For those of you who know me pretty well, my undying love for all things mass transit is no secret. There is something so beautiful about tens of thousands of people opting to ride together both to and from work. We inevitably spend a large amount of time with these random citizens daily, probably the third largest batch of time spent weekly with any group of people, behind perhaps only family and coworkers.
For those of who you know me really well, perhaps you heard that I once applied to be a King County Metro bus driver. It started as somewhat of a joke, but once I passed the application process and was being called for interviews, I unfortunately was unable to accept a position as my schedule at the time was not accommodating. I hold this as one of my largest regrets in life, as I can imagine nothing better than controlling the daily commute of hundreds of people. I would force singalongs on unsuspecting passengers, memorize the birthdays of my frequent flyers and have two-for-one specials on fares for “ladies’ days.”
I have to imagine I would quickly become the most knowledgeable driver in the fleet, and would be prepared to answer any question that arose regarding the destination of not only my bus, but every bus on the entire schedule. “Where does the 73 go from 3rd and Pike?” Child’s play… “Does this bus stop at 15th and Lake City?” HA! “Is the 255 running from the tunnel or street level today during the re-route?” You’ll have to do better than that if you plan on stumping me… (ok this might be a bit of a stretch).
But one thing I can’t stand, and would probably be the end of my career as a bus driver, are people who don’t follow a very simple set of rules, official or otherwise, that make everyone’s mass transit commute as enjoyable as possible. I have thought very long and hard about these (read: my evening commute tonight) and decided to write them down. So without further ado, five rules of riding the bus and other forms of mass public transit:
5) Keep Your Music to Yourself:
Nobody wants to hear whatever it is you’re listening to, and we certainly don’t want to hear YOU singing what you’re listening to…
…with one exception; perhaps if you’re working on your karaoke rendition of 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” you get a (bus) pass.
4) Keep Your Conversation to Yourself:
I can see the sense of entitlement dripping from your brow as you continue your phone conversation shamelessly as you enter the bus. What was once a quiet and peaceful commute is now a brutally open window into your personal life.
“She’s dating him??!” “He fired her?!” “They’re going to that place!?”
I can tell you’re the type of person who thinks you’re too good to be on the bus in the first place, so why don’t you save us all the trouble and drive into work so you can violate the carpool lane while talking on your phone without a hands free device. I will SO call 764-HERO on your ass and you will hopefully be served a very threatening warning via mail.
3) Don’t Take Up More Than One Seat:
I can appreciate someone who doesn’t want to talk to strangers for 30 minutes. I, myself, prefer to sit in silent contemplation, perhaps with my nose buried in a book or magazine with my headphones on to avoid any form of human communication for these few brief moments of my day.
But let’s be honest, with gas prices where they’re at (thanks a lot Obama, we all know you’ve got a secret pool of gasoline in your backyard), buses are getting more crowded. Therefore, during any given normal commuting time, all the seats will likely be needed. Take your bag off the one next to you and quit acting like it’s some great inconvenience to have to sit next to someone that probably doesn’t want to sit next to you either. Unless you’re on the King County Metro 358 — all bets are off when you ride that bus.
2) Don’t Talk to Me Unless You Are One of the Following:
- A war veteran
- A friend who I would not avoid if I saw you from a distance
- A crazy person with quality conspiracies about the government and/or corporations
- A famous celebrity or athlete
- A dog that can talk
I don’t want to be a complete ass, but unless you belong to one or several of the aforementioned demographics, I am not interested in what you have to say. I especially don’t want you looking at my phone and making a comment about whatever it is I am doing.
1) Treat the Bus Driver Like a Human Being:
It never fails to amaze me how terribly rude some people can be towards a person that, for several moments during the day, has complete control over your well-being and survival.
Day in and day out, it shocks me at how rude some people are to their drivers; completely ignoring them as they enter and exit without anything as simple as a “good morning/evening” as they get on or “thanks” as they depart. This person could easily just one day snap and drive your bus into a cave full of bears if they wanted…
Prevent the undesired driving of a bus into a cave full of bears — be nice to your bus driver.