Sunday, December 28, 2008


People are so funny! I was driving the 6 route on Christmas Eve. A lot of people were confused because we were running on a reduced service schedule...basically, a Saturday schedule. Fewer buses. I had a lot of people getting on asking why I was so late or was I early.

It was quite cold outside. I was headed north on Xerxes avenue. There was a guy on the corner across the street waiting for a bus going south. He was all bundled up for the weather. Good thing, because he must have been one of those people that didn't know that we were on a Saturday schedule. He looked over at me as I was passing in the opposite direction and flipped me off!! I have never been flipped off by a guy wearing mittens...not gloves, mittens! It was hilarious!! He put his whole arm and wrist into it. He stuck his elbow way out to his side and twisted his wrist around as he lowered his elbow to his side while he extended his hand with a little mitten tent at the top of it.

Shortly afterward, a guy got on the bus and I was still amused with the mitten guy. The new passenger asked "How's it going?" I said "Great! People are so funny. Have you ever been flipped off by someone wearing a mitten before?" I saw him get the mental picture and enjoy the scene as much as I did.

I think the guy with the flippin' mitten had practiced this move. It was just too good!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I just got trained last Tuesday on the 12 route. Perfect timing. I got a 10-plus hour piece of work on it on Wednesday! Not a bad route. I did have a couple of small issues.

First, I was picking up a group of people at one stop. This lady gets on and puts a monthly mobility pass in the farebox. I asked her for mobility ID. She shows me her state ID with no endorsements. The card was still sticking out of the slot so I took it and told her that she needed the mobility endorsement and without it it was not a valid payment and was, in fact, illegal. She paid the fare and went and sat down. I kept the card to turn in. There was a guy a few people back that had yelled at her to just get on. When he got on, he put in a quarter and showed me mobility ID. I told him the fare was 75 cents. He said he seemed to have lost his card and would be right back. He went back and spoke with the lady that had used the monthly card. He then came back up and pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket to pay the rest of the fare. Again, he said he seemed to have lost his pass. Being a little irritated at being played like a dummy, I said "You didn't happen to lose it by giving it to that other lady, did you?" He smiled and gave a slight nod. He asked if he could have the card back. I told him "Absolutely not. It was used illegally and has to be turned in." I explained that what he did was a felony and that it was all on camera...not a bright move. He said he was just trying to help the lady out. I told him I wouldn't call the police, but if I did I asked him if it was worth it. He got the picture and went and sat down. I later wrote "Confiscated. Used illegally." on the card and slid it into the farebox.

Later I had a couple get on. The guy was so drunk he could hardly stand up. The lady seemed much more together. I asked if he was with her. She said he was, paid her fare and sat down. The drunk guy was drooling all over himself as he stood there searching for his fare. I told him to have a seat while he looked. I didn't want him to fall down and I had to continue driving. He quit looking for his fare a couple times and I finally told him he'd have to hop off. He did. Well, I wouldn't say he hopped off. More like he poured himself out the door. The lady apologized later when she got to the end of her ride. I told her it wasn't her fault. He was a grown man and needed to be responsible for himself.

Other than that, the 12 wasn't a bad route. I didn't have to drive through the maze they call Opus, but I'm sure I will someday. Wish me luck!


As much as I hate being on call, I almost had the best day ever at work the other day when I was on call.

I had just returned to the garage after doing a bus change. For those of you that are not familiar with a bus change...there are drivers on call at each of the 5 garages in case something happens. I had a call that a bus had no heat in it so I was sent to bring them a good bus (with heat!) and return the cold bus to the shop for repairs. Call drivers also fill in if a route gets behind schedule. They will send a bus out to fill in the gaps so people aren't waiting at the bus stops for a long time. If someone calls in sick at the last minute, has an accident, is assaulted or for whatever reason needs to come in off the line, the call driver fills in for them. It is a great way to keep things flowing smoothly.

Normally, I hate just sitting at the garage. I file schedules or try and find other ways to make time go by. This day, like I said, I had a bus change. I had just gotten back to the garage and was not too thrilled at the concept of having nothing to do. The dispatcher said "Sorry to do this to you, but I've got something for you and I don't know how long you will be out there." He then informed me I would be a police bus!!! I've always wanted to be a police bus!! They are used for a number of things. Usually, when it's as cold as it has been, they are used for the police/swat/firefighters to stay warm when there is an ongoing issue they are dealing with. Heck, I'm a single chick. I'd LOVE to have a bus full of dudes to sit and hang out with!

I was HYPED as I pulled out. I didn't know what the exact situation was, but I didn't really care. I got to the place they told me to go and the emergency vehicles moved out of my way so I could get close to the situation. I sat there looking at all the action trying to figure out what was going on. There were tons of police, firetrucks, S.W.A.T., ambulances...even Centerpoint Energy and Animal Control. I was pretty confused. I didn't see any flames or smoke. That was a relief. Sometimes the bus is used to warm people as their home/apartment burns down. I was looking forward to a bus full of guys in uniform instead.

I sat a while and was then approached by an officer. I asked him what was going on and he informed me that the house across the intersection that was lit up with flood lights had a guy in it that said he turned the gas on over an hour ago and was threatening to strike a match. I did some mental guessing as to how far the debris would most likely fly and asked the officer if he didn't think we were a little close. He seemed to do a little mental guessing and then agreed with me. I was moved back a block. Fun...backing the bus up a block and then around a corner to make a "Y" turn and face the other way on the same street I had been on. The toughest part was the one truck that had his headlights blazing in my mirror. My supervisor was there and helped guide me.

Anyway, I sat there on my cell phone. I called my mom, niece, sisters...heck , I even called my ex-boyfriend!! (We are pretty good friends.) I was so excited...just waiting for a bunch of guys in uniform (Yep, that does it for me! ;) ) I was pumped up. In an instant, the supervisor came and deflated me. He said I could go back to the garage. NOOOOOO!!! I told him I wasn't done yet. I was on lookin'-for-a-husband duty and couldn't leave quite yet. He laughed and sent me on my way.

According to the news, the guy claimed to have explosives...including grenades!! Glad I moved back. If he had a good arm, I could have been meeting my maker! Anyway, I'm a little disappointed at him for giving up so soon. I would have preferred he stuck it out until at least a couple SWAT guys got cold! ;)

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
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