I took the bus to work yesterday. Actually, I took the bus to within about a half mile of where I work yesterday(we'll get to that). It's something I'll never do again, but I will gladly share with you my experience for your education and entertainment.
Let's start with my bus history so you can see that I do have some frame of reference (unlike Donny - who didn't have any)(Big Lebowski reference - three points for me - mark it zero for you).
I used to take the Loser Cruiser to work back in 2001/2002 when I lived in the city and it was the only alternative to walking to work. I took a bus from Mount Pleasant down 16th to Eye Street every day for a year. It was an exciting route because there were several half-way houses on the route and the crazy people who needed daily supervision were always on the bus when I was going to work. Needless to say, I saw some crazy shenanigans in those days.
Having walked by the bus stop on Lee Highway (that's in Virginia) near my house a million times on my way to the metro, I finally looked up the information on the bus serving that stop. Lo and behold the 3Y bus actually went from that bus stop (so much closer than the metro) all the way downtown near my office. And if you believe the WMATA website, it's only a twenty minute trip!
Turns out that WMATA lies. Who knew?
I waddled my fat ass out there at 8:00 a.m. thinking that even if I waited for ten or fifteen minutes I'd still make it to work by 8:45. Here's how the waiting went.
8:03 a.m. - Optimistic - enjoying my above ground commuting experience in the cool morning air.
8:04 a.m. - Realize the bus shelter doubles as a bathroom even though it has clear plexiglass on all sides. Somebody doesn't get the concept.
8:05 a.m. - Ask young lady next to me when she thinks the bus will arrive. She ignores me.
8:06 a.m. - Catch a glimpse of young lady's text to a friend and see the words "potential rapist" on the screen.
8:10 - Try to pull up WMATA website on my phone.
8:15 - No bus in sight and starting to wonder if this is going to work out at all.
8:20 - WMATA site partially loaded on phone.
8:25 - A metro bus pulls up, but it's a 3B, not a 3y. I'm hoping I don't have to wait the entire alphabet of buses before I can get a ride.
8:30 - I'm pacing in front of the bus shelter like a madman determined to wait this thing out. I am convinced that I can "win" by staying there until the bus shows up. I am obviously completely delusional at this point.
8:32 - Bus arrives. I nearly shit myself with excitement and triumph.
Twenty minutes my ass! I was already 30 minutes into this ordeal and I had not left the spot I started from! Things were not looking good and getting worse by the minute.
The bus was packed. Standing room only and my fat ass was hanging over the sacred yellow line next to the driver. I was pretty sure the driver was going to yell at me, but he refrained from doing so and I did my best to stay as much on my side of the line as possible.
The crowd was a nice a crowd. Much different from the crazies I rode with in DC years ago. To be honest - a better crowd than the usual metro folks I ride with on the Orange Line. They were also dead quiet. Not a word from anyone. It was pretty nice to see that many people abiding by the unwritten rules (soon to be written by me) of mass transit.
The ride down Lee Highway to DC wasn't bad. It wasn't spectacularly quick, but it wasn't as slow as it could be. When we got to the Roosevelt bridge, that's when time stood still. Mind you it's about 8:45 a.m. at this point and I've been on this trip for more than double the time WMATA promised.
At about 9:05 a.m. we had made it into the city and in front of the Department of Interior - where we'd stay for the next 15 minutes. I just sat there staring at the people coming and going out of that building and pondering the shocking number of government workers who still smoke (who smokes when they're not in Vegas these days?). Eventually we left E Street and took a left on 19th where we became stationary for another 15 minutes... It was now 9:35 a.m. and I had been on this journey for an hour and a half. I live exactly four miles from the White House. I can walk there in well under an hour. I can run there in less than 30 minutes. I can't bike there because bikes are for children and I am not a child (at least physically I'm not).
I got off at F Street and walked all the way to the other side of the White House to my office. It took me a grand total of ten minutes... it was the fastest I had moved all morning long. I was supposed to get off at K and 14th - can you imagine how long it would have taken to get there?
My boss caught me coming in late and asked me in a sarcastic tone "what, did you take the f*cking bus today?" I told him I did and he told me that he thought that I was smarter than that. I thought I was too... I was wrong.
Taking the bus is not for people who have some place to be at a certain time. The metro isn't either, but the bus is much much worse. Something that large just can't move through downtown traffic fast enough to be worth relying on.
I did like being above ground for the ride, though. It was kind of nice. And being able to get off the bus at anytime was kind of cool as well. You could bail anytime you thought you needed to, which is always a good option to have. Try to leave a metro car between stations and see what happens to your happy ass then. However, that convenience isn't enough to overcome the length of the entire trip. It just takes way too long to get anywhere.
Sorry metro bus - I will not be riding you again. No second date for us. Just a kind "thanks, but no thanks" parting is what we'll have. Good bye my large, smelly slow friend - it was not nice while it lasted.