Here’s the thing with buses…they suck. There are few things more annoying than having to rely on a bus to get from east to west or vice versa. It sucks so bad that on most occasions, you would rather walk than have to deal with taking the bus.
I used to have to take the 86th street crosstown bus everyday. There was no accurate way of planning how long your journey would take.
The exact same ride across town could take ten minutes one day and forty-five minutes the next. Needless to say, the day you don’t have anywhere to be would be the day that it would take ten minutes, while the day you’re in a rush you can pretty much guarantee it’ll take 45.
Why does this happen? I’m glad you asked.
Firstly, bus schedules.
Bus schedules hold about as much weight as a paper towel holds water. I don’t know why the MTA continues to allow trees to be destroyed to print those things because the buses pretty much show up when they want and not according any alleged schedule.
Secondly, the genius that planned the 86th street route decided that it would be a good idea to put the bus stops at the corners instead of in the middle of the block.
What this means is that you’re basically guaranteed to miss three green lights as people keep running up to the bus as soon as the light changes. This is nothing short of torture.
Of course, this is only torture when you’re the one in the bus, because when you’re the one on the outside running to catch it at the light, well then it’s just a godsend, isn’t it?
Then after you get on and the same thing happens for someone at the very next light you’re silently cursing under your breath. Perspective, amazing how that works…
Thirdly, Murphy’s Law.
You can almost bet on it that if you’re rushing to get somewhere and taking the bus, someone in a wheelchair is going to be boarding that same bus. It probably takes about an extra five minutes to get that person on the bus, and another five if they happen to be getting off before you, which will inevitably be the difference between whether you’re on time or late.
I remember this one time I was running late for an appointment and as I boarded the bus I was praying for a quick crossing. Well, clearly God has a sense of humor because on that particular occasion, not one, but two people in wheelchairs got on the bus along the way.
Now just to clarify, lest I start getting hate mail, this is in no way meant to be insensitive to people in wheelchairs; I’m just using it as an example of how Murphy’s Law works. Glad we got that disclaimer out of the way.
So what’s the resolution here? Basically, if you don’t have time to waste, and actually need to plan your journey, you had better seriously consider other options.
Walk, or take the long way round to catch a train. Better yet, move.
Find a place closer to 14th or 42nd street since they are the only ones that are privileged enough to have a crosstown train.
Whatever you do, when it comes to the crosstown bus, one simple rule should apply: avoid at all costs.
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