Sunday, November 11, 2007

The wheels on the bus go round and...wait. Hold on. OK, we're moving again...the wheels--wait, just a minute...

Someday I would like to take a journey to the Fantasy Land where dwell the writers of the bus schedules.

I took the bus up to Northgate tonight, so I had to make a transfer downtown. I managed to catch my connecting bus, but at that point reality branched sharply away from the lovely dream printed in the bus schedule. This particular bus only runs once per hour on Sundays, so there were approximately twenty people waiting at each of its downtown stops. Now, in Bus Schedule Land, each downtown stop is finished in under seven seconds for perfect timeliness. In Reality Land, unfortunately, most people require more than three tenths of a second to climb aboard the bus and find a seat. Thus before we had even left the downtown core we were running ten minutes behind. On a Sunday evening.

The difference in worlds was compounded by the Schedulers' apparent assumption that each bus travels in a wondrous warp along the surface streets, magically gliding through uniformly green lights and unclogged interesections at ten miles per hour faster than the posted limits. The real bus was constrained by the need to wait at stoplights, yield to pedestrians, and of course to stop at the bus stops where people waited to board or exit the bus.

And so a trip which in Schedule Land could be accomplished in about an hour, took in reality more than 50% longer.

The thing is, I wouldn't be as cranky if I knew ahead of time what I was getting in for. An hour and a half to Northgate? Okay, that's all right, I can deal. But don't tell me I can get there in an hour and then snicker in your sleeve when I, trustingly relying on the fantasy printed in the schedule, make plans accordingly.

My grand plans were just to see Ratatouille at the $3 theater in Shoreline, and we did sneak in just as it was I guess it worked out. However, this isn't the first time my ETA has been foiled by the bus schedule's pipe dreams. My Northgate friend was skeptical of my carlessness in the first place, and my recurring tardiness is doing nothing to convince her that buses are a useful transportation option for an adult with a driver's license. So really, the fluffy bunny fantasy travel times are helping to alienate potential riders. One wonders whether perhaps Kemper Freeman helps construct them.