"Oooh, fresh bagels!"

When the bus, any bus, is approaching a transit center, the driver pushes a button to change its sign, so it no longer announces what route it was. It's the end of the line, after all, and the driver is going to take a break before driving the bus on its next route, so changing the sign to read TERMINAL makes sense.



& links

Dec. 13, 2022

The word TERMINAL seems like a poor choice, though. Sounds like the bus to the cemetery. When I lived in Wisconsin, they'd change the sign to OUT OF SERVICE, which seems more readily understandable.

Anyway, when the driver's break is over and they're ready to drive the next run, they change the sign, of course. Unless they forget.

This driver forgot, so she pulled up to the loading bay, opened the door, and everyone stared at her but nobody got on. You don't step onto a bus that says TERMINAL.

It wasn't my bus, and I wasn't close enough to say anything, but none of the half dozen people standing at the loading bay seemed to be saying anything either.

The driver looked confused for just a moment, then noticed the sign and pushed a button, and instantly the sign changed to read #165 GREEN RIVER COLLEGE.

And here's where I'm impressed. Realizing that people might have been paid no attention to an approaching bus that said TERMINAL, the driver lifted herself out of her chair, stood in the bus's doorway, and shouted, "165 to Green River College!" She shouted it twice, and two people came over and got onto the bus.

That's an employee who gives a damn. She could've simply driven the route, and left those people behind. I have definitely ridden with drivers who'd do exactly that. Lady driving the #165, I salute you.

I've just sent the following to the offices of Metro Transit, where it will be shredded immediately upon receipt:

The Burien Transit Center is a disaster of trash and bums, litter and broken glass. For me, this is barely a problem; I've lived in slums and seen worse, and I'm there for the buses not the aesthetics.

There are a great many people, though — virtually everyone in my family, and every person I know — for whom five minutes waiting for a bus at Burien Transit Center is reason enough to never use Metro. It's part of the public perception of riding the bus, and it's why millions of people drive instead. 

Over the past few months, someone's made it a hobby to smash the glass over the schedules at the transit center, and kudos to Metro for a gallant effort at replacing the glass. As soon as it's replaced, though, it's smashed again, which cannot be cost effective. Also, seeing the same broken glass on the walkways day after day tells me that the transit center isn't cleaned even once daily.

Improving dystopian hellholes like Burien Transit Center must be a priority, before there's any hope of increasing transit ridership. The public perception that riding a bus is sketchy or disgusting needs to be challenged and corrected, but every day the Burien Transit Center only reinforces that stereotype.

It appears that there was once an information booth at BTC, where a station agent sat. Whatever money Metro is saving by not having an employee in that booth is more than offset by the number of potential passengers frightened away, and by the cost of repairing the vandalism that an employee's eyes and a call to 9-1-1 could've prevented or punished.

That booth should be staffed, with just one employee who can answer riders' questions, make riders feel that they're not entirely on their own in a horror movie, call the cops when it's needed, and frequently leave the booth to check and clean up the grounds.

I am unemployed and a big believer in public transit, and I'm available for that job.

"Oooh, fresh bagels!" said an old white lady as she bent into a seat on the bus. And indeed, snacks had been provided — two bagels, sliced, with cream cheese, were face down on the seat in front of me, across from the old lady.

Dunno why anyone would waste two perfectly good bagels just for the joy of making a mess, but even though I've never seen bagels on a bus seat before, it seems perfectly ordinary.

The news you need,
whether you know it or not

Thousands of youths are compelled to join military's Junior ROTC 

In first use of new enforcement procedure, Amtrak seeks damages, other relief for delays it says result from freight train interference 

This is fairly big news, if you're a believer in passenger rail.

97% of Amtrak's routes are on rails owned by freight train companies. Amtrak took over these companies' passenger services in 1971, with the understanding — and legal obligation — that the railroads would give Amtrak priority access. They never have.

Ride any Amtrak train outside of the tiny sliver of tracks Amtrak owns, and your train will be sidelined, probably repeatedly, while freight trains pass. It's illegal, but the US Dept of Justice has shown no interest in prosecuting.

With recent legislation, Amtrak now has the legal right to sue, and by the letter of the law, I don't see how they can lose.

L.A.'s new Mayor declares state of emergency over homelessness 

I don't know enough about newcomer Karen Bass to know whether she's good news or bad, but this action is something a mayor might do if she wanted to actually help, so — fingers crossed.

Viagra lowers risk of Alzheimer's disease by 69%, study finds 

NYC to name Central Park gate in honor of teens falsely convicted of 1989 rape 

Nearly 10% of marine life threatened with extinction 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because climate change isn't 'coming', it's underway. It'll kill billions, and we're not doing squat about it. 

• LAPD thinks best response to leaked recording of councilmembers' racist remarks is going after Reddit users 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because all cops are bastards, or they know who the bastard cops are and do nothing about it, which is the same thing.

Arizona governor builds border wall of shipping crates in final days of office 

And it never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, never stops, because Republicans are the enemy of common sense, common decency, simple truth, and democracy.

Links I liked

Ted Kotcheff on making First Blood 

Retracing Walt Whitman's steps through Brooklyn and Manhattan 

Empathy in chickens 

Wooly Mammoth 

Mystery links
Like life itself, there's no
knowing where you're going




♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

Come Sail Away — Styx 

Get This Party Started - Shirley Bassey 

Mannix — Lalo Schifrin 

Rubberband Man — Detroit Spinners 

Water in the Sky — Phish 

The End

Hamish Kilgour 

Carl Kleinschmitt 

Paul Silas 


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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