Another Saturday, another 3:45 AM alarm.
But I didn't get much sleep that night. I couldn't get to sleep in the first place. I was still looking at my clock at 11:30. Sometime between bedtime and actual sleep, in addition to the simple inability to fall asleep, I had to attend to the noisy air conditioner and Jeff, who was licking me and growling at me to let him out of the room. Then, in the middle of the night, I was awakened twice. When the compressor in the air conditioner stopped, I could hear what was going on outside. And what was going on outside that roused me from sleep, finding my ears through the white noise of the air conditioner's fan? Our neighbor plays drums in a band and they had been practicing in his basement. They were long done practicing (I think) but someone was on his front porch, right under our bedroom window, with his guitar, singing his heart out, presumably to one or more of the lovely ladies who I'd seen hanging out there earlier. Eh, can't really be too upset about that.
I woke up at the aforementioned Hour of Evil and walked to work. I was pleased to note that I was assigned a decent bus for the day. So far, so good. Then I realized that I forgot the bananas that I wanted to bring with me.
On my way out to my first terminal, I stopped at a Holiday Station and picked up a banana and an orange. Back to doing just fine.
I had a pretty good morning. There were a few more cars out and about in the very early hours, but very few of them actually got in my way. I was tired and a bit cranky, especially for the first few hours. I see I wrote in my notes that annoying people = any people
The only thing that really amused me was at the stop near Central and 4th Ave. SE. An older guy was waiting there, kind of checking out my bus. But he didn't want to get on. I had about 45 seconds to kill, so I sat there wondering what he was doing. I was just getting ready to leave when he finally approached me. He said, "My friend is supposed to be getting off this bus and meeting me here." Then he poked his head inside and looked around. "John! Get off the bus!" And John got off the bus.
And so I drove, mostly on autopilot, just concentrating on not hitting anything or anyone.
Then, on my last eastbound trip, my farebox began acting up. It didn't want to take dollar bills and it acted like it was shorting out. I called Control and was told that my relief driver would pull out and wait. So instead of a relief driver taking over my bus for me at Uptown, that driver was going to get his own bus at the garage and drive it to Uptown. When I got there, my passengers would get on his bus and I'd drive my bus with the bad farebox back to the garage. Excellent. Now I'd be done one block from home instead of a mile and a half. (Though Kassie was planning to meet me at Uptown with our car, saving me the hassle of catching a bus, then walking home.)
When I got to the terminal in NE Mpls, I saw a street supervisor. She pulled her van in behind me and walked up to the bus to talk to me. She said she planned to follow me and count passengers because she was aware that we were "working too hard out here," as she put it.
Well, that's good news and bad news. It's really nice to hear that someone cares about the conditions on the 17. But to keep it on time, or even close, I often have to, uh, bend some rules regarding speed limits and green-to-yellow lights. So I'd have to be on my best driving behavior and my relief driver would have to wait a little while for me to show up at Uptown because I was pretty much guaranteed to be late.
And then the trip went really well. The passenger load was light and traffic wasn't too bad. My farebox was completely useless, so no one had to pay. I picked up a woman in a wheelchair at 7th and Nicollet, but that only put me down about five minutes getting out of downtown. If I didn't have a street supervisor tailing me, I probably could have made most of that time up before Uptown. Instead, as we got within a block of Uptown Station, we were due to arrive about seven minutes late.
As I sat at the light at 28th and Hennepin, I could see my relief driver at the station. Then, just before I got the green, he turned off his four-way flashers, put on his left turn signal, and left!
WHAT THE ?!?
By that time, I was really, really ready for a nap. Add angry to the equation and I was not thinking clearly. I called Control, which was what I should have done. But I sat at the station, which is what I should not have done. We sat there for about three minutes while I waited for Control to tell me that I would have to keep driving. If our relief driver is not at the relief point, we are expected to continue to drive the route until someone can take over for us. I know that, so I should have known what I was supposed to do, but my muddled head prevailed. Of course, by then the street supervisor's numbers were messed up and she was kind of ticked off.
I turned the corner on Lagoon and headed west. Thankfully, when I talked to Control again, they had contacted the driver and had him wait for me at Market Plaza. I got there ten minutes later than scheduled and the woman in the wheelchair was still on my bus. So, for the second week in a row, my relief driver had to start his day about fifteen minutes in the hole. That's tough.
I got 37 minutes of overtime, but I'd much rather have had that time at home napping in my bed.
Labels: bus, scheduling dept., the 17