Monday, November 15, 2010

Score one for Control...or maybe not?

Coming home today on the bus I was sitting next to a teenager who was pretty much in a teen coma, listening to his iPod, zoning out as one is wont to do on a long bus ride. He even smelled like a teenager. I was on until almost to the end of the line and was wondering if and how he would signal me when he wanted to get off.

Suddenly, a couple stops before my stop, there was stirring next to me. His bus card was out. He was hesitating, then moving awkwardly, he wanted out. I let him out and he quickly validated his card at the machine and sat right back down again. Huh?

When the bus doors opened, the rationale behind his actions was revealed: the doors were blockaded by controllers. Every single person getting off had their cards checked. The controllers were organized this time, systematic, no one escaped their oversight as they swept methodically through the bus.

The guy next to me was a-okay. He was so on it. I was impressed. Another guy a few rows behind was not so lucky. By the time the controllers got to him he was studiously zoning out, paying them no mind at all. The controller waved in his face to get his attention. I don’t think he had a valid ticket. Unfortunately (?) my stop came up before I could see what happened.

But what does this mean? Why wait to validate? Maybe there is a way to recharge your card for 30 rides or something and the guy next to me didn’t want to use up a ride unless he had to? He was working it and it was working for him. The mysteries of the honor system continue…

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