Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Where The Buses Are Always On Time

I'm sure I've mentioned more than a few times that I take the bus to work. I take an early bus so that it gives me a lot of time to get into work and get settled at my desk. The bus which comes right after mine is full of school kids (noisy lot, that) and gets into downtown at about the time I'm supposed to be at work. The chance that I'd be late on any given day is very high so by taking the earlier bus I'm ensured of being on time. 

Nashville buses, for the most part, run on time. In other cities, this may or may not be so. You hear about 'getting the buses to run on time' as a reason for electing someone to office, but let's face it, buses have myriad reasons for being late. I doubt the mayor or governor could mandate less traffic or fewer idiots clogging up our streets anyway. 

My early bus is rarely late. Oh we get the occasional traffic snarl, bad weather and people who refuse to get their money out until they are actually standing in front of the driver, suddenly fumbling with their wallet or purse trying to pull together a few quarters and a wadded up bill or two - but again, these delays are the exceptions rather than the rule. 

Which brings me to a little annoyance that comes with buses running on time. It's hard to say 'pet peeve' over some thing like this, but annoyance is about right. Y'see, we can be headed down the road, making all the lights and me ready for the workday with a song in my heart (ok, so maybe I'm just dreaming of that first cup of coffee) when all of a sudden, the bus will pull over. 

And.  Stop. 

No bus stop here. No people climbing aboard. We just pull to the curb and stop. The engine idles and maybe a couple of riders will get off and smoke a cigarette (no smoking on the bus - thank you very much!) But a nicotine fit is not the reason we stopped. We stopped because the bus is actually running AHEAD of schedule and in order to keep the buses from missing people, or arriving at the big bus station downtown at the wrong time (read: early,) we pull over and watch the clock for a few minutes. 

For people who are anxious to get to work, pulling over may be more than an irritant. The first time it happened, I thought the bus had broken down. I imagined my extra time to have coffee, browse the Internet or snooze on my keyboard to be evaporating like the mist off the predawn streets. Then the bus driver announced to the grumbling hoard that he was "performing a stop-adjust for time arrival." (Took me a minute but I figured it out...ok, so it took me asking someone else.) Sometimes we will sit for 3-5 minutes, sometimes only a minute or two. And then the bus pulls out and we are off again, arriving at the drop off points within seconds of the posted schedule. 

And each time this happens, I get to work on time (read: early) and ready for work (read: coffee) or snoozing on the keyboard (read: snoozing on the keyboard.) I'm sure at times that this only happens in the South (in Nashville, to be exact) where the mists rise off the streets in the pre-dawn light while the buses run on time more often than not. 

Admit it, you wish you lived here. 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. I am certain that there is an analogy there that I can glean for myself in my own set of circumstances. I move 100 mph through my day - and have realized that stopping for a few moments for a cup of tea won't really make me late for a thing. Thanks for writing. I've never lived in the south!