Edward F. King, director of Transit Services for the Big Blue Bus, tiptoed around one large problem experienced with the Big Blue Bus and GLOW.
My wife and I did spot one of the very small notices, taped on the narrow wall behind a driver on one of the buses. We don’t do social media, and we do read a local newspaper every day. We decided to be good citizens and not try to drive, but take the No. 8 Downtown for the show.
The bus arrived on time at 31st and Ocean Park; the trip down started in a reasonable way. The more riders got on, the worse that element got. We never did understand completely what the driver was shouting. No PA system? No electronic billboard? The driver was reduced to having to shout — over the noise of the bus and passengers. Whether anyone not directly in front could hear that things were different on this night, we can’t be sure. We didn’t see any handout, nor any notice on the outside of the bus nor the entrance that might have given riders a clue. Did no one figure it would be dark by the time passengers got on?
But we all duly arrived at the location for the shuttle. And there, in the middle of the darkness, with a hundred people or more milling about, there was a grand total of two BBB employees trying to tell people which shuttle to take. One had a loudspeaker of some sort, but again, shouting seemed to be the order of the day.
We never heard a decent explanation of what each of the two shuttle routes promised (and the map provided wasn’t much help). We never heard which of two corners we should stand on to wait for the shuttle we wanted. And after watching at least four buses pull up, offload passengers, then drive off again without taking anyone on, and without any explanation, we said, “To hell with it” and grabbed a bus back home.
This is the second time we gave BBB a chance on a special event. It may well be the last.
After living with public transportation in Frankfurt, Germany and Tokyo decades ago, we still have to view BBB as an in-joke, as rank amateurs playing at pretending that Santa Monica is interested in welcoming tourists and transporting them and its own citizens around conveniently.