Friday, 16 August 2013

Being decanted

The red bus, second on the outbound journey, first homeward bound is scheduled to run every ten minutes.  That is to say miss one red bus and the next one will be along in ten minutes, not that the full route takes ten minutes to travel. 

Now as previously noted ten minutes is not a fixed concept when waiting for the bus but it is not too long when the buses can have delays. So bus one is delayed by a few minutes here and there, now it is picking up the passengers that meant to catch it and those a little early at their stops for the next bus.  So it is delayed a little more at each stop to let the passengers on.  The next bus is catching up as it has less passengers to stop for.  You can get the two buses which are supposed to be ten minutes apart one just behind the other.

In order to get back the separation and get the timetable back on track the drivers both stop at the same place (they prefer a stop with room for two buses without blocking the traffic) and decant the late bus into the on-time bus. The late bus then turns and starts back over on schedule and the on-time bus finishes the route to the correct terminal and turn point.

No one likes this process, shifting from one bus to another is an annoyance and if you are on the second bus, this hitch step is likely to delay that one just a bit.  Just a bit can be just enough to miss your connection if your journey does not end on the red bus.  As a regular I have been through this process so many times I can just about predict when it will happen and am less than sanguine about it.

However, the other day as we pulled into the interchange and my bus stopped, the driver getting out of his cab and starting to say "can you please get on the bus behind", I was moving with some resignation before his finished his instruction.  Resignation turned to surprised delight when I realised that for once the decanter into which we were being poured was not another red bus. Rather it was the black, my next bus which I had expected to miss, this time the much disliked process had worked to my advantage.

Off one bus and onto the next with no waiting at all, the best of results. I shall view being decanted will a little tiny tinge of hope in the future for similar benefits.