Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wheelchairs, detours buses and vans

On Sunday afternoon I was set to do shopping like I do every week. I try to get to the bus stop at 3:30 at the latest, as the last run home is at 5:30 and I'd be stranded otherwise. I find that two hours is just enough to grab a sandwich and get some groceries. The bus usually comes every thirty minutes. Didn't come this time. I figured I just missed it. No big deal, I can wait a bit longer. Another 30 minutes goes by and I see my bus taking a left turn instead of going straight down like it does every day. What's going on? Is there a detour? Have the adjusted the route? Is there a bicycle race or an art fest that they shut down certain streets for? I check the Gainesville Sun website to figure out if there's an event in town I haven't heard of.  Usually, when a bus stop is temporarily closed there's a notice attached to it. I looked at it, but there was nothing. I looked at the one across the street. Nada. I decided to look for information on the transit system's website, they usually post raider alerts on closures and changes but there was not a word on it about it. I texted by bus driver friend to ask if she new what happened with most of the buses downtown (some others occasionally showed up, mostly on the other side of the street). She said she didn't know. If it was a planned event she'd get an an email about it, but she didn't, maybe it was an accident? An accident... I thought and decided to wait a bit longer. It was after four already. I figured I was not going shopping this week after all. But then a driver from a different route saw me across the street and asked if I was waiting on bus 1, which I was. I asked her if she knew why it wasn't coming, she said, she didn't know, but she would call it in. Some twenty minutes later she shows up on my side of the street and says the supervisor is coming to pick me up in a van. She still didn't know why. The supervisor did come out with a van and drove me to the shopping center. As it turned out, GRU- the utility company asked for a last minute closure of some streets that morning. I still don't know why some buses were driving up and down third avenue, while others didn't but at least I got to the store. The bus service really came through for me as I was ready to go home. As I got to Publix I had an exactly one hour to get back to that stop. I've never done it before, but hey I like a challenge. Grabbed some items in a hurry, spent the least I had in weeks, but if I have my protein bars, energy drinks, coconut water, vegetable juice, cold cuts and cheese I'm happy. I went to a sandwich store, but with 25 minutes to go I didn't really have time to sit down and chew so I took it to go. The driver apologized and apologized although none of this was his fault and I didn't really mind and he wondered if he should have used the business card I gave him to text and warn me. One thing that I do think about all of this is that the city should really have a better way of communicating between all of its bodies and branches. It's not some external company planning this, it's all Gainesville. Overall, an interesting day. Not something I'd ever expect as I went to bed last night.

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