Monday, April 13, 2015

Old friends

Here's something that never happened before. I managed to break not one but two city buses in a day. And I wasn't even of the first one! The ramp just wouldn't spring out. The driver tried and tried again and even shut the whole vehicle down but it appeared stuck. He even tried lifting it with his hands but he didn't have a good grasp on leverage. In reality you can get it out manually, and that's the one advantage it has over lifts, but you need to use a specialized tool that gets in there like a crowbar. And guess what-  it was the last run of the day. Of course it was. It always is when I need to use it. But I wasn't complaining- the transit supervisor came to pick me up in his van- that comes with a manually folding ramp and some room to strap down a wheelchair in the back. RTS is good like that and I know that if something happens, they'll take care of me, I got there much quicker than on the regular bus and in style. And the supervisor knew me well. He said that as soon as he heard in on the radio he assumed it must had been me.  With his roof lights on coming to pick me up certainly  It was one of the older bus drivers who I don't get to see a lot anymore but  ten, eleven years ago he was regularly assigned to the route that took me to law school and back. Now every time I see him is because something like this happened- and it still does from time to time. We reminisced about how that route had a really old school or just plain old buses on it. They had a lift, stored vertically, looking like a drawbridge that came with a remote, a door that unlocked from the outside and a very steep ramp in that I could barely take on my own. He reminded me how he pulled his back or injured his knee when helping me get in. This was our joint struggle for months, night after night. I believe he campaigned to have a different type of a bus assigned to the routes that I frequently used. Some drivers struggled as much as he did on the Bus 34, others couldn't even turn the key or even refused to take me. "We've never had any problems"- he pointed out and I agreed. I liked riding with him. Eventually his campaign led to RTS replacing buses on the 34- at first making sure that at lest one was "normal". Now there are no Orion buses in the city fleet at all, but back in the day it was a big deal. And it was quite a struggle for me to pull up myself onto that thing. And I have to say that it's always a great experience to see a driver who remembers me from back in the day. When I knew all my "regulars" by name. Now there's just too many to remember. When I was just starting out. Like we've been to a war together. Like we're old friends.

I was going to watch a movie on campus that day so I was happy that I wasn't left behind. It must have been my lucky day though, because as I boarded my bus home, the lift properly stowed and I'm waiting strapped down to go home, the door wouldn't close. We've spent a few minutes figuring out, girls in the back to involved with their phones to notice. What finally helped was restarting the entire system after shutting it down. The door closed on its own. Of course as soon as he dropped me off it happened again. Well, youb can't pin that one on me!

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