Bus drivers, courtesy, "the other side"

While on the bus today, I began to think about things relating to my many busrides and such. Ever since I began commuting to work by 7:30 or so, I notice how I have come to recognize the morning bus drivers and almost the exact times of arrival at my stop.

I was thinking these things, and thinking about others and courtesy. On Tuesday, the bus driver had trouble with making the left turn from Hyde onto Market (that turn is already very tricky). As a result, the driver disconnected the bus from the electrical power lines and, despite attempting to reconnect the bus to the lines, had to tell us all to migrate to the bus behind us. I felt so bad for the driver, although I guess the bus drivers have to deal with situations like this every day.

Anyway, today I caught the bus with the same bus driver, and I greeted him as usual. But, the bus disconnected again today, this time on Fulton and 8th Avenue; I was afraid that we would have to change buses again and again felt bad for the bus driver. Luckily, this time the bus driver was able to keep the bus’s cords connected to the power lines, so we made it downtown safely.

During the bus ride, I was thinking about those situations, and thinking about how hard the bus drivers do work. Yes, some of them may supposedly have “ego problems”, but then again, aren’t they human, too? Still, in the end, they do work pretty hard, and often times passengers are not so appreciative of the bus drivers.

For instance, when I traveled to Colorado a few weeks ago, I boarded a bus from the airport and honestly told the bus driver, “I’m sorry, I do not have small change for the bus.” Instead of being cruel and making me pay $20 for a $7 commuter ride, the bus driver decided he would collect others’ bus fares by hand in order to break the $20 I had. This slowed down the boarding, of course, but it was the driver’s choice to do this.

Well, while he was collecting the fare from other passengers, one guy boarded the bus and almost didn’t pay if the bus driver hadn’t told the guy to stop. “Oh, I thought we didn’t have to pay anymore; I didn’t know it’d take so long to board a stupid bus these days,” said the guy. Of course this statement made the bus driver angry, and he turned to look at me while he responded to the rude passenger, “Well, you know, there are other passengers on this bus besides you.” The passenger didn’t get the hint and just said, “Yeah, whatever.”

It made me feel extremely bad for the driver to know that he was doing me this favor, and then he received crap from another passenger because of his kindness.

Why is it that people do stuff like that though? I mean, to not understand from another person’s point of view. I’m certainly not saying I ALWAYS think about things from another person’s point of view. But, really, when I think about it–I’ve been at both ends of situations like these, and I am sure everyone has experienced both sides as well. Some may choose not to notice it, though, and go on with their lives not even thinking about how things are from “the other side”.

To the woman on the bus, talking loudly on her cell phone–

I don’t understand why people feel the need to talk on their cell phones on the bus.

Look, I don’t care that your cats have fleas or that you’re wanting a job at some radio station but they can’t offer it to you–do you think other people on the bus care? No, they could care less.

Please save your private conversations for home. Crowded public transportation is not the place to be talking about some things.

That’s my rant for the day.

Is it hard to show courtesy to others these days?

It seems like, every time I am on the bus and it becomes crowded, I notice this one thing: everyone expects for someone else to do what they’re told to do, rather than being initiators and following suit with orders. Recently, the buses have been installed with “new” bus announcements, telling people to “move to the back of the bus for others’ convenience” and also to “clear the front seats for seniors and disabled persons”. I know the bus drivers are able to press these buttons when they need to, because I hear these announcements only when the situations arise.

And unfortunately, nobody else seems to pay attention to them. People stand in the doorways, in the front of the bus, trying to ignore the announcements about moving to the rear of the bus so others could board. Is it so hard to show courtesy? Does it make THAT much of a difference of where you are standing?

It’s annoying for me to watch while I am seated; whenever I do end up being one of the people standing up, I do try my best to move to the back of the bus, even if it’s not entirely necessary. There’s no point in bunching up at the front when it’s inevitable that the bus would get crowded. But it seems like rarely anyone thinks the same way as I do about this. I’m not saying that I’m the only one who pays attention, but, really, if you could observe the situation on the bus, you would notice that rarely anyone actually does what they’re supposed to do–because they expect for someone else to do it.

I’ve seen people trying to gently nudge their neighbor to move to the back of the bus, but the neighbor just stands stubbornly, hanging onto “their” spot. It’s really unnecessary, and it’s no wonder that the bus drivers feel so frustrated sometimes.

To add on, when it comes to the front seats being reserved for elderly and disabled, it truly angers me to see young people sitting there when there are obviously others who need the seats more. In turn, these young people won’t move unless they’re forced to, even with the bus announcement blaring off. I don’t feel sorry for these young people when an elderly citizen yells at them to move, because I feel they have the right to do so–young people should give up their seats for the elderly, since young people are very capable of standing up and using their leg muscles.

Granted, there are some senior citizens who refuse to go with that title of “elderly”, who refuse to admit that they are “old” and need the front seats. Those are far and few though–most of the time I do see any elderly person, no matter how fit they look, take the front seats when available. They’ve lived long lives, so they deserve to sit where they are given the priviledge.

In the end, people are just selfish.

Arguments among the old San Franciscans…

A scene on the bus today after work–

Old man: “People have no right to be cruel to the bus driver. The bus drivers work very hard. You need to show some respect to them.”
Old lady: “Uh huh, okay, okay…” (not really listening)
Old man: “That’s right, people shouldn’t flag down the bus driver and expect for him or her to wait for them; show some respect. Some people are so rude.”
Old lady: “Okay…” (shakes her head “no” and waves the guy down to make him stop talking)
Old man: “Oh yeah? Well same to you! It’s people like you who are not natives to San Francisco that make the city bad!”
Old lady: “Oh, YEAH? Well, I’VE LIVED IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR 50 YEARS NOW, I am not an immigrant!”
Old man: “Well I’ve lived here for 75 years, so you shut your trap. All these immigrants need to just go home.”

Guys picking up chicks on the bus?

So, this morning there was a young woman on the bus who did not seem to want to sit down when there were available seats all over the bus. She was standing in front of the guy sitting next to me, and I guess he found her attractive, so he struck a conversation with her.

I was eavesdropping the whole time; she did not seem to mind the attention, but I could tell she was also cautious enough to keep a distance. The guy seemed to be genuinely interested, asking her a few personal “small-talk” questions (“What is your job?” “How long of a bus-ride?” et. al.).

Finally, he asked her if she lived with roommates or by herself, and she said, “Oh, I live with my boyfriend.” At that, I could see the interest drop immediately as the guy seemed to stumble over his words. “Oh, uh, oh! That’s nice, how long have you guys been t-t-together?”

Poor guy. Nice try.