Monday, January 30, 2006

Bus Update: My Love Hate Relationship with MTO Continues

Last Wednesday, I posted on the Hump Day Top Five the reasons why I hate riding Minneapolis area Metro Transit Organization (MTO) buses. Well, Friday was a new high/low, depending on your view. I think this ride won me over. Riding the 4, southbound out of downtown to the Bulldog (local bar), I enjoyed the following:

1. Very affectionate couple sitting across from me - one man sitting on another's lap. That's the first time I've seen anyone over five, sit on another adult's lap (on a bus). Ok, these guys love each other and that's cool. Are they trying to get a rise out of people? No, because these guys know it's the 4 and nobody makes eye contact unless they want change for a dollar.

2. Affectionate couple is joined by a third man, but he was not allowed to sit on either lap. Yeah, it was a bit tense.

3. The tension is released, to some extent, by the description of the last few inspiring AA-type quotes that help them get through the day and the new coffee shop that they enjoy. I figure it's Bob's Java Hut on Lyndale, a popular hang out for motorcyclists and recovering alcoholics. I start to think about Bob's...

4. The tension continues to vent as anti-minority slurs become the topic of conversation for the AA/PDA threesome. I then think about "The Blues Brothers" and the Illinois Nazi's. But, I'm brought out of my Jake and Elwood flashback...

5. The 4 is supposed to follow Hennepin/Lyndale to the Lyndale split, but stays on Hennepin. I say something to my friend Rebecca about this strange twist as a 4 becomes a 6. The AA/PDA threesome hears us then start screaming to the bus driver.

6. Bus driver acknowledges his mistake, only to make an illegal left on Franklin to get back to Lyndale. To bus driver's credit, he only missed one stop. However, at Franklin & Lyndale, the bus door faces the SW corner of intersection, rather than the normal NW intersection. He honks to the potential riders that may be looking North for the 4, rather than south/west. As the passengers start to get this they cross the street. The last one to cross is almost hit by a car because he didn't pay attention to the traffic signals. Ok, this is strange, but we're back on track. A decent pint is only minutes away.

7. One half-block from our final destination (The Bulldog/26th Street), cops pull over the bus. It was more of a SWAT/Starsky & Hutch stop, as the they pulled over in front of the bus with the cop car nearly perpendicular to the bus. The police car is taking up both southbound lanes. In the words of Tommy Lee, bananas.

8. As Rebecca and I get off the bus, lucky enough to be at our stop, we watch the interaction for a second or two between law enforcement and MTO driver. Topping it off was a woman that gets off the bus and starts telling the cops "and another thing, he didn't yield the right of way at the intersection...." Ah, tattletales make me laugh.

9. We watch the rest of the circus from inside the Bulldog with a pint in hand, we laugh as the rest of the riders file out of the bus and the bus driver sits on the bus waiting for his ticket. Ah, beer and mass transit make me laugh harder.

I heart busses.