Waiting for the bus that never stopped

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tunnel
The light at the end of the tunnel: walking under the Rio Hato airport to Santa Clara.

Sunday bus service can be bad,
but this was truly ridiculous

Running ever so slightly late to be in Santa Clara for a 3 p.m. appointment — out the door at about 1:20 and no wait at all for the mini-bus to the highway. At the bus stop on the Pan-American Highway at 1:30, and then the wait begins. As 3 p.m. approaches, a call to the person I was to meet — but insane traffic and crowds at the bus terminal make her late, too. Coming out from the city, there were several bad accidents slowing things down. But the heavy traffic going toward the city, with buses all packed and even those that weren’t refusing to take a passenger who wasn’t going all the way into the city? It was the sort of thing that one expects on a Sunday at the end of a holiday weekend, buy why this Sunday?

As 5 p.m. approached, your editor did what he could have done hours earlier — got on a Penonome to Farallon minibus, got off at the entrada, and walked the couple of miles or so to the designated place in Santa Clara. That stroll was instructive about Martinelli-era construction work. Yes, there is a pedestrian walkway on one side of the tunnel under the airport — but between the bus stop and the walkway one must walk either on the road or in a ditch that’s perilously close to the road and is likely to be the stuff of which traffic fatalities are made. Just past the seafood market — closed on a high-traffic Sunday when a lot of folks might be interested in picking up something for dinner on their way home — there is a bridge over the little stream that separates Rio Hato from Santa Clara, with a safety walk on one side. The other side of the road from the walkway in the tunnel. There is no pedestrian bridge and the highway is divided by a deep ditch that’s overgrown with weeds. Thus, the walk across the unprotected side of the bridge, with maybe a foot and a half between the pedestrian and traffic. Perfect design, if the goal is to build as much as possible as quickly as possible and skim as much as possible from the transactions. Typical design, in a country where those who use public transportation and pedestrian walkways are not those who make the decisions and those who do decide have utter disdain for those unlike themselves.

 

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