Public Transportation

Public transportation around here looks pretty well done.  There are an incredible amount of buses anyway.  I checked out their website, and it looked like the cheapest and easiest way to use the system was to buy a Go Card:

GoCard

Process is simple enough.  Buy a card, add money to it, tap the terminal when you get on the bus/train/ferry, and tap a terminal when you leave.  7-11 sells the cards, and I already found that.

My goals today:

  • Get a Go Card
  • Figure out how to get to the Koala sanctuary
  • Meet a koala

Turns out the Go Cards themselves cost money, $10, and then you have to add money to it.  I figured $50 would cover my transiting needs.

They have handy website that lets you plot a “journey” so was easy enough to figure out how to get to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  Walk to the bus stop, sit on the bus until it gets there which is maybe 40 minutes or so.  Cost $3.96.  That was more affordable than I was expecting.

I found the bus stop no problem and got on the bus.  That is when I realized two somewhat important facts:

  1. I have no idea how to raise the “Let me off!” signal.
  2. I have no idea what the bus stop looks like.  Not like the train where it calls out the stops; plain old bus, you have to know where you want off and visually recognize it.

I have not been on a bus since they had those cords that ran the length of the ceiling that you pulled on to signal the driver to let you out.  So I am staring at the ceiling, no cords there.  I sat at the front of bus, thinking I had to spot my stop and I wanted to see where we were going.  Noob-theater for everybody else who went to the back of the bus.  I am sure I looked utterly fascinated with the bus when all I was really doing was looking for the escape switch.

I do eventually notice there are red buttons all over the place.  They do not say anything though, at least not that I can see.  Given the volume of them, I am starting to feel confident that is what you do.  For all I know, those are the emergency stop buttons and all the windows pop out when you push them.  I admit that seems unlikely, especially given the number of them, but I don’t know what it is going to do.  Again, my choice to sit up front was probably a poor one; I either have to stare at everybody sitting in the back to see what they do, or roll the dice and push the red button.

We start getting close to the sanctuary and I start getting anxious.  I was using google maps to see where we were.  I have no idea what the stop looks like.  Maybe I should ask the bus driver?

Bus drivers around here are surly.  Maybe bus drivers everywhere?  Maybe my sample size of two is inadequate to make that judgement?

I admit I was kind of enjoying his surliness until he turned it on me.  One guy whistled to get him to open the center bus door.  He really did not like that, refused to open the door, and made the guy walk to the front of the bus to get off as he lectured him about how that was unnecessary.  I agree, was pretty rude.

Next some ladies were walking in front of the bus, but at a pace that would take them the next five minutes to transit, so he holds the horn down.  Again, pretty funny, and pretty on point.

I can see the sign that says, “Do not talk to the drivers while the bus is in motion.”  I bide my time, figuring we will hit a red light and I will rush over, explain I am stupid and do not know where to get off the bus.

I am pretty sure he agreed with me, I am stupid.  I ask him if he could point out the stop to me and he looks annoyed that I am even talking to him.  I forget exactly what he said, but his tone implied I should have ridden a shorter bus.  Something along the lines of (read with extreme condescension), “I think you will know it when you see it, and everybody else left on the bus is probably getting off there.”

I am not really sure if he answered my question there; definitely does not feel like he was inclined to provide assistance.  I just wait for the mass exodus and hope my herd instincts are on point?

Well, the bus drives right into the koala sanctuary, so yeah, I recognized it, but I did not know that.  It could have been a stop on a normal street where you had to walk a block or something?  How would I have known something like that?  He could have just said, “The bus drives into the sanctuary,” and been done with it, nice and polite?

Learned my lesson though; the driver is there to drive the bus, not be helpful.

On the return trip I avoided driver-wrath, but some lady with a kid in a stroller did not (different driver).  She gets on the bus, moves the stroller to the side, there is an area for that, and sits down.  The bus doesn’t move.  Then he starts saying something about moving the tram all the way to side — pretty sure he kept saying tram and it was confusing me.  He repeated this three times, getting louder and louder.  I looked at the stroller, that had to be what bunched up his panties as that is the only thing that has changed.  As far as I could tell, she did have it moved over.  She tried harder, it maybe moved an inch closer to the wall which satisfied him and we continued.  It was not the request, it was how he said it that just felt a little uncalled for.

I learned a new word:  “pram” must have been what he was saying.  I have never heard that before.  My guess is that pram-operator also had not heard the term, because she looked really confused.

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