Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bus driver throws hissy fit? But I still got to work

This morning was the kind of morning that you wonder what else could possibly happen. A couple of days a week, it is my turn to drop my daughter off at the bus stop. This morning, apparently, the bus driver got into an argument with a couple of parents, and she decided to throw what I can only describe as a hissy fit and actually drove off leaving about 20 kids or so stranded for the morning. No explanation as far as I can tell; she just drove off. Needless to say, I had to then drive and take my daughter to school myself. I don't mind that part as much, but I did mind the fact it created an inconvenience for me. You see, I take the commuter Metro bus to downtown, and the extra time to take my daughter in to school meant I missed my own bus. While my workplace knows that on the days I drop off my daughter I will come in a little later, I don't think the extra half hour or so was what they had in mind. So, to the driver of bus 784 for the CyFair ISD, thanks a lot for making our mornings that much harder.

I should clarify that I do have some sympathy for the driver; I believe that often there are two sides to a story. I have observed countless times when a couple of parents, who are not exactly paragons of good behavior, go up to the driver as the kids are boarding to either yell at their kids for not behaving or at the driver for trying to get their brats to actually sit down so the bus can move. You see, the driver won't drive on until all the kids are safely seated. Some safety thing I am sure. These are the type of kids that you take a look at them, then at their parents, and you know exactly why the kids are brats. So, dear driver, I certainly have some sympathy as I guess that you simply figured you weren't taking any more crap from those mofos. To be honest, had it been me, I might have done the same thing (or better yet, run those parents over). A pity though that you had to make your stand at the expense of the rest of us who are simply innocent bystanders. My bet is a couple of those mofo parents went to the school to complain, but they probably left out their role in the process. At any rate, odds are good we are getting a new driver tomorrow.

However, the day was not a total loss. I managed to drop my public library and drop some books off in their book drop. As I was driving towards the Park-and-Ride, for a brief time there was this lady in a red Geo Tracker laughing her head off. I don't know what she was reading on her paper, and I hope she was talking to someone on one of those hands-free cellphones (otherwise it would look like she was talking to herself and thus not as sane), but whatever it was seemed funny enough it made me smile to see her laughing so. I guess laughter can be contagious.

Now, I got to my Park-and-Ride late, and it looked like I would have to wait anywhere from a half an hour to an hour for the next bus. After the rush hours, they cut down to about an hour. However, a very nice lady heading downtown gave me a ride. Actually, there is a little carpool system going on that I have seen but never paid much attention to until this morning. So, for the benefit of those who may have the same questions I had, allow me to explain.

Here in Houston, there is an HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane system on some major highways, which allow commuters to take those special lanes during rush hours. What some people do is they pick up riders so they can share the ride and meet the minimum number of riders in a car (at least 2 where I go from, but it can be up to 3 depending on location and time). When I take my bus in the morning, there is a line labeled "Carpool" and people standing in it. Cars pull up, and people get in, getting a ride downtown. I never gave it a try. For one, I figured you needed a healthy degree of faith to get into a stranger's car, not to mention they had to have the same faith, or more, you were not a carjacker or worse. Two, I wondered how they would agree in terms of where downtown the riders would get dropped off. For me, I can pretty much drop anywhere as soon as one gets off the HOV since the campus is not far from that area, and I can always take the light rail as well. The process can work in reverse in the afternoons as some drivers will pick up passengers at bus stops to ride back to the Park-and-Ride (assuming of course, the driver is headed to that area).

Since I was running late this morning, and this lady was looking for a rider, we both got lucky. We were both running late, and we were both coming in at a time out of the ordinary for us. Her tale of why she was late was certainly more amusing than mine. As she drove, she then told me some of the information I outlined above, which put helped me make better sense of how the carpool process worked. This only works during the rush times. This morning was the tail end of it, she had come to the Park-and-Ride hoping someone else was late too, and she found me. I was more than happy to help out. She did mention she often gets passengers in the mornings, but since she works long hours, does not do so in the evenings since it would be too late. Coming out of town may be more interesting, since people can be a bit more wary over passengers. She explained that, for instance, some women may choose to only ride if the driver is a woman as well. In this day and age, I can certainly understand that. However in her case, by then, traffic going back out of town is not too bad. So, to the nice lady who gave me a ride to work this morning, thank you, and I hope you enjoy your office holiday party.


Anonymous said...

Cy-Fair has one of its librarians resigning from their location on Jones Rd (she is moving to another state) which leads me to believe they will have an opening for next semester. Just in case you want to consider abandoning that long commute every day....

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Anon. at 4:40p: Jones Road would certainly beat that long commute for me. True, traffic along Highway 6, where the trek starts can be a pain at times, but certainly would be beat the commute. Thanks for the tip. Best, and keep on blogging.