Abandoned by the Bus

Generally I am happy with OC Transpo, although I do find the fare ($3.35 with the Presto e-purse) is getting quite steep for the 7 km I am sitting in the bus. I should really buy a bike one day. But last night on the bus commute home though it was one of those days.

Bus after bus. Not.

Waiting at the bus stop last night, based on the Busbuddy™ app, I was expecting an #86 bus in a minute or 2 and another in 3, and two more in 4 minutes and another handful in the next 5 minutes. Bus after bus showed up on Albert at Kent, but no #86. Another two dozen buses came and went and still no #86. Finally we saw one #86 approaching and a whole bunch of commuters start to line up. But to no avail as the bus blew by, packed to the rafters with passengers.

O well, for sure, the other six #86’s would soon show up.

Or so we thought.

We all moved into position to enter the bus, but it blew by, packed with people - photo: Hans on the Bike
We all moved into position to enter the bus, but it blew by, packed with people – photo: Hans on the Bike

By the time half of us had no power in our smart phones left, the next #86 finally arrived, only the second one between 5:15 pm and 5:39 pm. We had been waiting 24 minutes by now. And no, there wasn’t a snow storm. But there was the bus. Finally.

Stuck!

The bus is spinning its wheels in the slush and we decided to get off and walk.
The bus is spinning its wheels in the slush and we decided to get off and walk. Photo: Hans on the Bike

After a lot of pushing and shoving, everyone fitted in (Please people, learn to move to the back of the bus on your own initiative) and off we went. Six kilometers (4 miles) and 25 minutes later, after picking up more people and letting others off, the bus pulled into a bay on Fisher.

And it couldn’t get out of it anymore.

It took a minute before we started to realise that the bus wasn’t moving but only spinning its wheels; the windows were so dirty we couldn’t see outside. The only reference was a street light. We figured that as street lights generally don’t move at the same speed of a bus, we must not be moving. There was also a funny smell entering the bus, that smell when you car brakes are nearing the end.

The walk home

Only the last part of the path was cleared along Fisher, up to the fire hydrant.
Only the last part of the path was cleared along Fisher, up to the fire hydrant. Photo: Hans on the bike

We decided we might as well get off the bus, at least it would make the bus a tad lighter. We walked down Fisher, southbound.

About 300 meters down the road a packed #86 bus barrels by, 2 minutes later another 3 #86 buses plus one out of service pass us and another #86 one 50 meters behind them. Since we were walking half way between 2 stops, the mostly empty buses passed us.

Finally the latter one stopped for me spontaneously and gave me a ride for the last 500 meters. The incredible good humoured driver told me he was very frustrated as he was 30 minutes behind schedule. “It’s the bottleneck at Laurier towards McKenzie King”, he said.

The #86 does a crosstown ride coming from Elmvale acres, through downtown all the way to Baseline Station: the proverbial milk run, but trying to get through downtown in rush hour.

Bus after bus passing us and only this last one stopped for me and let me off on Fisher at Baseline. Thank you friendly bus driver.
Bus after bus passing us and only this last one stopped for me and let me off on Fisher at Baseline. Thank you friendly bus driver. Photo: Hans on the Bike

With one more kilometer to walk into the neighbourhood, I arrived home at 6:30 pm, a good 80 minutes after I left work. Did I say it is a total of 8 km (5 mile) commute? That averages out to 6 km/hr. (4 mph)

I could have walked this. It was only -7C/20F after all.

Update: the day after, we had a free ride. It I don’t know if that was compensation or a faulty card reader.

It could have been a lot worse though:

4 Comments

  1. -7 C. That’s level 2 winter cycling to me depending on the wind direction and speed.

    I love this time of year. Every day is brighter and longer.

  2. And we will never know exactly why… I’ve also done the “walk the rest of the way home” thing, and greatly miss my bicycle!

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