Riding on city buses is for me an adventure. I look at the people outside on the streets and the ones inside. If the bus is crowded the driver will shout “Move to the back.”
The passengers in front dislike this command. It means playing the excuse-me game while jostling and being jostled by others. Animosity is on everyone's face. It looks like a chain gang as they do the bus shufﬂe towards the rear.
At each stop it starts all over. The lucky passenger by the window has to anticipate his or her stop and negotiate a strategy of moving to the aisle to exit. This usually requires a stronghold of your belongings, which could be either packages, a baby, a stroller, umbrella, shopping cart, using a cell phone in the process. I recently saw a woman jump from her seat at the last minute, rush to the door while talking and fall off the bus. Good riddance.
It has come to my attention, as much as I do love my ride, it has become hazardous. Too many shopping carts, walkers that are not closed by their users and stick out, as well as people that cross their legs. Sometimes I feel that those unfortunate ones who are in wheelchairs that come aboard at least have the security of having their chairs afﬁxed to the ﬂoor and a ramp being lowered to ascend and descend.
Now, dear members of the bus authority, including the design team, have you ever been on a bus and attempted to exit in back? Because if you did, you would take all the buses, pile them up and shoot out the doors that tell you to press the yellow lines which automatically open doors so passengers can alight. This is a process that requires the agility of an Olympic jumper and the grace of a ballet dancer. I try to get behind a tall person who can push the door and I can follow. If this ruse doesn't work, it's up to me to do the work.
The following has happened to me during this maneuver. I almost fell into a snow bank, tripped over my legs while grabbing anything in sight, almost lost my arm as door was closing too soon, and my wallet was stolen out of my handbag on an Amsterdam Avenue bus while struggling to get out.
How this occurred was a mystery. I was sitting between two nice middle aged housewifely women holding on to my bag. As I got up and pounded on the door to get out, someone got their paws on my wallet. I ﬁnally found myself on the sidewalk intact but penniless.
The 24th police precinct was helpful but helpless. Whoever heard of a wallet being found and returned.
Please, Mr. Bus Authority, hear my plea, get rid of those unwieldy steps in the rear of buses, get sliding doors that open (as in subway trains) and forget about yellow lines (as in The Wizard of Oz).