Archive for October 2006

The Wheels on the Bus…

Home this weekend; getting back was quite the ride.

FedBus tickets sold out within a couple of hours of the last guaranteed time on Wednesday. Had to go to Greyhound.

Greyhound ticket printer at Turnkey Desk broke down – don’t know when it will be back up. Had to wait long line-ups at TravelCuts.

Friday, 1700. Now the fun begins. Large crowd outside DC, biggest I’ve ever seen. Multiple lines fo rmultiple FedBuses and Greyhound. Where one line starts and the other ends, I do not know.

Buses are late – all of them. Greyhound runs out of equipment (i.e. buses), presumably due to late buses stuck in traffic somewhere – starts commandeering Laidlaw school buses for the extra load (Greyhound is owned by Laidlaw Int’l).

5:30 bus arrives late, unable to pickup all the passengers. Greyhound coordinator on scene calls for an additional bus. It gets here at 5:50 – it’s a school bus. Coordinator hands out $5 travel vouchers for the inconvenience of a school bus. We depart.

After making a stop at Kitchener Bus Terminal (it was busier there than at UW – lines snaking in and out of the building… to buy tickets), we are on our way. Our friendly driver decides to take a detour through Guelph, since other drivers are reporting on the radio that they are stuck on the ramp onto the 401 from Kitchener, and they left hours ago!

Drive to Guelph was relatively uneventful – smooth ride all the way. Then we went back to the 401 after getting to Guelph, and it became stop and go all the way to Mississauga. Passed the airport, and missed the 427 turnoff. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as the Gardiner was packed with cars according to the other drivers.

As it turns out, our driver is not familiar with Toronto – he used to haul livestock with a truck to Toronto, but that was some three decades ago, and roads and highway ramps have since changed (by a lot). After some "consensus"-based directions from the crowd on the bus, we manage to pull over by Eglinton West subway station around 8:45, where at least half the crowd got off, including all the jerks (Throughout the ride, they’d been complaining about the school bus, the traffic, the long waits, and just about everything else that wasn’t the driver’s fault). Lawrence was also getting tired of sitting by this point, so he got off too. I opted to stay on and help the driver make his way downtown to the terminal, so I moved up to the front.

We continued along Eglinton West, then turned south onto Bathurst (which was remarkably smoother than Eglinton, or any other east-west route at the time). Once downtown, we turned onto Front, and made the usual stop by Union station, then continued up and made it to the bus terminal. As it turns out, the other buses had just arrived some 10-15 minutes ago (Apparently, there were some 8 school buses that were requisitioned for the extra runs, none of whom were familiar with Toronto. In fact, we could often hear calls out for assistance and directions sent by the dispatcher over the CB radio).

The driver tried to pay me for helping him get downtown, but the moment he went to talk to the Greyhound dispatcher, I left it on his seat (hehe). With that, I walked away, and dove into Dundas station. When I did check the time, it was already 9:30, and it would be another hour before I got home.