It was on one of those rainy summer days that I first noticed it. It just stood there, in such a random place, pointing to the sky. Ugly, old, and with no purpose in life. It just… was. And from that day I have continued to see more of it in other random places around São Paulo. It was only after a while that I saw the pattern. It was always there with me whenever I was waiting for a bus. And then I got it. This object, this amazing… thing. This is a bus stop.
Whenever it rained, I leaned on it to try to get a little cover. And when the sun was broiling with its 40 degrees, I would stand behind it to get cover from its shade. Ah what a lifesaver it is for us public transport sufferers!
But just as I had noticed this piece of art, someone decides there is a need for new bus stops in the city. So one day I saw a piece of glass instead of the good old pole, right there in the middle of the sidewalk. I wondered what modern art this was and what purpose it had. Ah, but of course! These are the NEW bus stops!! Whoa, they are just so… contemporary. A true piece of modern art; well thought out, functional and just so… glassy.
The first time I used one, I stood there in total ignorance as to whether my bus would come or not. Because, just like it’s precedent, there was nothing to say what time the bus will pass, or whether your bus will pass at all. There is nothing. Just glass. It was a lovely sunny day that day. I burnt my scalp whilst getting dizzy from a heat overload. Because in São Paulo, waiting for the bus an hour in pure sunshine is nothing strange at all. Not as long as those planning the infrastructure travel by helicopter and have no concept of, or even care to try to understand, what it is like to be an average person. I might be wrong.
Ok, so I have to say that after some complaints, the bus company has now put a list of the busses at each stop. And actually there is a film on the roof to cut of the sun-rays out. But when it rains, and ooh it will rain, forget trying to get any cover. It usually rains sideways you see….
And about the timetables… I once asked what time a bus would come and was told by a member of staff that “it comes when it comes, depending on the traffic”. That’s the sad truth but thankfully it’s improving as they have created more and more bus lanes. I guess commuters feel less happy about this considering they now have fewer lanes to share.