How to ride the bus

No car = no worries.

Don't whine to me about traffic, jacked up parking fees, and hiking a mile from your car to your venue. Take the bus. The international folks seem to have no trouble with mass transit. I'm guessing it's the U.S. born who are wigged out by the process. Here are some tips:

* No, the driver can't break your bills. Have change (no pennies) or singles. (A single one-way trip is 50 cents, but give the driver a dollar and he/she will give you a pass for 24 hours of unlimited rides.)

* No, the driver can't console you while you stand on the curb clutching your twenty.

* Bus drivers don't have telepathy. If you want them to stop, it's good form to wave at them (like hailing a cab). It's also good form to shake your head "no" if the bus coming up to your stop is not the one you want.

* Buses only stop at designated bus stops. If your corner does not have a bus stop sign, or your bus number is not listed on the sign, the bus won't stop....unless you're on crutches or in a wheel chair.

* Get a map. The bus driver is driving, not noticing that cute little coffee place next to the quaint hotel on the other side of the river.

* When you pour your change into the fare box slot, sometimes the coins slip through (like in a soda machine). Get the escaped coins just below the coin slot (like in a soda machine) and re-load. Singles should be as smooth as possible and loaded face side up, looking toward the bus driver....I think. Check the graphic on the fare box.

* Signal the driver you want off by pulling the cord, pushing the red STOP button, or calling out, "Next Stop."

* Don't leave your SXSW flyers, free mags., stickers, gum wrappers or any other crap behind. It's just not nice.

* The front seats should be relinquished for the elderly, disabled people, and I would add, pregnant women or parents with small children. Remember, not everyone is in town for SXSW. Some people actually live and work here.

* It's okay to play your ACCOUSTIC guitar. Singing is not. The first is charming, the latter is creepy, unless there is at least three of you singing really, really well. I don't know why it just is.

* The regular buses stop running around midnight, but a few Night Owl buses can still get you relatively close to your house or hotel.

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