Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rome Bus Project, Update No. 2

Trip No. 4, Bus No. 53
Centro Storico to Piazza Antonio Mancini, October 2, 2008
Grade D-

My worst ride so far. After waiting in vain at the stop for 30 minutes, a bus company employee came over and told us that the stop had been moved to the one usually used by No. 715. So we walked over there and got on the 53.

My seat was broken. It was missing a piece of plastic right where my right butt cheek went, so I had to sort of lean left the whole ride to compensate. Gave me a cramp and may have aggravated my sciatica.

About 30 minutes into the ride, a guy two rows ahead of me suddenly looked up from his newspaper and began scanning the passing landscape, apparently looking for familiar features. Seeing none, he was bemused. Not amused. Bemused. He asked an old woman sitting across the row if this was Bus No. 715. No, she said, this is No. 53. I later checked and discovered that the 715 goes in the exact opposite direction of the 53. Wherever that guy was headed, he was gonna be very late (and not in a very good mood, either).

The route itself was nice: it wound through Villa Borghese (a big park) and past several embassies before ending near the site of the 1960 Olympics. Still, you give me a late bus with a broken seat, you’re getting a D-. In fact, this bus is lucky I’m not giving it my first F.

Trip No. 5, Bus No. 911
Piazza Antonio Mancini to Monte Mario, October 2, 2008
Grade C-

A quiet, not very crowded bus from one suburb to another. My only quibble: It was lunchtime, and several passengers were eating sandwiches and pizza. This just grosses me out. I don’t know whether there’s a law against eating on buses in Rome, but that’s beside the point, the point being: Who in their right mind would WANT TO eat on a city bus (or any form of mass transit for that matter)? Seriously, is it that much different than taking lunch in a public restroom? It’s the kind of thing there shouldn’t need to be a law against.

Wait, turns out that’s not my only quibble: Also on the bus were two teenage girls with studs in their faces and jeans that sank a little too far south of the crack line who kept spraying themselves – and, this being a confined space, everybody else on board – with perfume. Not as bad as the No. 53, but close.

Trip No. 6, Bus No. 46
Monte Mario to Centro Storico, October 2, 2008
Grade C

A very crowded bus from the suburbs to the city center. Nearly an hour-long ride through some heavy city traffic. A pretty boring ride, actually, but we did pass St. Peter’s Basilica, which, as is often the case with these things, was much smaller than I’d imagined.

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