January 24th, 2007

MBTA Quarter

Great Moments in T Bus Driving

Most of the T bus drivers I've seen in Somerville are okay folks. In the past few years I've had some interesting conversations with a few of the local drivers on the 90 and 88. This morning, though, I watched a real winner on the 94 forcing the car ahead of it to break the law.

It happened on College Ave, heading in towards Davis. The traffic was stopped at the red light and backed up all the way to the library. There was a compact car in the left lane at the corner of College Ave and Winter Street (the one-way that goes between the Store 18 and the block with the realty agency and Nick's Deli-icious.) The car was stopped at the legal stop line well ahead of the vehicle in front of it, keeping the intersection free for anybody who needed to turn onto Winter Street. Only problem was, the 94 bus was behind this car and was growing impatient in the face of the red light.

It began to honk at the car. First briefly, then consistently. It wanted the car to move ahead and block the intersection, even though there's a sign right there on the corner that says DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION. Cars travelling north on College Ave who want to make a left onto Winter will often find jackasses blocking the intersection, and they hold up traffic behind them while the southbound traffic clears enough for them to make the turn. The compact car was obeying the law and following the rules and keeping that intersection clear, but this wasn't good enough for the 94 bus. It leaned on its horn as it loomed behind the tiny car. The compact driver finally relented and pulled ahead into the forbidden spot. This pleased the 94 bus, for it quickly swung out into the right-hand lane and sped over to the Store 18 stop.

I realize there's commuters on that bus waiting to get to the bus stop. But the bus has to obey all traffic laws to get to that stop -- and it certainly can't force other vehicles to break the traffic laws. And honestly, if it knew it would have to get to that bus stop, it should've been in the damn right hand lane to begin with.

I feel bad for the driver of the compact car, who was unnecessarily hassled and forced to do something they didn't want to do. In the grand scheme of things this isn't such a bad infraction, but it's bad driving habits to begin with and shouldn't be encouraged. I don't know if I'd have felt annoyed this way towards the honking vehicle if it had been like a regular pick-up truck or something, but it did rub me the wrong way this morning.