I apologise in advance… it’s time for another tramtastic transportation rant!
Yet again, I have been conned, disappointed and disillusioned by the mode of transport that dares to call itself ‘der Bus’.
Yes. Bus would imply busy, bustling, bus-tastic. But no, der Bus is none of the things its multi-lingual name insinuates!
Twice – yes twice – yesterday, the Bus has let me down.
I had to leave work early, at a time of day when my beloved Tram 10 only runs every 15 minutes. No matter, I know that if I have just missed my Tram 10 at this time of day; I can always catch Tram 12 (not one of my favourite tram numbers, I must admit) then change for Tram 11 (better) to get to my weekly appointment.
To my dismay, I looked out of the window as I was leaving just as a tram reached the stop. Alas, it was only Tram 12! No need to worry, that means Tram 10 is on its way shortly!
I got to the tram stop. Hmmm…. 7 minutes to wait. Yes, I know in most other cities 7 minutes would be a god-send, but this is Zuri folks: we don’t like to wait 7 minutes.
So I had a great idea: why not give the Bus another chance? Note the capital ‘B’ as this is a German-speaking bus. After all, what had it really done to me apart from cheat me out of two minutes?
I wandered over to the bus stop, after all I had 7 minutes to check the timetable. 1.45pm;so 2 minutes. I may as well stay here.
Quick calculation 7 minutes (tram) – 2 minutes (bus) = 5 minutes. Normal difference in travel time to the same stop – 4 minutes = gain 1 minute. Bus takes me one stop further so less walking – 1 minute = gain two minutes.
OK, that makes sense; I’ll try the Bus. 1.45pm comes and goes. What is this? Doesn’t the Bus know the timetable says 1.45pm? This is unheard of for me as an on-time tram and train traveller! 1.46pm…. 1.47pm…
Well, that’s my 2 minute gain gone! It should still be only 3 minutes to the tram. Maybe I should walk back to the tram stop? I just take a couple of steps to try to view the screen, when lo and behold! The Bus comes around the corner!
I don’t want to do the Bus a disservice; the buses here are still very nice to look, incredibly clean, spacious and often bendy in the middle. But I could hear it come around the corner.
I ran back to the Bus stop and jumped on, just in time. The Bus doesn’t just stop – it only stops if someone wants to get on or off. So you can easily miss your chance if you’re not at the stop. Luckily the driver was a friendly sort and saw me running to the stop.
I sat down on the Bus with relief; there was still no sign of the tram, so far I hadn’t been beaten! Then the bus didn’t move: traffic lights. Damn! I forgot about those and generally buses being on the road, not on rails; so subject to other a drivers!
I settled myself in, it could be a long 11 minutes. The Bus goes a slightly different route to the tram, then joins back in to the same route near the end and drives on the tram lanes. I knew until we reached that point, I couldn’t rest: the tram could beat me, yet again!
Chug, chug, chug. Stop, start, stop. Annoying, there seem to be so many more stops on the Bus! We approached the junction. I strained my neck to see through the driver’s window: no sign of the tram. Oh no, some more red lights! And another set! Still no tram.
I started to feel a little proud of myself, the Bus had come through! I had gained 2 minutes of my life! But no.
I looked up just in time to see it. The lights changed to red in front of us – I knew it meant only one thing.
The tram was coming!
I knew I was doomed, as I saw its elegant nose coming into view; smoothly and serenely gliding on its rails around the corner RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BUS! It looked so effortless
‘Look at me, I AM the tram. I rule this road and there’s nothing you can do about it, don’t you know. Tally ho!’
The tram is obviously English (not lower case t), it doesn’t feel so pressured about being late. The tram has other things to do: like vooming and floating on air like an authoritative Harry Potter character. The tram has magic to create: taking people (on time) into Zuri, in style. No chugging for the tam, only peaceful humming.
Not only had the tram beaten the Bus, it was now dictating. We had to stop to let the tram pass. We had to wait whilst the tram picked up and dropped off passengers at the stops we needed to stop at. My 2 minute gain was dead and buried. I had now lost at least the same!
To top it all off, the Bus stop turned out to be 50 metres further away from my destination than I had thought: an extra minute.
I reached my destination 3 minutes late – the Tram would have got me there right on time!
I’m not even going to go into the second time in the day; I will just say ‘Why do I never learn? And, why do I forget that Buses get stuck in traffic?’. A 5 minute journey home turned into 15, but by then I had just given up.
Moral of the story? Yet again: take the tram! Though I just realised, I am a bit late. Which means I might have to get the Bus 😦 .