Since there is never a line formed as people wait for the bus, try to let the people who were waiting longer than you get on before. This is a silent agreement between the folks waiting for the bus. Some people break this silent agreement and cut in front of the line.
Sometimes if the bus stop is very crowded you will have to just claim a spot. It is civil enough. I have never seen folks fight about it, though it sometimes gets tense.
There is no single spot you can stand and know the bus will stop directly there. It depends on the driver.
If you are waiting at the bus stop alone never wait by the actual bus stop sign, that is a sure way to get the bus to drive right by you. Instead, when you see the bus finally coming try to make eye contact w/the bus driver through the window and nod. You can always wave like crazy to get the bus driver’s attention, not too maniacal or they won’t want to pick you up.
Do not read the arrival times posted at the bus stop to get an accurate idea about what time the bus is going to come. The buses come five minutes to half an hour of the time posted. A book to read or electronic distractions are highly recommended.
Sometimes two or three buses will come at the same time, go to the third bus because that bus will have the least people in it and will probably be the best smelling.
On the bus
There's a 50-50 chance the fare box will be broken. You don't have to pay. Take it as a tiny little gift.
The fare box likes to eat nice, crisp dollar bills. If your quarters have lint they will be spat out and then you have to stick your finger into a dusty wayward coin catching box and redeposit your change. Don't be like some people who put twenty pennies in fare box.
$3.50 buys you a full day of passage on the rolling circus called the MTA.
When you get on the bus you might have an easy time- not too crowded- a smattering of seats. Don’t take a seat next to anyone talking/singing to themselves, talking on a cell phone, leaning over or wrapped in a cloud of funk like Pig Pen.
If the bus is super crowded- suck in your butt, suck in your gut, hold your purse and say “excuse me” as you squeeze through all the people crowded in the front part of the bus.
Hold the pole so you don’t fall. Keep your balance like an urban surfer.
If you happen to find an empty seat towards the front of the bus give it up if a person with a baby, elderly person, handicapped person, pregnant woman get on the bus and there are no seats.
Usually you will find a seat in the very back where the guys with the tattoos on their faces sit.
Ring the bell by pushing the yellow tape or by pulling the cord to get the bus to stop at your bus stop. Do it as the bus pulls out of the last bus stop. Your timing must be impeccable-if you ring the bell too soon it won’t register for the next stop, if you do it too late the driver will assume no one wants that stop and pass your bus stop right by. If the bell doesn’t work yell, “Next Stop!” at the top of your lungs.
Hello! I am a Haitian American writer and visual artist.
My writing has been published in various anthologies and literary journals. My collages have been been exhibited in galleries, libraries and cafes throughout New York and Maryland.