Houston Metro, How May We Disgust You?

I’ve ridden on the Metro systems of the world; New York City, Washington D.C., Paris and Mexico City.  One day I hope to ride on the most beautiful Metro system in the world, the Moscow Metro, but I digress.  Houston Metro has to be, by far, the worst Metro system in what is rated as a World-Class city.  Sure, we have highways that are 20 lanes wide…and constantly choked by traffic, but what good is a city that cannot move it’s citizens around in a expedient and efficient manner?  What’s the matter with the Houston Metro, you ask?  Oh well, let me tell you!

Let’s just ignore the fact that the entire system is perpetually late, that trains have to stop for cars and that it is considered normal operating practice for buses to run as much as 30 minutes late, let’s forget all about that…instead, what follows is a one day account of riding Houston Metro…

I’m waiting at the corner bus-stop, as I do every morning to get to work.  I’ve gotten used to the fact that the bus never arrives at its 7:14 scheduled time, and instead always shows up at 7:20.  Granted six-minutes isn’t a big deal, but when that means you’re six minutes late for your train that means the difference of showing up 15 minutes early, just on time or 15 minutes late…do you begin to see the problem already?

The bus shows up with our usual driver, a kind fellow – unlike most drivers.  I go to take my normal seat across from the back door, but I notice that it’s wet.  Wet actually doesn’t beging to describe it.  To be perfectly blunt, there’s a puddle square in the middle of it.  Uppon closer inspection, it is urine…yes someone peed on the bus…I look down at my feet, sure enough, there’s pee on the floor too.  Luckily I don’t eat breakfast before I leave the house, so there’s nothing to vomit when I start to heave.  I take a seat across the isle from a very well dressed black woman on her phone.  I notice her because the other day she had on a dated, but classic outfit.

We start bumping along the way and stop to pick up the next passenger.  She’s clearly unwell.  She’s talking to herself, arguing with herself, confused by her surroundings, but she’s not disturbing anyone or any real danger.  I thought that, like me, everyone else would allow her to do her thing and let her be in peace – I felt sorry for her.  Then the well dressed black woman laughs…and it all goes downhill from there.

To clarify, she wasn’t laughing at the sick woman, she was laughing at something someone said to her on her phone.  The schizophrenic woman jerks around and says, quietly, “don’t be laughin’.”  I glance up from my book for a moment, then get back to reading.  I figured that everyone else on the bus was a rational individual and noticed this woman was clearly troubled, but I was wrong.  The black woman starts:

“Ex-Cuse-Me?  Whachu say bitch?”

Oh Christ, I certainly didn’t peg her for being like that.

“I…I said don’t be laughin’.”

Ugh, just let it go, why would you antagonize someone who’s ill?  But no, she can’t let it go, she has to look tough, stupid, stupid, stupid.

“I be on my phone!  I be laughin’ when I wanna laugh, don’t be tellin’ me what to do.  Dis bitch up in here frontin’ with the wrong bitch to-day!”

Wow, I’ve never seen someone go so ghetto so quick…other than Tyra Banks.  So needless to say if one person escalates, what’s the other person going to do?  That’s right!  The sick woman gets up and starts screaming at the supposedly non-sick one, they get face to face, just next to me.  I’ve given up reading about the collapse of the Soviet Union and start to pull out my cell phone to call the Metro Police, since the bus driver isn’t doing a damn thing but watching and saying “yall need to stop, yall need to calm down.”

Finally the bus stops, we’re only about 10 blocks from my house.  I’m freaking out, I’m waiting for someone to pull a knife or a gun or something, and briefly I wish I had a damned gun.  I can’t make my exit through the back door because the two women are directly in my path, I can’t even get up.

“Ima whoop yo sorry ass, biiiitch, don’t FUCK with me!”  This is the non-sick one.

“Don’t you talk to me like that!  Let’s go!  Let’s role!  I’ll take you down!  C’MON!  LET”S GO!”

I call the cops, give them our location…then finally the bus driver chimes in “One of you needs to get off the bus, now!”

One?  Just one?  Hell, let ’em both off!

“I ain’t leavin’ this mother fuckin’ bus, tell dat bitch to get off.”  Can you guess which one this is?

Finally the ill woman gets off, screaming about how she wants her buck-fifty back and how the bus driver is gonna pay…I’m kinda let down someone didn’t get stabbed, but also glad that I didn’t.  I talk to some of my coworkers about the drama when I get to work, aparently this isn’t an unheard of event on Houston Metro…

Billions of dollars, and billions more approved for more metro.  How about Houston spends those billions on making the Metro they have at least run right and run safe?



  1. MMMMMMy, oh, my. I would have to change my underwear if I was in the middle of that mess. By the way, did the police ever show up????? Hope your workday went better than your stressful commute…..
    Even if the metro system tried to run in a safe way, don’t forget- Murphy’s Law.
    Keep safe and keep a lookout for Aretha Franklin’s Inaugural hat- I would love to have a replica of that hat, but don’t accost anyone trying to get one for me…..

  2. 1.) No the police didn’t show up because we got under way before I got off the phone with them, so I let them know that…though one would hope there’d be incident reports for these things.

    2.) That hat you speak of is sold out…and it’s only in replica form from a milliner in Detroit…glad to see SOMEONE in Detroit has business

  3. I just may call the millinery shop….wow, I thought those shops were gone long ago. I guess the African Americans still enjoy shopping in a hat store and wearing hats to church and of course when they sing….Hallelujah and Amen!
    Marive, without a hat….

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