An apology, and several complaints

or, How to drive a bus (part 3)
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5 
Part 6     Part 7     Part 8     Part 9     Part 10
 Part 11     Part 12     Part 13     Part 14     Part 15

August 5, 2022

I've been sitting through bus driver classes all week. Monday and Tuesday was very slow and boring, and I thought I could ace everything. Wednesday and Thursday, though, were hurricanes of information and acronyms, with lots of "seven things to do in this very-likely situation" lists, presented just as quickly as the list of eleven things to do in a very unlikely situation.

Our big test is today. Student drivers who pass will get two weeks of hand-on training inside and around the buses. I've found the class occasionally confusing, and there's a chance I could fail the test today.

The teacher urged us to take the books home yesterday and study, but Doug doesn't do unpaid homework, and that's an absolute.

Friday's test-flunkers will have one last chance to take the same test on Monday, and I figure, even if I fail the test the first time, if you tell me what I got wrong, I'll probably pass it the second time. So that's my strategy.

And if I fail both times, well, I was out of work when I found this job.

In my rant a few weeks ago about slow bus drivers, I wrote this:

Slow bus drivers are often allergic to yellow lights, so that driver slowed the bus a bit more when approaching green lights, for fear the light might turn yellow.  

Sorry, I was wrong to complain about that.

In the class, we're taught that slowing down for green lights is what you're supposed to do, when driving a bus. It's about safety and passenger comfort — safety, because you don't want the big long bus to be stuck in the intersection, and passenger comfort, because you don't want to slam on the brakes and jostle everyone.

When approaching a green light, best driver practice is to take your foot off the accelerator and hold it over the brake. The bus slows a little, but if the light changes to yellow you're prepared to ease the bus to a smooth stop.

So, oops.

And something else — as a passenger, it often seems like we're waiting at a red light even after it turns green, and that's something else I've muttered about, but guess what? That's policy, too.

We're supposed to wait three seconds after the light turns green before accelerating. It's an extra layer of safety, in case a pedestrian is still crossing the street, or a vehicle on the cross street tries running the yellow or red.

And now I'm wondering... of the millions of things I'm always complaining about, how many are like that — things that would make sense if only I knew jack crap.

Next: No bus to the bus barn
or, How to drive a bus (part 4)

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5
Part 6     Part 7     Part 8     Part 9     Part 10
 Part 11     Part 12     Part 13     Part 14     Part 15

I have another complaint, though:

There's a local (I think) chain of espresso huts called Bikini Barista, and they're only little wooden shacks, probably with no air conditioning. It was a hot day so the shack's door was open as I was walking past, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Boobies inside the shack, but no bikini.

The woman inside was wearing a yellow one-piece swimsuit, but the name of the place is Bikini Barista, and a one-piece is not a bikini. If I was buying an espresso there, I wouldn't be buying it for the espresso, and I'd feel cheated.

My next complaint is long and complicated, sorry:

The #120 is one of Metro's busiest bus routes, so it's getting promoted to the transit system's top tier as a "RapidRide" route, bus rapid transit (BRT). When the #120 goes RapidRide in a few months, it'll be on the same streets but running more often and making fewer stops, with a new RapidRide designation (it'll be #H instead of #120), and with snazzy new RapidRide bus stops.

Unlike normal bus stops (just a 'bus stop' sign with maybe a bench or, if you're lucky, a shelter), a RapidRide stop is much bigger, all with benches and shelters, and bright red so they visually 'pop out' at passengers to announce that a fast bus stops here.

As part of rejiggering the #120 into the RapidRide #H, the old bus stops gotta go, and nifty new RapidRide stops need to be built. It's work that's been underway for several months now. For every new RapidRide stop, a bus-length patch of the street is dug up, and the asphalt is replaced with reinforced concrete to handle the heavier buses with more passengers.

There's no coordination on these tasks, though. The team that digs holes in the road leaves those holes, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, before the team that pours the concrete moseys along. So the length of a busy road like Ambaum Boulevard, two lanes in each direction, has been reduced to one lane in each direction, for at least five months now — since before I moved to Seattle. It slows all the traffic, including the bus, and it's just stupid. Why the long wait between digging the hole and filling the hole?

On the sidewalk side of the new RapidRide shelters, most are now mostly completed, so they look like bus stops, but they're not open for passengers yet. At a typical intersection, the old and new stops aren't at the same location, so there's an old-style bus stop (just the sign), and perhaps a block away there's a new RapidRide stop that looks like it's open, but it's not.

Many times I've seen would-be passengers waiting at the new RapidRide shelters, as the bus whizzes right past them. Instead it stops at the old stop a block away, but only if there's someone waiting there or someone getting off. If not, it doesn't stop at all. Either way, if you were standing at the new RapidRide shelter, you're screwed and stranded.

Either the new stops should be clearly marked as 'closed', or the old stops should be dismantled, or the drivers should treat both sets of bus stops as bus stops.

I sent a shorter, nicer version of the above to Metro's comment line two weeks ago. There's been no response, and both problems are still problems, and I doubt there's anything I don't know that would suddenly make it smart to drive past passengers and leave them stranded at the bus stop.

One more complaint, and I'll be done complaining for today:

We have creepy crawling larvae in the kitchen at my rooming house. Every morning, I see a dozen of them crawling across the kitchen floor. Haven't ascertained where they're coming from, or what species they're gonna be when the mature into icky bugs, but whatever they are they're unwelcome. I keep killing all of them, every morning, but the next morning, there are more larvae.

I mentioned it to my flatmates Robert and Dean, and Robert's grossed out, says he'll buy a can of Raid. Dean, who's worked in upscale professional kitchens for 40 years, and whose cooking is endlessly complimented, or so he says, literally shrugged" Bugs in the kitchen is a landlord problem," he said, and he's not worried about it.

And now, the news you need, whether you know it or now…

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AT&T gets yet another pathetic wrist slap after making millions from shitty fees 

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An underground mall from the 1890s 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
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The End
Taurean Blacque
Michael Henderson
Archie Roach
Vin Scully
David Trimble
Albert Woodfox

Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...

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