It is a bus line that traverses the city from east to west. Not necessarily in that order. Good old number seventy seven. It also runs twenty four hours a day. More or less. It covers the whole range of income, gender, status, ethnicity, and temperaments.
First we can dismiss the thought that upper income folks ride public transportation especially at times that necessitate twenty four seven operation. Not that the reclusive millionaire doesn’t reenact the prince and the pauper for themselves in stealth and subterfuge from time to time. Mostly it is the hoi polloi served up on public transit with an extra portion of polloi added for good measure.
But this particular bus line meets up with two very distinct rail lines in it’s sojourn across the urban landscape.
The first line is an elevated, archaic, end of the century before last century metal stilt line. Sure they have renovated the station. Quite nicely I will add. But when the bus pulls up here it is every person for themselves any hour of the day. People crowd and jockey for position to be the first on the bus. Usual the most skilled at this maneuver also stop in the front of the bus to block the way for more adventurous rear of the bus passengers like me. Usually I am rewarded with a seat after clawing my way past the sheep who crowd the front and back door for protection, or whatever delusion they imagine this part of the bus affords them.
As the bus wends it’s way on a straight line across the city it gains some riders and loses some riders. Whether by attrition or desire to alight we end up at the newer, circa late nineteen sixties subway “plaza”. Plaza used loosely. It was the late nineteen sixties after all. But a newer station and less rowdy part of town.
Miraculously and inexplicably passengers on this stop line up nicely, politely, in response to an unspoken, as far as I have ever ascertained, rule and board in an orderly and respectful fashion.
It is remarkable.
I am sure it happens elsewhere across the city. But it always happens at this stop. No direction or signs direct this action. Same make up of people of all sorts. Now less rowdy area may be a factor, but this phenomena does not regularly occur in even the most gentrified interior and outlying areas of the city with such consistency. To the contrary, gentrification and it’s accompanying entitlement often prove the inverse.
It just happens like that here.
It briefly restores my hope for our species.
Until the first ones on the bus here huddle at the front door and block the aisles for the rest us us wanting to move to the back.
But it is public transportation. A fare for all and no fair for anybody.