thinking about buses
I just finished watching Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere for the umpteenth time and what struck me this time was the role of city buses and drivers in the film.
Emayatzy Corinealdi's character, Ruby, rides the bus to work and to visit her spouse who's in prison. She spends lots of time riding on buses, waiting on buses and socializing on buses. David Oyelowo's character, Brian, is a bus driver.
It made me think of the many hours I've spent on city buses and how I generally prefer the bus to the subway. And it made me think of bus drivers, especially during the 1970s and early 1980s when I rode the bus to junior high and high school. The bus drivers seemed to love their jobs, were quite chatty and had their own special hand signals they used to salute other drivers.
According to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Washington, DC became the first city in the U.S. to institute an exact fare only policy on 4 August 1968. Before then, bus operators would provide change for riders. However, an apparent rash of robberies pushed the union to demand this new policy.
Image source: Ad for Bus Operators, Evening Star, 1 January 1968, p. 58.