Tuesday 23 April 2013

The Seniors Discount

Almost every time I drive, I will invariably see someone either waiting for or running for a bus. I will always send a thank you to the heavens that I am able to drive and don’t often need to take public transport.

I don’t mind taking the bus and LRT, but in my life there just isn’t a need. Where ever I go is either close so I can walk or far off the bus lines which make it difficult to take transit. When I worked downtown it was more or less necessary to take the C-train because parking is pretty expensive and the traffic was intolerable. I guess that you can get used to anything and if I needed to take the public transit I would.

When I was growing up there was really no other option for me if I wanted to go anywhere. It was either walk or transit. I was lucky enough to grow up in Toronto and the TTC was very good. The buses ran quite frequently and the subways would run on schedule. I knew what the schedules were back then, but I have long since forgotten and since I am thousands of kilometres away from Toronto, the information wouldn’t do me much good anyways.
Today I drove past a group of people waiting for the bus and the bus was almost there. Of course two people were half way down the block waving their arms like flags in a wind storm. Why is it always the ones that are the saddest cases who miss the bus?
There was a time when it was hard to know when the bus was coming exactly, due to traffic and different times on the “official” transit clock and my home clock, so you would make sure you were early to the bus stop. That is what the big group from today had done, but the other two morons chose to dawdle and ended up running for the bus. There is really no excuse to miss a bus these days. There is a phone number to call for every stop and when you call, the recorded message tells you how many minutes it will be before the next bus. I read recently that some or all of the buses have GPS and there is an app for the smart phone so that you can watch the bus coming. Cool!
Why back in my day we had to walk through snow up to our waist over broken glass just to catch the bus. And that was in the summer! We knew that the bus would come every twenty minutes, so the longest you would have to wait would be about fifteen if you didn’t see the bus leave. Sometimes we would get impatient and there were ways that encouraged the bus to come along sooner. For instance, if you decided to walk to the next stop, the bus would come when you were half way between them so there was no way to catch the bus at all. My particularly favourite way to get a bus to come was to light a cigarette. I am pretty cheap, and have always been, so when I lit a cigarette, the bus would come just when my smoke was too large to throw away and too small to keep. It would depend on how much cigarette money I had as to whether I would let the bus pass by or toss the smoke.

I suspect that some transit drivers get a kind of sick pleasure from watching people run to catch the bus and then leaving as they come close. They never get reprimanded for this because they can always claim that they had to keep to the schedule. Some of these mean bastards also play human pinball by taking off while people are still making their way down the aisle.

This really doesn’t affect me anymore, but I suppose in twenty or so years I will have to forgo driving and revert back to the transit system. I hope that by then we will have flying buses that will not only take you downtown, but perhaps they will take you to the Moon, Mars and Io. The best part is that I will get the seniors discount!

1 comment:

  1. Vending Machine Guy24 April 2013 at 21:27

    Personally, I think that public transit is great if you aren't in any hurry. I kind of like going downtown on the bus and subway, especially if accompanied by the little people. I never really minded public transit, unless it was really crowded on a hot day. But I know what you mean about human pinball... I can't believe the quick stops and starts I see buses make nowadays. Must be rough being inside and trying to hold on.