Last week’s Real Change column was all about bus fouls. (What can I say? It’s playoff season, and I’ve got basketball on the brain. Go Pistons!) In case you forgot to buy a Real Change last week, here’s the entry:
In the NBA, a player who commits six personal fouls is ejected from the game. A player who accumulates16 technical fouls in a season is suspended (without pay) for a game and then suspended for every other technical foul he commits (the 18th, the 20th, and so on) thereafter. If only Metro would institute similar rules for those who consistently commit bus fouls!
For those who don’t know, a bus foul is an action or behavior that negatively impacts other riders. Think of it as the bus equivalent of a party foul.
Here are some examples:
• Not having your fare ready when you get on or off. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t wait until you get to the fare box to dig through your pockets for your transfer or ask your fellow passengers for change. Get yourself together before it’s time to pay.
• Asking the bus driver for a free ride while carrying any of the following items: a four-dollar Starbucks extravaganza, an iPod, or a handbag that comes with its own registration form. It takes money to buy gas and pay drivers. If you have some, give it up.
• Getting personal with your SO. Let’s keep this simple: Hands to yourself.
• Performing beauty rituals. OK, so using a compact to touch up your lipstick ain’t exactly a crime against humanity, but since when did it become acceptable to get ready for work on the bus? If you regularly ride with a head full of hot rollers and a carry-on-sized make-up bag, you need to start getting up earlier.
• Holding personal conversations. For those of you who seem not to mind sharing your personal business with 30 strangers, please trust me on this: The rest of us would prefer not to know about the three women you got pregnant last year or the amount of money you need to borrow from your mother.
• Turning up your music loud enough to turn your headphones into speakers. Ever think you might be the only one on the bus who’s “into” Yanni? Please start.
• Opening windows without asking the permission of your fellow riders. Those of us not raised in Siberia would prefer that the bus remain at a comfortable temperature.
• Stopping the bus at a green light to interrogate the driver. Please note: The bus driver has probably not memorized the schedule of every route operated by Metro. He or she might know which bus you take to get to Federal Way, but that’s what maps, bus schedules, Web sites (transit.metrokc.gov), and rider information lines (206.553.3000) are for. Don’t have access to a computer or a cell phone? Ask someone else who’s waiting at your stop.
Too many of my fellow riders are committing bus fouls — sometimes multiple offenses in a single ride. If conditions don’t improve soon, I’ll be forced to start riding with a striped shirt and a whistle.
I was expecting to get tons of e-mail from Real Change readers about the fouls I neglected to mention, but I haven’t received even one. Luckily, I have this blog, which is all about conversation. So, all you bus-riding PI readers, I’m counting on you. Tell me about all the bus fouls I forgot. If I get enough good ones, I’ll write “Bus Fouls, Part II.”