Murphy's Law

He finds city buses worse than cycling

I feel sorry for people who don't own a car. Even though I don't own one, I can still get around on my bike. Arriving somewhere out of breath and wind-blown is definitely better than relying on any mass-transit system. Believe me, it is better.

Only twice have I ever rode a public bus (excluding the school bus), and that was more than enough to last me a life time.

The first time was a few years ago. I had the unfortunate task of taking the bus from lovely Boca Raton all the way to Margate (about 25 minutes to the south, if you go by car).

I thought it would be easy; ride a bus to the county line, get a transfer ticket, and ride one to home. I also believed in the Great Pumpkin.

It wasn't that easy. From where I was, I would have to take a bus to the Town Center Mall (I knew it as the Boca Mall), transfer there, ride a bus to the county line, pay (the transfer ticket is only good for one free ride within Palm Beach County) for another bus, and again transfer to another bus to take me home. Fine, I had enough fare just to get home.

Only, I got off at the Boca Mall, which is what I asked for, but not what I meant. The Town Center Mall was across town. I still had to get to the Town Center, but then I wouldn't have enough to get home.

I had to wait five hours for Mom to pick me up.

The second time I found my self in Ft. Lauderdale (about 25 minutes south of where I live). This time I had more than enough money, in case I made a stupid mistake. This time I was ready.

Not really, because I missed the first bus twice. The first time I missed it, I had just arrived at the bus stop just as the bus was pulling away. Oh well, the next one would be along in half an hour. So I sat down to wait.

The next bus came, and went. It then dawned on me that I had to physically hug the bus stop sign for the bus to actually stop (remember, this is Ft. Lauderdale, the rules down there are a little different). That was bus number two. I was ready for bus number three.

“Okay, you can stop hugging the bus stop sign now,” said the bus driver. “I've stopped.”

Half an hour later (about five miles) later, I got off to catch the next bus, due in another half hour. This time, a senior citizen was hugging the bus stop sign, so I didn't have to.

Fourty-five minutes later, I got off to wait for the last bus I would have to take. As the bus pulled up, I hugged the sign. It stopped.

“Is this the bus to the Coral Square Mall?” I asked, clinging to the sign for all I was worth.

“Yes,” said the busdriver.

“Via 18th Street?”

“Nope, you'll have to hug that sign till the next one comes.”

“When's that?”

“Another half hour,” said the busdriver, and pulled away. I figured I could wait half an hour clinging to a sign. And the bus came, and I finally arrived home, three hours after I started out.

So now, I ride my bike, and I stopped believing in the Great Pumpkin.


Since then (March 23, 1988) I've done the public transit thang one other time. You have to realize that were I live (Lower Sheol) where public transit is a joke.

Anyway, some friends and I decide to make a day of it and visit the Miami Metro Zoo and, being the environmentally aware people that we are (when we think of it), decide that instead of taking something like 10 cars, we would all use the public transit system to get us there.

This public transit system consists of getting to the rail station (most of us took a car there—what can I say, the public transit system down here sucks), then taking Tri-Rail from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, then take the Metro (another train) to the People Mover (a monorail type system), then a bus which takes you to the Miami Metro Zoo.

Three hours.

For a trip that might take 40 minutes by car.