Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blood Sport

An imprortant part of a commercial vehicle driver's job is the pre-trip inspection. As part of the pre-trip inspection, we fill out a form called a DVIR, or Daily Vehicle Inspection Report. This form is required by the Department of Transportation, and they are saved and reviewed annually by DOT's jack-booted thugs, or the Highway Patrol. The forms are in a book, and they are NCR (carbon-less copy) paper. The top white pages gets removed after the last trip of the day and brought into the office for review and storage, and the yellow copy stays in the book in the bus. There is a cardstock flap on the back cover of the book which you insert between the white and yellow pairs of pages In short, these forms are pretty important, and the company tolerates no nonsense on the DVIRs. That includes jokes, drawings, foul language, unnecessary comments, etc.

One day recently, I nicked my knuckle (that's fun to say) while doing a pre-trip inspection of my bus. It was no big deal, but I accidentally got a little blood on the white page of the DVIR. I knew my blood was harmless, but I worried that other people might worry about it. Being mindful of questionable markings on the precious DVIR, I got a Post-It note, and writting on it off the page (so it wouldn't press through to the yellow copy), I left the following message for the next person to handle the white page:

In case your wondering, there's a sort of tradition at work wherein several of us have food-related nicknames like Cookie, Peanut, Pumpkin, etc. I chose Tater for myself, one) because I like taters, and two) before someone might choose something for me that I wouldn't care for, and three) Ron White, that's why.

Now, I am aware that my "cage" could be considered unnecessary marks on the white sheet, but I couldn't think of any other way to pull off this weird joke, and some weird jokes just have to be done, at least as far as I'm concerned. Besides, I figured that if anyone questioned me about the "cage", I could just say that I was trying to ameliorate the unsightly stain.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

English, Mother****er! Do You Speak It?

This is one of the head sign (front and side destination signs) controls for some of our buses. I don't know what was going on with this one, but none of the characters were anything I could undersand, which made it rather difficult to enter the correct codes. I kept having to try to count the number of times I had pressed the various arrow and "enter" buttons, then go out of the bus to see if I had gotten it right.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day Sleeper Lodges Mild Complaint

"Hello. I'm putting in a complaint on the bus that turns on the light right by the [...] Nut. Fuckin' keeps fuckin' puttin' on their fuckin' goddamn motherfuckin' air brakes and I've got the night shift. I won't fuckin' say it again - shut the fuckin' shit off."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bicycle Hitching Post

More Transient Center-bicycle hijinks. This photo is not unlike this blog's title photograph - which, if you didn't know (and you didn't, really, because I never told you) features a bike "locked" to a former parking meter post at the illustrious C Town Transient Center, to wit:

The bike in the top photo was so encrusted in rust that it looked like they must have dragged it out of an old barn with a leaky roof. It didn't even have a front tire. I'm wondering how it came to be at the TC, since I can't believe any one actually rode it.

The best part was how they used the inner tube to "secure" it to the old parking meter posts. By the way, all parking meters in this lot have been replaced by one machine where all parkers pay. Now instead of the convenience of being able to pay at your car, you have to trudge over to the machine after you know which parking space number you're in. There's a good chance you'll have to stand in a long line in the blazing sun or the pouring rain at the uncovered machine with all the other parkers who just arrived for their respective classes or events or whatever. But, hey, the city saves a few bucks because the guy who collects the money only has to visit one machine instead of several dozen (quite a convenience for the city, methinks). And the machine is solar-powered! Isn't that neat? Plenty of free sunshine here in C Town!

Anyway, when I first glanced at this bike from a distance, I thought it was a real chain or cable, and that is probably what the person responsible had in mind. I couldn't help thinking, though, in my larcenous way, that it would be a simple matter of slipping the lengthy "cable" over the sign attached to the best. On closer inspection, I saw what it really was and had a good laugh.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Hold On While I Grab My Magnifying Periscope"

"Ouch! My neck!"
This is so ingenious I just had to share it. What you are seeing is part of one of the fare boxes of our buses. Each one has a little "cheat sheet" taped to the side for easy reference by the driver when he encounters problems with the machine, or maybe just can't remember how to do a certain thing. Of course, the sheet is usually taped where the driver can easily access it. This one, for some bizarre reason, is on the side away from the driver, right up against the front dash of the bus. I had to get into a pretty awkward position just to take this picture. How would anyone be expected to read it like this? My hat is off to whoever put this one up.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Yawn Nom Nom

Why is he driving a bus inside a mini-storage facility?

 My company attempts to keep us safe through many means. One of the more entertaining, at least, is the little "What's Wrong With This Picture" in the break room. About once a week a new picture appears in the plastic holder. After you figure out the unsafe practice, or after you've given up, you flip up the picture, and on the back is printed the answer, along with tips for avoiding such dire circumstances.

Now it should be obvious to anyone that this driver is yawning. Let's just forget about why that's unsafe, or how you can prevent it. His empty hand seemed to be begging for something in it.

Now, I'm not above the enticement of embellishing company images and other publications. I may even have done it once or twice, albeit in a non-permanent and (mostly) inoffensive manner. I, however, wasn't going to touch this one.

Thankfully, someone else took up the guantlet:

"This corn dog is burning my fingers. I sure wish I had held the stick."

I can't believe they went to the trouble of finding and cutting out a scale corn dog and carefully making a tiny loop of tape and affixing it to the picture inside its holder. If I could find this anonymous wag, I would shake their hand.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Two Maniacs

"I’m gonna talk to you… and you’re gonna kill yourself"

As you might imagine, some "bus people" are not...well...normal. Consider, if you will, the case of Jaunty Motoring Cap Man:

On Friday, May 24th I was dropping off the only passenger I then had on board at that moment on the Oh North. A man (wearing a jaunty motoring cap, oddly enough) was waiting to be picked up at the same bus stop. I had seen this fellow around the system before, but hadn't had the opportunity to engage him in conversation. As a rule, I try to avoid most opportunities to engage in conversation with my passengers, but it's not always possible, given the nature of the job.

As my deboarding passenger stepped down to the ground, he said to me, "I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend." I thanked him and he went on his way without another word to myself  or JMCM.

When JMCM came on board, he was muttering something about someone having said something rude to him. I figured he must be talking about the recent passenger, but I was sure I hadn't heard that one say anything to him. I asked him who he meant and he indicated the guy who had just left. I then asked him (against my better judgement) what the man had said to him, and he replied, "He said 'I hope they drill a hole in your head, kid.'"

If you alternately say "I hope you have a good memorial day weekend" and "I hope they drill a hole in your head, kid", they have a similar cadence, even if they don't match in number of syllables. They even kind of rhyme in a weird way, at least to my tin ear. Certainly songwriters have made worse rhymes, especially those who end paired lines with "rain" and "again", and nobody says anything in protest.

I knew right away that the man I now had on board was a schizophrenic, and a paranoid one at that. I mean, if a normal person thought he heard a stranger say to them, "I hope they drill a hole in your head, kid", they would either assume that they had misheard the stranger, or conclude that the stranger was a maniac spouting nonsense. No one but a crazy person would take such a statement at face value.

I offered the opinion that perhaps he had misheard the gentleman, but he persisted in his belief in the man's hostile remark. He added, "That's why I'm saving my money so I can get the heck out of this town. Everyone's so rude here." He went on to list some of his qualifications as a good citizen undeserving of such abuse, which included paying his bills, refraining from graffiti and taking his medication. If that was him on his meds, I would hate to see him without them.

I decided to try not to say anything further to this maniac, except to answer his subsequent questions in as friendly and succinct a manner possible, lest he auditorialy hallucinate one of my statements as something threatening. I hoped that he wouldn't be going far. Unfortunately, as it turned out, he was going to the TC, but whether by design or accident, he had gotten on the Oh North on the outbound half of its loop, so I got to enjoy his company for far longer than I wanted to. Fortunately, other people soon began to board, so I wasn't alone with him for too long. Even in broad daylight, crazy people make me nervous.

This put me in mind of another maniac I once had on board, this time without the cheerful rays of the sun to ameliorate my discomfort. I was driving the local O Town X-AA route. It was the last run of the day, and dusk was rapidly approaching. At County Center I picked up a befuddled and twitchy fellow. He was heading to the ORM on the far side of town, which meant we would be getting to spend a lot of time together. He was then and remained my only passenger for the rest of the night.

Shortly after getting under way, he said something about his face probably being familiar to me. I had to tell him that I couldn't recall having seen him before. He said he was well-known to other drivers. I was wondering how to take this, and decided to just let it lie. Soon he said, "I'm sorry" - just out of the blue. While trying to keep the fear and trepidation out of my voice, I asked him what he was sorry for. He said, "For being a bad person". I had no way to know if he was good or bad, but I was quickly beginning to suspect the latter. I tried to lightly assure him that he was alright, to which he averred that he most definitely was not.

Now I was really nervous and just wanted to get the ride over with as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, while hurrying might seem like a good way to keep a bus on time (it isn't), it's absolutely impossible when ridership and traffic are light. Leaving a time stop early is one of the biggest no-no's a bus driver can commit. It's right up there with crashing the bus or outright murdering passengers.

While the technology does not (yet) exist to prevent bus drivers from committing such heinous acts as accidents and homicide, we do have a means of preventing "running hot", as we call it. Well, I shouldn't say that it prevents hotness (something bus drivers are generally lacking anyway) any more than security cameras can prevent murder, but we drivers are remarkably slavish to the threat this particular technology presents.

You see, we have a type of GPS (Global Position System) in the buses, and a little screen which tells us how late or early we are running. This alone wouldn't be enough to stop the occasional driver from cheating a bit on a time stop. However, our vehicle tracking system has sophisticated software that can send the information that a time stop was blown off to our overseers at the TA. I call it the snitch-ware. We may not always like our jobs, but we like them better than unemployment.

So I had to bide my time and perform my run within the time constraints, maniac or no. As we went along, he kept muttering dark comments about how deserted the town seemed. When we were passing through the infamous South Side...

"So this is South Side? Apparently I misjudged Mos Eisley"

...he commented on how very empty the streets looked. This was in direct contradiction to observable reality. South Side is usually teeming with pedestrians going to and fro on nefarious errands (many residents can't afford cars and/or they lack valid driver licenses) at all hours of the day, but especially after dark. As night was quickly falling, the neighborhood was putting on its usual carnival-like atmosphere.

Pedantic busybody that I am, I couldn't let such an obviously incorrect statement go unchallenged. I forget what exactly I said, but I basically refuted what he had said, albeit in as polite and unchallenging manner as I could. I think I said something along the lines of "Oh, it looks pretty busy to me." To which he cryptically replied, "Not anymore. Not anymore." He just had to say it twice, like some kind of demented Poe bird, just to heighten the ick factor.

Thankfully, the ORM is conveniently located in South Side, so raven-boy soon disembarked. The next day I saw him wandering back and forth along the same few blocks of South Side's main thoroughfare - all damned day. I was afraid every time I saw him that he was going to want to board my bus and resume our scintillating discussion of the day before. I was very grateful that he didn't.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Damn Straight

Sometimes I over-think things. A example is when I try too hard to understand what bus people are actually trying to say. One such case presented itself just the other day.

I was about to start a loop of the Oh North. I was spelling another driver while she took her lunch break. A teenage boy who was already aboard the bus approached me and asked me if this bus went "straight to" Fairview, which by the way, is a continuation high school. Many of the less-bright and less-socially-adjusted children go there.

His question presented me with a quandary: by "straight to", did he mean "closest to", or "most directly (i.e.: most quickly) to" Fairview. The Oh North has a stop on the Promenade at the intersection with Beast Avenue, where Fairview abides. From there it's a walk of a few hundred yards to the school. The Route C outbound has a stop on Beast Avenue right across from Fairview. According to the schedule, Oh North arrives at the aforementioned stop four minutes before the C arrives at Fairview. I say, "according to the schedule" because it is not always possible for us to run exactly on time, despite our best efforts. If you could bank on the buses being on schedule, you would have to consider whether it would be quicker and/or easier to get out sooner but further from your destination and hoof it the rest of the way, or wait for the later bus which would deposit you directly in front of your destination.

If you really wanted to split hairs, the C inbound (which, if you read the Glossary page, you'll recall starts life as the D outbound) actually stops on the same side of Beast Avenue as, and directly in front of, Fairview - saving you the trouble and danger of crossing a busy four-lane thoroughfare  However, the C inbound gets there considerably later than the C outbound, so that's not really an option for any one but the most lazy or mobility-impaired.

Now, anyone will agree that the O North goes "straight" up the Promenade to its stop near Fairview. To my mind, this is "straight to" Fairview. If an uninitiated person (like this boy appeared to be) were to take the C outbound hoping to soon find themselves at Fairview, they might become concerned by the very round-about path the C seems to be taking. Their concern may turn to alarm when it begins to look as though the driver is about to take them to the far edge of town, perhaps for nefarious purposes.

All this aside, I told the boy that my bus went to Promenade and Beast. You see, I presumed that he knew basically where Fairview was, since he seemed so interested in it. But you know what they say about presuming: that you make a "pres" out of  "u" and "me" (or something like that). Upon being presented with this information, he asked, "Where's that?" I looked at him for a moment before saying, "Near Fairview".
He then asked again if I would be going "straight there". By now I was fed up with trying to suss out his semantics and I told him that if he wanted to go to Fairview, he should go get on route C. He got off my bus, then turned and asked where C was. I pointed him in the right direction, then wiped away a silent tear for our future as a society.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Big Rock Candy Mountain

C Town has a lot of homeless people. Generally dire nation-wide economic factors aside, it's not hard to understand why C Town has become something of a magnet for. The winters are mild, freezes are rare. It has nice parks and a pleasant yet vibrant downtown area with a block-sized plaza to hang out in.

Being a college town, it has decidedly liberal leanings. There is no shortage of well-off people who don't mind donating to the down-trodden - whether indirectly through contributions to charitable organizations, or directly via handouts to panhandlers. There is a very nice secular homeless shelter, and a large Christian-based center (hereinafter only known as the "JC") which feeds and clothes and offers other services to the homeless. The Boo Line even gets in on the act by providing a free twice-daily shuttle between the homeless shelter and the JC (a distance of little over one and a half miles).

Not all the homeless can fit in the shelter, of course, despite plans to expand it. And some can't or won't stay there because there are rules against alcohol and drug use.

When you spend enough time on the streets of C Town, it seems as though the homeless run the town. They lay and hang about in all the public places and even many of the private places. They sleep in large groups in the doorways of downtown business, causing some to close their doors permanently. The homeless problem is a recurring topic of city council meetings, and there is a plethora of suggestions of ways to deal with it. Any ideas of restricting some of the homeless's more heinous activities are shouted down with claims of infringing on their rights. The California legislature is currently considering a sort of homeless "bill of rights" which, if passed, would basically protect their ability to sleep on sidewalks and in doorways. Most of ideas which do get implemented in an effort to address the problem only seem to encourage further lack of personal responsibility or consequences for unacceptable behavior. There is even talk of constructing another kind of shelter which will offer the drunk and the high a bed. Hey, hey

In fact, C Town is such a relatively nice place to be homeless that it I think it has become the closest living thing to the fabled "Big Rock Candy Mountain", ("first recorded by Harry McClintock in 1928, is a song about a hobo's idea of paradise" - Wikipedia):

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Beside the crystal fountains
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay 
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats 
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

I've always considered myself a pretty liberal fellow. I was once even homeless myself for a brief time, a long, long time ago. So I like to think I kind of understand how it can happen to a person. However, my job currently involves driving some of the "guests" back to the shelter at the end of the day. What's more, it's just part and parcel of the job that we have to deal with these folks on a regular basis on many of the routes. Consequently, I now have some conflicting feelings about the homeless.

It's obvious to me from listening to their talk aboard the bus that many of them don't really seem to care that they are homeless. They are having the carefree time of their lives. When their time at the C Town shelter runs out, they'll probably go back to the streets, or go stay at the Christian rescue mission in O Town for as long as they can.

In short, I guess I can say that no one should have to be homeless, but some always will be, at least for awhile, and some want to be. Whatever the reasons, no one should starve because they are homeless. On the other hand, if well-meaning people make it too easy for the homeless, what incentive do many of them have to try not to be homeless?

All of this is a long way of getting around to an incident involving a homeless woman that I wanted to share with you. As a little background, I should explain that there is a mini-storage place sort of next door to the HS. I don't know if this storage facility has some sort of deal with the HS and/or the JC to provide reduced-rate service to guests of the HS, or if just its proximity to the HS that makes it popular with some of the homeless. Just parenthetically, I know they don't offer the storage free, because I'm acquainted with a homeless man who was staying at the HS, but lost his belongs at the storage facility because of lack of payment.

I currently drive the afternoon shelter run, as it's called, from the HS to the JC. I usually arrive shortly after 4 and depart promptly at a quarter after. One day as I was waiting to pull out, a woman I had not seen before came to my door. She was pushing a bike, whose baskets were loaded with some loose oddments and a couple of bags of presumably more oddments. She asked me for a favor. She said she wasn't staying at the HS, but she needed to get to the storage place near it, and didn't have any bus fare. I'm really not supposed to carry anyone who isn't a guest of the HS. On the other hand, I have no means of verifying that everyone who purports to be going to the HS actually is. I have suspected that a couple of people merely wanted a free ride rather than pay a fare on the O South, which also goes there. I told her that I would just pretend that she was a guest of the HS. I didn't plan on counting her manually on the farebox as I have to do for the HS guests. That way whoever foots the bill for these rides would not be out anything for me carrying this extra person.

She said, "Thank you", and then added, "I've got a lot of stuff." My heart sank a bit at these words, but I kept to my original agreement and hoped against my intuition that it wouldn't be too much stuff. She asked me how long she had, and I replied "ten minutes". She was having trouble getting her bike onto the bike rack, so I helped her with that, even though drivers aren't supposed to do so for liability reasons. I did it anyway for the sake of time. She brought in the oddments from the baskets and dumped them on a seat. She then disappeared into the JC parking lot for more stuff, with which she returned in a couple of minutes and deposited on the ground rather than bringing into the bus. Perhaps she thought I was supposed to be her porter as well.  Her stuff was mostly loose and not in bags - crap like binders and other accouterments of the homeless mentally ill. I wished it was better packed, but things were still not too out of hand. As it was, I left her second load on where she had.

On her second trip into the parking lot, she remained out of sight for a long time. At 13 minutes after the hour, I got out to try to find her. I spotted her coming wearing a backpack and a carrying a dufflebag. I thought that as long as that was really all she had we'd be okay. She said something I didn't catch, but I said that I needed to get going. She tossed her bags down in a petulant fashion onto the ground against a wall of the JC. I took this as a sign that this was not indeed the last of her stuff. She said, "You told me I had ten minutes." I said, "You did, but it's all used up now." She testily said, "That was never ten minutes.", to which I replied that I was offering her a free ride, so she shouldn't be arguing about the time constraints. I guess she felt she couldn't finish gathering up all her belongings in time. She asked me to take her bike off the rack, which I did. She seemed to have forgetten about her stuff that was already on board, so I brought that out and added it to her pile on the ground. The people on board had not heard our exchange, so they didn't understand why I seemed to be leaving her until I explained that she was opting to remain behind.

This incident made me determined not to bend that particular rule again. As the old saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished." More to the point of this story, another old saying describes well the behavior of the many street people: "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile." I tried to extend a kindness to another human being, and was burned in the process.

Monday, May 13, 2013

You Shall Not Park!

*Mundane update below!

This is only tangentially related to bus driving, but I'm a little tired and thought I'd post something a little more lighthearted than the thing that happened to me today. I'll try to post about that soon.

This sign is next to the entrance to a four-story parking structure near the Transient Center. During breaks, I park near it often for various reasons, the main one being that no one else seems to be interested in parking their bus further than a block from the TC. Another reason I like this spot is that bus people never seem to stray from the TC, even if it's a good hour or so until their bus arrives. Therefore, no one bugs me while I'm chillaxing. Coincidentally, there are sorority houses on two of the corners of the adjacent intersection, but that doesn't have anything to do with why I park there!

The upshot is that I get to see this sign a lot, and I've always been curious about it. As you can see, the information about spaces on levels 3 and 4 is painted on, so therefore it never changes. The window below the words sometimes lights up and says "FULL" in red LED letters. So I guess that means that if it says "full", that negates the permanent statement about levels 3 and 4. Seems a little confusing.

And how does the sign (or whoever controls it) know whether or not spaces are available? Do they have some sort of high tech sensing devices that light up the "full" sign when they spaces are indeed full? Does somebody check, and turn on the red letters manually? And if so, how often do they check? And what about levels 1 and 2? It's not like we can look all the way into even the first level and see if it's full, let alone level 2. Is the thinking that if I drive as far as the first two levels and find them all full, I won't be too put out about having to drive up another one or two levels? But if I were to drive all the way to the top only to find no spaces whatsoever, my subsequent disappointment and frustration would be too much to bear? Well, then, it's a good thing that sign is there to prevent sniping and/or suicide.

The mystery deepened when I walked up to the sign to take its picture for this post. The sign, as you can see, was not lighted. I could see that the red LEDs could only spell the word "full", but there was a second set of green LEDs that were in the (now) old-fashioned style wherein if all the LEDs in a single character were lit, it would look like a boxy numeral 8. This style allows the creation of all numerals, but not so many letters. I've never seen the green lights on, so I'm guessing maybe during times of expected high parking demand, the green lights can show exactly how many spaces are available on the rarefied top two levels. This is indeed wizardy of the highest order!

This is how my mind works (or doesn't, as the case may be).

* Update 5-26-2013: I probably should have mentioned that this is no ordinary parking structure, but a university parking structure. Turns out that the spaces on levels 3 and 4 are significant because the general public is allowed to park in them (provided they purchase a parking permit from the machine conveniently located in a corner of the first level - it's also not a drive-up kind of machine, just to add to the convenience). I gleaned this information by the simple expedient of talking to a university police officer who was standing in the structure (the university police office is also located in the structure). I'm now guessing that each time a parking permit is purchased, it reduces the number on the mysterious green LED characters by one. That's the boring truth I feel compelled to share. I liked it better when it was more unknown-ish.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And Baby Makes Three

I call them Jack and Mrs. Sprat. He is a skinny little person and she...well...isn't. Actually the biggest thing about her is her butt, and she certainly doesn't wear things designed to minimize it. To see her walking away in a pair of yellow stretch pants is like watching an explosion in slow motion: it seems to get bigger as you look at it - a new layer of cottage cheese gets added on top of the last with each step. Even Sir Mix-A-Lot would deny.

But the point of this story is not Mrs. Sprat's WMD. It's about them and their little dog, whom they treat like it's their child. They've always brought their precious little pooch on board in a proper carrier. Okay, no problem. But recently they've started pushing the dog around in an enclosed stroller. Jack and the Mrs. were all upset and complaining at the Transient Center recently because a driver had apparently refused to let them ride with their dog. It wasn't really clear what exactly had happened because their story was rambling and disjointed. Not only had they not noted the name of the driver (odd because Jack considers himself an expert on all aspects of our system), for some reason they couldn't even identify his or her sex! All they could say was that this mysterious non-gender-specific driver had "86'd" them from the bus without any explanation.

If there was any truth to their story, it's easy to see why the driver might have refused them service. We have a rule that the occupants of strollers (usually an actual human child) can't be in the stoller, which has to be folded down when on the bus. Otherwise the stroller can get loose and cause damage or injuries to the child or others. Since the doggy's stroller needed to be folded, the animal would then not have been in a carrier. Seems pretty simple to me. If this all really happened, I would hope that the driver explained to them the reason. I like to think that he or she (or both, or neither, who knows?) did try to explain, but the Sprats were simply too addlepated to comprehend it. Eventually they wandered off and no more was heard about it. It will be interesting to see if they continue to try to ride with their "baby" in the stroller.

Obligatory First Post

Hello, and welcome to "The Idiots Aboard". I am a transit bus driver in a smallish California town. A necessary part of the job, of course, includes dealing with people who can best be described as "bus people".

The majority of people who ride a bus are not "bus people". Anyone who has used or worked in public transportation will know the kind of people I mean. For you lucky public transportation innocents, "bus people" are people who are...well, different. Mainly, if weren't for public transit, these folks would be walking or driving their Hoverounds everywhere. But, you'll see.

In this blog I will try to entertain with stories of some of the more interesting exploits of these folks. Names and actionably identifying information will be changed or omitted. Mine is a fairly small transit system, so many of the characters are recurring. Therefore, I'll probably establish a tab with their bios so you can keep them straight.

I hope you enjoy this. And if you're a public transit driver, please submit your own stories for possible publication here (