We need to talk about the bus

I don’t hate many things, but I hate the 473T-10 bus.

I’ve been taking the 473T-10 for months now, and I still have no idea when it will arrive. Google Maps tells me it runs every 20 minutes. Lies. I’ve often waited an hour for this bus. Google also tells me it arrives at 4:25 pm. More lies. I’ve seen it pull up at 4:35, 4:45, 4:55, sometimes 5:10, all in the same week. The most frustrating part is that the bus ride itself only takes about 15-20 minutes (10 minutes at night when the driver goes at the speed of light) but I can spend a good hour and a half simply because of the wait.

I don’t have it so bad, though. I don’t have kids that I need to bring to school. I don’t have a physical disability that would impair me from standing at the bus stop for an hour. I don’t have multiple jobs in one day that I need to get to on time. I don’t feel unsafe waiting at night to go home because I work in an area that is lit and has plenty of people around.

The recent wave of protests in Brazil successfully pushed city governments to nix the 20 cent hike in public transportation, but, just like this post isn’t about the 473T-10, it’s not about the 20 cents. In a city of 11 million people, it is unacceptable for a bus to run once an hour at erratic times. It’s unacceptable that there is no reliable source to tell passengers when to expect the bus. It’s unacceptable that at night a person needs to hang on for dear life or risk getting injured because the bus driver is zipping through and making sharp turns on streets that are in desperate need of maintenance. It’s unacceptable that it costs R$3 (1.35 USD) to ride a bus in São Paulo, considering the minimum wage is R$755 (350 USD) per month or R$25 (11 USD) per day.

The protests have largely died down in São Paulo, which is disappointing. There is still a lot of work to be done.

A mute city does not change.

A mute city does not change.

Rio Gringa has an excellent post chronicling her rush hour commute in Rio de Janeiro. It’s not dissimilar to a commute in São Paulo.


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