Thursday, January 27, 2005

Miss Tran disappoints again

I thought I was annoyed with Mississauga Transit on Tuesday, when my bus driver did that all-too-frequent and infuriating thing where he shows up so early that even if you get to the stop five minutes in advance of the scheduled stop, you've still missed it and therefore have to wait not only the five minutes until the scheduled stop, but also the twenty-five minutes until the next scheduled stop and however many minutes after that until it takes for that inevitably late bus to show up, all in ball-achingly cold weather. When I called to complain the last time this happened, I learned that although the driver had definitely screwed up and I was correct to be annoyed, company policy is that the bus is permitted to be as many as five minutes early or late. Five minutes late, I can understand. Traffic, accidents, poor weather, whatever -- shit happens. But five minutes early? Inexplicable and inexcusable. If you're a bus driver and find you're way ahead of schedule, you can just slow down or even pull over and stop for a minute or two. It's worse when the bus is early than when it's late, because you end up waiting far longer until the next one.

Anyway, I thought I was annoyed on Mississauga Transit on Tuesday. But today, they invented a whole new way to irritate me.

I got on the bus tonight and dozed off to the sound of my MP3 player for my usual 20-minute nap. After a while, I realized that the ride seemed longer than usual, and opened my eyes. My thoughts were as follows:

What? This isn't my usual route.

Maybe there was an accident on the 427 and we had to take a detour on the East Mall.

Hold on -- this isn't the East Mall. Where are we?

Are we at the airport? Am I on the wrong bus? I couldn't possibly be!

I had no idea where we were, and as it turned out, neither did the bus driver. A Mississauga Transit car eventually came from alongside to pull in front of the bus, and then both pulled over to the side of the road. The driver's supervisor came to the window and said a few terse words. Then he got back in his car, and the bus followed him back to the station. The driver had gotten lost.

How does a city bus driver just get lost? And why hadn't any of the passengers said anything as he took us on a 45-minute joyride? I'd been napping, but what about them?

By all rights, I should have murdered the driver and taken the wheel myself, regardless of the inevitable carnage that would ensue as the city's unlucky drivers learned the hard way that I have absolutely no idea how to drive a bus. I should have done this, but I didn't, because as outraged as I was, I had to admit the situation was kind of funny in a ridiculous way. Equal parts white-hot fury and cool amusement resulted in a lukewarm state of placid, Zen-like nonemotion. I didn't even end up smashing open the fare box and helping myself to a refund of my fare plus punitive damages, which would have been completely fair, considering the three-quarter hour detour.

But still, I was very dissatisfied with that bus ride.


Blogger Scott said...

A couple of weeks back I hopped on a bus that was marked as being one route but was being driven as though it were another entirely. Luckily for me, both routes end up about a 1 minute walk from where I need to be. As for everyone else, though... Man, they got screwed and they all just sat there and took it.

1/28/2005 03:31:00 AM  

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