Tag Archives: buses

Philly Urban Legends: The Wandering Bus

There is a bus in Philadelphia which SEPTA does not talk about.  It is not listed on the website.  It has neither schedule nor route.  It drives the city in a pattern known only to its driver, and perhaps not even to him.  Its electronic reader board never displays a number, only “SEPTA.”  People who know it call it the Zero, the Random Bus, the Wandering Bus, or just The Bus.  It is not a bus for people who know where they want to go.  It is a bus for departures.

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A Few Thoughts Related To Buses

1) I’m not easily riled-up, but blocking the box at an intersection gets me reliably angry.  People who creep through to gain that extra 20 feet of road, and block the perpendicular traffic lanes, are the worst kind of self-centered city denizens.  I feel such behavior is grounds for vigilante tire slashing. 

…EXcept when the offending vehicle is a bus I’m currently riding. 

Then my bus driver is my traffic advocate, aggressively pursuing my interests in a borderline lawless system.  He is a mercenary I’ve hired to clear the path between my work and my happy hour meet-up, and well, I’ve hired a giant metal shipping container with wheels and so lady in that tan Subaru best watch out because we’d win that collision.

2) Buses are a lousy way to get through Center City because there is a stop at every corner, and a light at every corner.  This means the bus misses every single light.  In bad traffic, you progress at about the speed of a firm walk. 

What if buses stopped at every other corner?  People would only have to walk one block, tops, to get to a stop.  And the buses would go a lot faster.  If you work for SEPTA, and you’re reading this, seriously think about it dude.

3) Lastly, Desert Bus For Hope is one of my favorite charity drives ever.  It’s over now, but you should still check it out for amusement’s sake.  In short, the idea is that four guys from a sketch comedy troupe play the most boring video game ever (seriously, it’s awful), and people donate money to make them keep playing it.  This year they played it for more than 5 consecutive days and raised $200k for Child’s Play, which is another great charity if you’re looking to help sick kids.