2015-11-06 / Letters

Ride the bus

To the editor:

I have always encouraged residents to take the bus, but recently, I have fully embraced this myself. A part time job takes me to Congress Street a few times a week. After numerous Portland parking tickets and increased frustration, I took the bus. Sometimes I walk from home to the hub and other times, leave my car in Mill Creek. On nice days, I walk home across the Casco Bay Bridge, grateful for this wonderful city. With this, I have come to know a few things.

First, there is a whole culture to riding the bus. Riders become familiar and friendly. The drivers know you as well and greet you with a pleasant and warm familiarity. It is relaxing, easy and affordable. My mind drifts on the brief ride, and I have memories.

My dad was a local bus driver when I was a child. There were times when my mom needed a break and she would say, “go ride your father’s bus.” My brother and I would walk to the corner as I pushed along my doll carriage. My best friend, Cathy, would come too. We would ride for hours … Old Orchard Beach to Saco to Biddeford … repeating the loop over and over. Sometimes we were treated to an ice cream at Puritan’s in Biddeford or a slice at Bill’s Pizza in Old Orchard Beach. My dad knew every passenger, greeting them by name, and he entertained all of us with his famous stories of the Lone Ranger, Tonto and Silver. It was a magical time and the hours passed without notice. I recall this with deep fondness. My dad was paid 60 cents per hour.

As I ride today, I remember this. Every South Portland driver is friendly and pleasant (Roland is my favorite, as we chat from my front seat, but all are truly wonderful), and every ride is done with skill, care and attention. I thank every bus driver for taking care of me on my rides and for reviving some of my fondest childhood memories.

Take a ride, you will not regret it.

Rosemarie De Angelis South Portland

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