Charlie and the Bus to the Burbs

It was a windy day today in America’s windiest major city, as I waited half an hour for the bus to the suburbs. I was the only one at the stop for a while, which normally would mean I’d missed the bus, but in this case meant that the bus was so behind schedule that my fellow 8:45am commuters had caught the 8:10 sometime around 8:40, leaving us suckers who show up at 8:43 in the lurch.

When the bus finally arrived, the bus driver told us (me and some serious stragglers) what went so horribly wrong: the new CharlieCard machines have been installed on my bus route.  Now I’ve seen the dread beasties on the occasional 66, but I figured my bus had far too high a number to get Charlie’s attention so soon.

But I guess it’s not so soon anymore.  The new fare machines were so much more trouble for everyone to use, from the driver to those of us with passes holepunched onto our keychains to the poor low-tech slobs passing three dollars and change into the dollar-sucker every day, that the cumulative delay of rush hour added up to half an hour.

Keep in mind that the full trip to the far corner of the burbs takes 45 minutes (fortunately I don’t have to go that far), so the half-hour late bus I stepped onto could only have been on its fourth run or so of the day. In addition, the burb-ward morning runs are relatively underpopulated compared to the full buses coming into the city, and sometimes the bus just goes back empty and out-of-service for another burb-to-Boston run instead.

I live in fear of the day Charlie comes to the green line trolleys.

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