Sunday, April 09, 2023

Foo-tography: I am waiting for a bus


Digital picture of a couple waiting for the bus in Pacoima.

(Steps on soap box) I don't miss waiting for the bus. That act was a big part of my life and in many ways, it led me to pick up my bike because I got tired of waiting on late-night buses after getting out of evening classes in community college. Still, I remember how nervous and intimidated I was when I took it by myself to it becoming almost a second home on account of how much time I would spend on it getting around town. Since picking up photography with more intention, I caught myself noticing all the different pics I've taken of bus stops and people waiting at bus stops. In February of this year, the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies put out its study analyzing bus shelter provision in Los Angeles County, with a focus on how extreme heat impacts riders. If you haven't seen the study, you should, lotta amazing data and analysis that breakdowns what anyone who rides the bus regularly can speak to, it can fucking suck waiting for the bus on a hot summer day. And that's the problem. We are living through changes in weather due to global warming and that has resulted in extremely hot days. 

As the study points out, Metro and the ad agency it hired to install shelters, benches, etc. at bus stops have done a poor job of supporting riders. Waiting for the bus on a hot ass summer day with no shade went from being something that sucked to something that can kill you. And since people don't wanna die, a lot of people have stopped relying on public transportation for as many different reasons as there are people. As a former bus rider, the answer to me is simple in that Metro and all the other agencies in power need to support the people who rely on public transportation. If they dedicated their money and efforts to addressing the problems everyday bus riders face like more frequent service, shelters that provide cover from the elements, and a humane response to people that are houseless rather than funding more police, more people would be taking public transportation. It's all connected,  like some kind of Metro ouroboros! Anyway, here are a bunch of pics I've taken of people waiting at bus stops. (Steps off soap box) 

All pictures were shot on film unless otherwise noted. As you'll notice almost right away, quite a few of the pictures were possibly taken while I was waiting for a red light at an intersection. I can't remember where I was every time I snapped the shutter, screw that noise. I'm really drawn to the energy that collects at bus stops and there is something stoic about how people look waiting for the bus. Their eyes straining, hoping to see a glimpse of orange coming their way on the far-off horizon. And so you continue to wait there listening to music, reading, or looking at something on your phone until you glance off into the distance again, wondering when the bus is going to arrive. Waiting.