I bike and bus to work, which means that I have a long commute ahead of me and put my bicycle on the bus rack. Then, when I get off at the nearest stop to my office, I get off and bike the rest of the way. This works. This is moderately convenient. When more than 2 bikes are already on the bike rack, and I can’t board the bus (our bicycle racks have a 2 bike max.), then a wrench is thrown in my entire day seeing as the buses I take run about 30 min. apart.
If I had a job that required me to be on time, all the time – I’d be in trouble, but even though I don’t, I still miss out on valuable hourly pay and am stranded in a hot, desolate, shadeless spot for a very long, boring, fruitless time.
Austin has exploded exponentially lately. Have you seen our population? It’s safe to say that not only are we on the up and up, we’re also bursting at the seams. It’s safe to say that the number of cyclists using public transportation is on the rise. So my little fiasco with there being more than 2 bikes on the bus preventing me from boarding has happened more than a handful of times, and to other friends, it is a frequent concern.
Last time this happened, I saw the bus coming towards me from the distance and could see the other bicycles heavily bouncing at the front. “FUCK!” I thought, and possibly also said aloud… several times. I was clearly mad. I looked pissed, I acted pissed, I was pissed. I stormed off shortly before the bus stopped to try and ride the million mile path to work.
Another time, I just acted like a spoiled child, barely hiding my anger, and someone magically got off at my stop. That was a one-time thing, and boy, did I look like a jackass. (Note: I’ve seen other riders react much worst, multiple times.)
Today, it happened again.
Instead of storming off, acting like a bitch, or generally all but giving my finger to the other riders, I stayed calmly planted. Hoping that perhaps someone would get off. It became clear after a few seconds that no one would.
Then, I heard it. The bus driver started calling out to other riders asking if someone could get off at this stop instead of a further stop so that I could get on. No one stepped up to help, and I understand that. Still, I didn’t move. I didn’t frown, I kept my smile, and just hoped something would work out. I knew that if nothing did, at worst I would text work to inform them that I wouldn’t be in at the scheduled time. A few moments passed with me trying to ignore the embarrassment of all eyes on the bus being on me, and then the driver did something unorthodox – she asked me to board with my bike. This is against the rules, and she joked, “I don’t care if I get a one day suspension for this, I have things I need to get done at home! Hahaha!” We talked, we laughed, we discussed the ridiculousness of the bus rule, and all the while I kept thinking, “Wow. I’m glad I didn’t react like a five and a half foot tall 8 year old.” If I let my anger and annoyance with what I perceive to be petty and ridiculous Capital Metro (Austin’s transit system) rules, she might not have taken a chance on breaking those rules and giving me a pass.
I suspect that it always pays to have a good attitude, and if you don’t believe me, try it out.