The 1-mile per hour transit ride

I live 4 miles from downtown. I went to dinner downtown with some of my colleagues. I turned down a ride as nobody was going in my direction.

I left my cell phone in the office. This was a terrible tragedy.

Went to Union Station, got on the purple line, went from Union Station to Wilshire/Western. I got off, waited 30 minutes for Metro Rapid bus.

Onboard, the changable message sign does not flash the next stop. No, it flashes super-useful information, like the date.

The bus driver, who is supposed to verbally announce the stops, doesn’t. I miss Crenshaw and Wilshire and finally realize this when I see La Brea pass. Damn! I pull the cord. It’s an express, so it finally lets me off at Fairfax.

Now, in theory, that’s my fault. But having the date instead of the next stop is truly useless in every possible regard. Oh, there’s the date. How splendid. I can now write checks on the bus and be sure I have used the proper date.

I get out and cross the street to get on a Metro 720 bus eastbound. I wait 20 minutes for that.

I ask the driver as I get on: “Do you stop at Wilshire and Crenshaw?” “Yah” he grunts.

How jolly.

Again, no next stop information on the changeable message sign, which helpfully shows me the date and time. He doesn’t announce it either.

So I stand in the center aisle hunched over looking at the street signs in the dark as they whiz by.

Aha! Wilshire and Crenshaw is the next stop. I reach to pull the cord, but somebody is reaching faster than me, and they get to it first.

The bell rings. The sign says “Stop requested: please use rear door exist.”

Alrighty! I can use the rear-door exit. It’s my favorite, in fact.

But, alas, the driver slows down for the stop at Crenshaw, sees the light is green, and then accelerates past the stop without stopping or opening his doors.

Me and 4 other people yell “WTF?”

The next stop is Wilshire and Western, where I first alighted the 720 an hour ago to trundle along the same stretch of Wilshire BLVD twice.

Third time is the charm. After another 20 minute wait, another 720 comes, and I pull the cord immediately.

He stops! It’s magical.

We get out. I walk over to the Metro 710 sign. A nice lady says to me: “That doesn’t run at night. You have to take the 210.” There is not a single map of the route posted. There is not a single schedule posted. Were it not for that woman, I would have had no way of knowing that the 710 doesn’t run at that time of night because waiting an hour for a bus is not unusual in my experience.

During this time, I have not seen a single taxi.

So I go stand at the 210 station. It is pitch black except for headlights on Wilshire and some sad streetlights.

I wait for 45 minutes. I see a taxi coming, but the 210 is right behind.

Eh, I think. I’ll save the 10 bucks and take the bus. I let the taxi go by.

I look up. The 210 bus now says “Not in Service.”

I utter words you can not put on a family blog and I turn around and walk 1.7 miles from Wilshire/Crenshaw home, to Crenshaw on Washington, at 10 o’clock at night.

As I turn the corner from Crenshaw& Washington, 500 yards from my house, a taxi turns around and says “Honey, let me give you a ride. You don’t need to walk in this neighborhood at night.”

My travel time: approximately 4 hours.