bus stop blues for spoiled problembears

have you tried riding on missoula’s Mountain Line Bus lately? i am ashamed to admit that the last time i rode a bus i was 15 years old- right before i got my first car. until gas hit 4 bucks i haven’t set foot in one since- until this week. the pass is cheap enough, even for a small town like Missoula i thought that 11 rides for 7.50 seemed fair.

overall, i guess it was ok. i got where i was going ok. and i got to talk with lots of people i wouldn’t ordinarily meet. they were all helpful- the riders that is. the bus operators seemed to be without exception dismissive and rude. when i got off one bus to make connections with another bus i asked the driver when the bus for my second connection would arrive. he turned on his heels in answer  to my point blank question and presented his back in deathly quiet response. i hope this was just a bad week and maybe commuters are not usually treated this way. it won’t help the ridership much.

also, as i lurched and swayed back and forth in my seat to the constant abrupt braking and the dragstrip style acceleration at each stop, i couldn’t help but think to myself that the drivers must all own stock in companies that make brake pads and transmissions for buses. i have operated heavy equipment and smooth and steady usually gets the job done with less wear and tear on the equipment, but every bus i took was worse than crossing the bar on the columbia river during salmon season. i swear after one ride that i was slightly carsick, and bears hardly ever get sick.

anyway, maybe after all these years of driving myself i have become very spoiled. all in all, it is great to have the service and i hope ridership and schedules increase as people realize that gas and our atmosphere are far too precious to waste.

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1 Comment

  1. When i first moved here I tried riding the bus at least a couple times a week – and like you, it’d been quite a few years. Most of the times the drivers were pretty nice and helpful – but it is the ones that aren’t very friendly that really bugged me – one was real nasty to me about not knowing where my stop was.

    the thing that kept me from riding, really, was the potholes and lack of sidewallk and the traffic on the road that I had to navigate on my way to the bus. Ridiculous – I felt like I was taking my life into my hands. The scheduling was screwy, too (IMO) – never consistent (running either early or late) and you can’t really stay in town for a beer or two after work, lest you want to hoof or taxi it home.

    Service should last a little longer into the evening – or have some truncated evening routes – and same for the weekend.

    Maybe they should try something like that, now that ridership is at all-time highs…

    My thoughts, anyways.


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