I was a few minutes late but even though I was on the opposite side of the street I got lucky: the bus had passed the designated stop but was at a red light. I ran across the street and tapped on the door. Inside I could see the driver shaking her head and saying something. I couldn’t tell what she was saying, though, because the door was closed. The light changed and she drove on. The bus had pulled away from the curb–what there was of it, since construction had blocked off the sidewalk, forcing me to stand in the street—so letting me on would have broken the rules.
As a regular bus rider I recognize certain drivers. Some of them even recognize me which always surprises me because even on a regular route a driver must see dozens, even hundreds of different people every day, but that’s another story. Maybe she recognized that I didn’t regularly try to break the rules. This was an exception, not the rule. And technically the rule is that you can flag down a bus at any intersection. She had pulled away from the curb but letting me on would have really bent, not broken the rules.
I know the rules are there to keep people safe but there has to be room for extenuating circumstances and even compassion, no matter how small. And, as I said, I recognized this driver. She regularly lets people stand in front of the yellow line at the front and talk to her while she’s driving. On long stretches where there are no stops or intersections she still creeps along in the right lane so she’s usually behind schedule. And if there’s construction near a stop–if it’s fifty or a hundred feet ahead of a stop–she won’t come to the stop but will only let people board fifty or a hundred feet behind the stop. She’s emphatically stated that she won’t stop the bus anywhere near construction. That last one isn’t written anywhere but is her own self-imposed rule.
At least that used to be the case. I haven’t seen her in months. Maybe somebody reported her for breaking the rules.