I really don't ride the bus much...and not sure there is a 'Next Bus' for Toledo. It would come in handy in large cities though...and I like the idea of racing the bus. I learn a lot from your blog posts!