I don’t think I’ve been more giddy about taking the bus home. Because last week I didn’t take just any bus. I rode one of the new double-deckers that AC Transitdebuted this year. I felt like I was eight years old again.
In the mid-1970s, my family lived in Hong Kong, and one of my favorite memories was taking public transit everywhere, shuttling across the harbor to Kowloon via the Star Ferry or riding the iconic red two-story buses all over the island. I loved riding those buses. My dad would take me up the steep steps to the top level, while my mom and baby sister sat below. And from my perch, I’d soak in the city above and below me as the driver navigated the monstrous coach through the crowded and narrow streets. When we moved back to the States, riding the bus was one of the things I missed. And if we wanted to ride a double-decker bus, we’d have to venture to a tourist destination and jump on one of the city tours.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to return to Hong Kong for work. I was 40 years older, but it felt like yesterday when I boarded a classic red double-decker in Wan Chai and rode it out to our old home in Repulse Bay. I remember thinking how I wished we had this kind of transport back home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
So when I learned AC Transit added double-deckers to its Transbay fleet, I was thrilled – even if I only have occasion to take the bus to the East Bay bus once a month! And what a ride it was. I snagged a seat in the first row of the upper level, trying to keep my excitement under wraps. I nonchalantly scrolled through email on my phone as I waited for the bus to depart, looking furtively at the other passengers around me, also with heads down staring at their phones. But as soon as the bus left, I noticed people looking up, taking in the view. And then like me, we all started surreptitiously recording video as we rolled along the bridge, even on this rainy and fog-filled night. I wasn’t the only one who found this new bus a thrill.
Just one more reason to leave the car at home.