Monday, January 08, 2007

Adventures on the bus

There are parts of D.C. that are notorious for bad parking. My neighborhood is one of them, but at least we don't have the bands of roving drunks that are prevalent in Adams Morgan, a hip neighborhood that has cheap restaurants, partying college students, and lots of bars. Despite the abundance of restaurants, not a lot of them are any good, with the exception of Amsterdam Falafel, which isn't really a restaurant, and San Marco, which is scheduled to close soon, if it hasn't already. So, me being me, I don't really have a lot of reasons to go over to Adams Morgan, unless I'm invited to a party, which is why I was there the other night.

There's a bus stop a few blocks from my condo that takes me straight to the heart of Adams Morgan, and parking in Adams Morgan being what it is, I try to take it. However, like many bus lines in D.C., this particular bus line seems to have more than its fair share of eccentricities. I've had a strange experience every time I've ridden this particular bus line, and Saturday night was no exception.

Everything was going well when I first boarded the bus and paid my fare. Since my stop is actually at the beginning of the line, buses will idle at this stop for several minutes before actually leaving. The bus driver announced that we'll be leaving in 8 minutes. There were several people already on board, including a woman who asked me if I knew where a certain street was. I didn't, and neither did anyone else on the bus. It turns out an elderly woman was lost. She had been riding different buses for several hours hoping to find her way home. She lived in Hyattsville, MD, which is nowhere near where I live. The bus driver decided that there was no way she was going to take off with this woman on her bus, and more importantly, let this woman get off the bus, when it was very obvious she didn't know her way home. She decided to call her supervisor to come pick the woman up. A noble choice indeed, but now we were delayed. We waited 20 minutes; no supervisor, but another bus pulled up. We all got off the bus, but discovered that we had to wait another 15 minutes for that bus to leave. The elderly woman was fully prepared to board the 2nd bus, even though it had been explained to her that a supervisor was coming to pick her up. She had no idea that we were delayed because of her, she was just ready to go home.

I ended up taking a cab to my destination, and pretty much got ripped off by the taxi driver (thank you D.C. for failing to put meters in the taxis). If I had any confidence that the elderly woman knew her address, or that a taxi driver wouldn't try to rip her off, I would have offered to give her money for a cab ride home. I think the bus driver did the right thing, even though it turned a $1.35 ride for me into a $10 one.

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