Getting to Georgetown

Riding the #128 bus toward Tukwila, a middle-aged Asian man got out of his seat and asked the driver while we were rolling, "Where's the stop for Georgetown?"

I've been riding the buses in Seattle long enough to know my way around, at least on the south side of the city, so I knew instantly, that man was on the wrong bus. The #128 doesn't go to Georgetown, but in my mind I quickly ran through the options for getting him there.

In a few miles the #128 would turn south on Tukwila International Blvd, and that's where I'd be getting off, to go to the library. The #124 runs on the same road, and goes to Georgetown and beyond. This guy should get off the bus when I get off, then cross the street, and take a northbound #124.

The driver told him to transfer to a #132 in a few blocks, and the passenger sat down, thinking his problem was solved, but I was confused. Again I consulted my mental map of Metro — it's in my head, not on a smartphone or on paper — but the #132 doesn't go to Georgetown.

The bus driver was mistaken, and very soon, this guy would be dinging the bell and getting off, to catch the wrong bus. Should I give a damn?

I thought it over, decided to be a good guy just this once, so I said to him, "Hey, the #132 doesn't go to Georgetown. You want a #124."

This gent looked at me, and frowned and said, "The driver told me to take a #132." He said it like my advice was stupid and unwanted, which makes sense. You gotta trust directions from the bus driver, more than from some random guy riding the bus. This time, though, the driver was wrong.

"The driver's wrong," I said and shrugged.

If the driver heard us, he didn't say anything. Maybe he's a fill-in driver. Maybe he's a rookie. Maybe, like lots of bus drivers, he drives his car to work, and only knows the route he's driving. Metro has hundreds of routes, and probably nobody knows all of them.

Me, I only know the routes I ride, mostly on the city's south and west sides, but I know that the #124 would take that guy to Georgetown, and the #132 wouldn't. Well, unless he's savvy enough to get off the #132 in South Park and transfer to a northbound #60, but that guy was not oozing bus savvy.

I'd done my good deed by speaking up, though. I wasn't gonna argue with him, just to try to get him where he wanted to be. He rang the bell where the driver had told him to, and I shook my head no — your last chance, mister — but he got off the bus, and then stood in the bus shelter as the bus rolled away.

That was another mistake. If he was even hoping to go toward Georgetown he should've crossed the street to catch a northbound #132. Where he was standing, he was waiting for a southbound #132, a bus that would take him even farther from his destination.


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  1. You are a hero for trying to help that man. I don't know anything about the bus and streetcars in Seattle, but I ride in San Francisco and it's easy to make a mistake esp if you're new.

    1. Ha, no -- a "hero" would've said something to the driver, instead of just shaking my head.


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