Monday, December 5, 2016

A Long Cold Bus Ride

Yesterday, I did my daily public bus ride into Wiesbaden.  By mid-day, I'd finished up my business, and was ready to take the bus's a 25-minute ride.

For those who aren't aware....temperatures over the last couple of days have dropped.  By mid-day yesterday, it was -3C (26.6 F).   Yeah....fairly cold.

So I stood and waited ten minutes for the bus.  It arrived and I entered the forward part of the double-bus.  It's a bus unit with an extended trailer attached onto the rear.  Wiesbaden has a lot of them.  You can haul roughly 100 people with this type of bus.  When you look at it.....there's really two cabins, and this middle "hall" where four to six people could stand between the two bus units.

I board in the forward area, and it's really max'ed out....every seat taken and three or four people standing.  I look toward the rear cabinet.....just five or six people there....tons of empty seats.  I make my way back there.

Oddly, as I pass this middle "hall", there's this change in temperature.  The forward part of the bus was probably around 16 to 18 C (62 F)....decently warmed.  The rear of the bus....-3 C (26.6 F).  No heat.

This is one of those nit-picky things on public transportation in Germany.  It's possible to enter a bus or train in the summer, with the temperature soaring well above 33 C (91 F) and find that the AC units just aren't chilling and that you've got maybe 30 minutes before you start to feel some element of heat exhaustion.  Or, you can ride the public buses or trains in mid-winter, and discover that the heat units aren't working with the temperature below freezing.

I figured I could survive the 25-minute ride.   Then we took off, and you could feel this breeze going through the cabin of the bus.  Chilled air coming in.  No windows open.  I'm at a loss to figure out what's open and allowing a fair amount of air into the cabin area. Yep, -3C (26.6 F) and a breeze.  Through town, it was bad.  Then we left the city limits and the bus picked up steam.  By minute 20 of this experience, I finally got up and moved toward the front of the bus where it was still fairly warm, and just stood there for the last bit of the trip.

It's a somewhat rare experience....maybe once or twice a winter, you go through this.  In the summer, maybe once or twice a will experience the AC breakdown episode.

Some people will probably note that they've ridden Bulgarian buses which simply had two buttons....absolute maximum a toasty 33 C (91 F) in the winter (where you sweat in December) or absolute maximum air conditioning at a chilled 18 C (62 F) in July (where you need a jacket on a really hot day to survive the bus ride).

These are the little things in life that you tend to notice.  Thirty years ago....none of the German buses had AC units, and half had some minimum heat function that gave you the barest essential element of heat....just enough.

Thankfully, some warm front starts to move through tonight, so I won't have to think about this much.

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