I had one of my regular drivers today that I hadn’t seen in a while, but he is always good for a chat. He has the kind of raspy voice that you aren’t sure has come from genes or 20 packs of cigarettes.

All short bus drivers are required to stop for train tracks, open the doors and look both ways, then close them and proceed with caution. In our case, our driver had just stopped and opened the door. We saw the train sitting to our right, but as soon as we opened the door, the train shifted and tripped the arms. There was a bicyclist who ignored the arms and crossed the tracks anyway. At least the train wasn’t traveling at any great speed, so we didn’t witness any ugly deaths.

My driver said he could see the train was trying to jump to another track, but it didn’t have enough speed. Sure enough, first it slowly pulled about 9 cars past us. Then it stopped and backed up almost all the way, but the arms stayed down. Then the train went for it again, at a higher speed. Still no joy.

We watched the train back up again. The arms stayed down. The train just sat there. We sat there. I said something about the clangers being in the key of E, for everyone get off the effing trigger. Finally the train backed up a few more feet and our driver punched it. We still had one more guy to pick up, my fellow rider had to get to work, and I had to get to a doctor’s appointment.

The short bus drivers get really stressed out because they know the company gets fined $50 every time a pickup isn’t made on time. We still had that one guy to pick up, and the train was messing with everything. The drivers make $14.50 an hour. It’s really low pay for what they have to put up with.