By Shelley Fashan
Few know of, or think about, a certain community of folks - a not so secret society possessing an energy and flow all its own. These folk, the HRM Metro Transit riders, get to know one another as they travel. In my region, this encompasses travellers from the Eastern Shore, Lake Echo, Porter’s Lake, Lake Charlotte, Musquodoboit, and West Jeddore.
Every morning, either on what we call the “Early Bus” at 7:30 am, or on the “Late Bus,” at 8:20 am for the 10 route, I meet people, talk, laugh, cry and campaign with them, and find out about their small home-based businesses or who they recommend as a good landscaper. The bus is a cache of information, dependant upon the day, the time and the person sitting next to you.
I’d say it takes a good month to recognize and become part of the bus community. By that time, we start to acknowledge each other with a nod or a smile. Often, one of my bus buddies will give me a seat if all the others are taken.
These folks are probably amongst the most honest you’ll meet. They have no connection to you other than sharing a seat, so if you want an honest opinion, you’ll get it - especially if you start talking politics. This summer, when I was running for municipal office, many of the folks I met from my area loved to discuss their issues and concerns, as long as they got them aired before their bus stop. Two ladies in particular were in tune with what was happening in their communities, and proved helpful in connecting me with key contacts and organizations. I met others who were working on an opposing candidate’s campaign. I found it interesting to hear about their experiences on the campaign trail.
Some are willing to offer advice on who to hire locally to meet certain needs. As an example, a work colleague was getting married and planning a small, intimate wedding. He didn’t want to pay a big ticket catering price for his cake. I was sharing this with one of my bus buddies when a man off to the side said his neighbour had an affordable home-based cake business. He gave me her name so I could look her up on Facebook and told me I could find her at the market on Saturdays. I passed the word along to my colleague who got hold of her and he was quite happy with the cake she made.
This kind of thing happens everyday on our bus. Someone will start talking about something, like the latest technology to assist people with dementia for example, or anything else ordinary folks can come up with, and that’s what will be the latest chat on the bus. Maybe I’m just one of those outgoing types who likes to talk, but I know I’m not alone. The proof is in all of the great stories you can hear on the bus from some pretty interesting, hard-working bus buddies.