I'm going to take a minute here to eviscerate the B61 city bus line. I know it's off-topic, but I don't care. This sorry-ass excuse for mass transportation has it coming.
I live on the B61's route, which is long and connects many neighborhoods, from Red Hook to Long Island City. This bus has a schedule, which can been seen in printed form at various bus stops through the city, as well as in handy pamphlets and on the MTA's website. Whether any of the B61 drivers have ever read it is doubtful. Whether or not they care that there is a schedule is not in question: they don't. The B61 comes when it comes. During the weekdays, that's supposed to be every 10 minutes—often enough for even the busiest lines. What you get in reality is one every 20 or 30 minutes and then—the B61 drivers' favorite trick—three frickin' buses in a row, following each other like duckling, the first filled to the brim, the second two utterly useless, holding a rider or two.
Every patron of the B61 has seen this phenomenon at least once a day and gritted their teeth in fury. It happens like clockwork. One person told me it's not the driver's fault—the route is too long, there's too much potential for delay as they travel through Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn. To which I say: too fucking bad! It's your route! Learn it. Master it. Get it right. It's not rocket science to keep ten minutes between you and the bus in front of you. Brooklyn has traffic; figure out how to handle it. I have the chance to observe many bus lines in my daily life. Never once have I seen a B71, B63, B75 or B77 following by two empty examples of the same stupid bus. Only the B61.
And then there are the drivers. Stone-faced, sullen, indignant, unapologetic. They talk back to riders when they complain about the service. They never smile. I've seen them park the bus and get off to talk with friends without explanation when there was no cause for a break in the scheduled.
This morning I staked out my place early at a B61 stop, arriving at 8 AM to get to a 9:30 AM appointment in Manhattan. The 8:14 did not arrive. Then a completely full bus passed me by at 8:10. The 8:24 bus did not arrive. Another bus did not show up under 8:35. It was also full to bursting, but did stop. The driver continued to pull over at every stop even though there was no room in the bus. When he drove quickly over a pothole with a mighty "crash," someone in the huddled mass said, "I think you broke something in the bus." He replied, "I ain't broke nothing. There's too much weight on this bus. Why don't some of you get off?"
"Why don't some of you get off?" Well, driver, why don't you show up on time? Why don't all your friends show up on time, so each bus is evenly populated? Better yet, why don't you shut the hell up?
UPDATE (9/25/07): I read today, in AMNY, via Curbed, that the MTA plans to extend the schedules of the B61 and B77 to service IKEA. So a crowded bus will become more crowded. Nice work, MTA! Oh, well. Maybe something will change now that yuppies, and not just the working poor, experience what a sucky line the B61 is. Maybe, at the bequest of IKEA, it will become a tiffany line.