Musings on the MTA
A local bus in Queens idles at the bus stop, the first of the route. Doors closed, plenty of seats available, plenty of passengers. The bus driver sits chatting with one of the latter. I tap on the door. She doesn’t acknowledge my existence, so I tap again. She’s in the bus stop, no signal indicates she's about to pull out, but she doesn’t open the door. I tap again and make some sort of gesture with my hands and face to say “what’s up?” She opens the door, doesn’t look at me as I use my Metrocard and thank her, then closes the door and pulls away a minute later. What was that?
An evening bus driver downtown makes no attempt to come near the bus stop but rather stops two bus lengths back. After running for it, I ask why he hadn’t come into the bus stop. He insists that he's in the bus stop. “But the sign…” I begin. He waves it away and says, “The sign’s wrong, I’ve been stopping here for years.”
A morning express bus driver insists that, despite 20 years of express passengers standing on one side of the bus stop sign and local passengers lining up on the other side, that the bus stop is on the other side only and he will not stop where the passengers are lined up.
A local bus in Queens with very dirty windows on which someone has rubbed slightly cleaner areas to read: “No Free Rides.”
The funny signs in buses saying the driver will stop to drop off passengers wherever they ask, barring dangerous conditions. When pigs fly….
This is the MTA.
Then, a miracle.
I saw the miracle in a man’s face as I ran to the bus. I had walked down 6th Avenue, somewhere near 11 p.m., not knowing if I would have to wait 5 minutes or 35, when I saw my express bus over a block away. I started to run, then added waving, but before I got to the corner (let alone across the street to the bus stop), the light turned green and the bus pulled away. I slumped. But then I heard slow brakes, and I turned to see the bus pulling to a stop half a block up, just the other side of one of those fences Bloomberg put up to try to make New Yorkers stop jaywalking, and idle there. Waiting for me. I ran up to meet it, and a man stood on the sidewalk, watching, a little smile on his face saying, “I just witnessed a miracle.”
Will wonders never cease.
~ Molly Matera, signing off to explore more bus stops.