Thursday, September 4, 2008

Metrobus Madness

As a general rule I am proud to be a native Washingtonian, one actually born and raised inside the city limits (as opposed to all the suburban Maryland and Virginia neighbors who claim DC as home to make things easier for others to place them.) I am also very proud of the fact that I have been riding the bus and Metro my entire life - since my parents never had a car, the bus has always been my friend.

I have long been a staunch defender of Metro and its drivers, even in the wake of 2007's rush of bus accidents, both minor and major. I firmly believe that if a large bus is barreling your way on a city street and you choose to thwart the rules of time and physics by strolling to a spot directly in the path of the bus and then stopping dead and the bus subsequently hits you despite the driver's best efforts to stop, Metro and the driver cannot be held entirely to blame. Obviously not all of last year's accidents can so simply be broken down, but still. It's a good rule of thumb not to take on a bus in a head-to-head competion. Unless you're a mack truck, the bus is probably going to win.

There are days, however, and yesterday was one of them, wherein I question my defense of Metro and its employees and in fact my own decision to continue using mass transit. I boarded the bus on my way to work, something I do most afternoons around 4pm. I greeted the driver, a woman who often drives my route and so knows my face, and took a seat near the front. I noticed another Metro employee standing near the driver and assumed her to be one of the inspectors who frequent different routes in a random pattern in order to assess the system's performance. As we drove down Connecticut Avenue the aforementioned Metro employee announced loudly that she was tired of trying to 'splain the outfit to her friend (my driver) and that she would just have to see it for herself. And out came the iPhone, buzzing away with pics of this obviously important ensemble. The two women then proceeded to scroll through the photos while commenting at varying degrees of volume on the absurdity of what they were seeing (I gathered from the conversation that it was a third friend's terrifying outfit that was providing so much amusement.) I'd like to point out at this juncture that it was the DRIVER who was holding the phone and doing most of the scrolling. To say that the bus began to weave noticeably along the lane markers would be an understatement - we were most certainly driving smack in the middle of the line. A passenger pulled the stop request cord and she jerked her head up, saw the stop passing us by and screeched to a halt while vaguely pulling the bus over towards the right, opening the doors and scrolling away.

All I can say is that I'm glad the weather was nice ... I took my chances with other errant drivers and walked the rest of the way to work.


plangal said...

I've had my fair share of metrobus incidents--though usually, it's the passengers, not the drivers! Scary!

Colleen said...

ah the joy of teh metrobus. I still tink the 30 lines are the scariest...