Making up time

I work for HOURCAR which means that I spend quite a bit of time biking and riding the bus around the cities to move our fleet of shared cars around and keep them in tip-top shape. Once last summer I biked over to a car at a shop on Lake Street and drove it back to its home in Uptown. I was ready to bike back down the greenway but a thunderstorm came in and it started to pour, so I walked my bike over to the Uptown Transit Station where there was a 53 bus waiting to leave. It went on the front, and I went inside, ready for a slightly-faster-than-the-21 ride across Minneapolis. At least I’d be dry.

It was perhaps the best ride I’ve ever taken on any transit system. And I’ve taken many rides in Boston, New York, Philly, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Melbourne, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Prague, Paris, Madrid, Bilbao, &c.

We turned on to Lake Street and a passenger was trying to get the attention of a friend on the sidewalk. The driver opened the door and started yelling the same name, confusing the heck out of the person being summoned.

We turned on to Lake Street. The driver seemed to know some of the patrons, and was quite a conversationalist, in English and Spanish, to boot. No one was immune, but the humour was witty and in good taste, and everyone enjoyed it.

Traffic was terrible, and after Chicago he got on to 31st to bypass a bottleneck. “See him up there?” he said, referring to the 21 a few blocks ahead of us? When we turned back on to Lake Street at Hiawatha, we had passed him. He got on the PA: “Did you see what we just did? And no one gives me a thank you!” We all thanked him in unison.

He didn’t care for traffic trying to cut off the bus, either, rolling down his window to give them his thoughts a few times. But, we finally had made it through the gridlock and were on to the open part of the route, albeit 15 minutes late.

He would not be deterred from making up time. If a light was green and a stop unoccupied, he’d go through the light to drop a departing passenger on the far corner to avoid the light. This maneuver was successful several times. I can’t even remember why, but he had us in stitches across Marshall in Saint Paul. When I alighted at Snelling, I had actually thought of staying on to see what other gems he had for us. But it was drying out, and I was glad to be home. It was the most enjoyable ride in a long time.

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