Saturday, August 20, 2011

Riding TheBus

TheBus is the primary means of public transportation on the island. With gas high as a cat's back, it makes much more sense to ride TheBus than it does to drive your car. We have never used TheBus and decided we really ought to figure it out. With that in mind, we took a field trip with our friends to go ride TheBus into Honolulu and back. We have friends who know how TheBus works so I went to them to ask all my questions - "Do you use tokens or money?" "Do you pay the bus driver or put it in a machine?" "How do you know which bus to get on?"

Then we went out and promptly did everything wrong.

We got to the bus stop a little early, but our bus arrived early as well. Because I was unsure exactly how this worked, I assumed the bus would wait until its scheduled departure time so that no one would miss their ride to work.

That is incorrect.

Our friends were pulling up as the bus started to pull away (five minutes early) and we all had to run waving at the bus to make it stop and wait for us. This apparently makes bus drivers grumpy (for the record, we were not the only ones running for TheBus).

You do not pay the driver, you put your money in the machine while the driver stares straight ahead and ignores you when you say hello. Have exact change. (I'm not kidding - have exact change.) The fare was $2.50 for me, $1.25 for each kid. You use money, not tokens. It can take bills, not just change.

We sat right up front not realizing that those seats are saved for the elderly or handicapped. Apparently you are allowed to sit in them if they are open, but if someone gets on who needs them, you are required to give up your seat, which is as it should be. I told my kids that if a senior citizen or handicapped person got on, we'd better be the first ones up offering our seats. Manners are manners.

I saw a sign up near the ceiling which shows all the things not to do on TheBus. I noticed that it said no eating or drinking on TheBus. Because Ben will be taking TheBus a lot this year, I pointed out the sign to him so that he doesn't grab a drink on his way to TheBus one day.

"Look," I told him, "It says you shouldn't drink on TheBus."

"Yeah, it says you shouldn't urinate on TheBus either," he replied.

There was also a sign warning not to hug the driver.

Our friends, before we noticed the sign about no drinking, were passing a water bottle back and forth. Drivers get grumpier about this. We weren't trying to break rules, just honestly didn't see the sign at first.

As we got closer to our destination we noticed people getting on and getting a pink transfer ticket. While we were stopped, Lisa asked the driver about the tickets and he wouldn't look at her but grumpily replied something none of us could understand.

We realized we might be able to use those tickets to go back home without paying a separate fare for the ride so we each (all seven of us) asked for one as we got off. We realized after reading the ticket that you are supposed to ask for one as you get on TheBus. Our driver really didn't like us by that time.

The transfer allows you to ride without paying again if it is within two hours of boarding TheBus. Which was great for us as we were just turning around and heading back home.

While we had been able to sit on the way to Honolulu, we had to stand on the ride back home. That bus was full. An elderly couple got on TheBus at one stop and the driver announced, "We have two senior citizens who need seats." I wish we had had seats because we would have given them up immediately. As it was, no one else offered their seats. There were already quite a few senior citizens in the reserved seats, but there was also a man younger than me, as well as a woman with bright orange hair, bright orange lips, and bright orange nails with her ten-year old son (both of whom would have done well to burn off a few extra calories by standing rather than sitting) who did not offer up their seats.

Lisa asked the kids who were with us, "If an elderly person gets on TheBus, what should you do?"

"Um...get off TheBus?" one of them answered.

"NO. Just offer them your seat!" She also mentioned that they should offer seats to any female or anyone who looks like they might like to sit. Right on!

So our first bus ride was informational. We learned what not to do, but we learned what to do in the process. Now, if necessary we can get around as needed for a lot less than the cost of driving ourselves!

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe the young man and the orange-haired lady didn't offer their seats. Their parents should be ashamed.