1. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

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    Public Buses

    Discussion in 'Research' started by LMThomas, Nov 19, 2016.

    Hi, guys,

    I am writing a horror short story set in a gas station on a mostly wooded state road set somewhere like upstate New York, Western Massachusetts or Northwestern CT. The road is mostly empty, but is a major route between fairly large towns. The main character has no vehicle of his own and is working a nightshift. He's working like 8pm-6am. I was wondering if there was a realistic way for him to get there. Ideally I'd love for it to be a bus service, but not sure if areas like that have buses that run through them. And if they do have buses run through, if they run that late/early. It's okay if he's coming from a city, but important that the gas station is in the middle of nowhere.

    I thought of Uber, but that might be expensive for someone working at a gas station.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It might not be a municipal bus, but could it be a longer-distance bus (like a Greyhound or whatever) that would make a special stop at the gas station?

    It's been a long time since I was on a bus, but back in the day the drivers were pretty flexible about stuff like that.

    Or you could add some characterization and have the MC be a friend of the bus driver - the MC could be an asshole who befriended the driver deliberately and doesn't pay a fare and doesn't care if he's putting the driver's job at risk, or he could be a sweet guy who gets along with everyone and has people happy to do favours for him...
     
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  3. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts. Do greyhounds run late in areas like that? Do they have designated stops, or do you have to call for them to pick you up?
     
  4. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Greyhounds have stations from which they leave. Unless the driver was a friend of the guy working, and this is a pretty big ask, he wouldn't stop at the gas station to pick someone up from work. Not only that, but it wouldn't be the same driver every day. They go all over the country and it's not the same driver driving the same route each time.

    Greyhounds do, however, stop at different places to the people riding the buses. I took one from Omaha to Phoenix a few years back and I think we stopped like six or seven times in various places to get food, restroom, etc.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    8pm doesn't seem too late, to me. Or maybe a commuter bus of some sort?

    And when I was taking them there were depots - in the cities it'd be an actual bus station, but in smaller towns it could be anywhere with an easy pull-through parking lot - the donut shop in the town I used to live in was the Greyhound station as well. And in the city I grew up in you could catch the bus at the main station without calling ahead or anything, but they'd also pick you up at a few places on the way out of town as long as you called ahead to arrange it.
     
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  6. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    I rode a greyhound years & years ago. You write about riding a greyhound bus, you've got your horror story. And that's the honest truth. I don't remember why I was on it. But all I can say is the strangest people ride cross-country buses - some of them just for the ride & they keep switching & circling. I bet it's even stranger now.

    And now that I'm thinking about it I remember taking notes & planning to write a sort of diary of that harrowing experience. But I never did! I wish I had.
     
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  7. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    Greyhounds aren't public buses, are they? Like in a city? Maybe. Thank goodness I don't know!
     
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  8. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

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    hm, i don't have to go into too much detail about the actual ride. It's just a short story. do you guys think it's out of the realm of possibility that i just say that he was dropped off there by a bus at 8pm and will get picked up at 6? would you read that and think "there's no way a regular bus route runs through there at those times"?
     
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  9. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

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    for some reason i never thought buses run through rural roads like that in the first place...
     
  10. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    No. I wouldn't.
     
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  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If it's on a route between a couple good-sized cities I wouldn't question it. Those are reasonable times for commuter buses to be running, albeit at the late end of one day and the early end of another.
     
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  12. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    This thread makes me want to remember more about my experience. If you don't mind ... I remember there was one couple who took up 4 seats. They made a little tent out of a blanket. Had meals on a little table. At nap time (;)) they'd pull out their little traveling pillows & yell & scream cuss words at anyone who woke them up. I am not kidding you!
     
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  13. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

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    Definitely sounds like there's a story that could be made just on a public bus!
     
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  14. cydney

    cydney Banned

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    Yeah! I'm remembering more (thanks!) but I'll not belabor this thread anymore. Much enjoyed!
     
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  15. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If it's big enough to have a gas station, it's not, like, a tiny country road, right? If you're picturing a sort of dirt-road single-lane backwoods thing, I agree that the bus wouldn't go there, but I'd have trouble seeing the need for a gas station, either.
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Is there a reason it has to be a lonely wee gas station? If it were a 'road stop,' offering food, etc, the bus might very well stop there regularly, if it's far enough between cities for the driver to need a break. I rode Greyhounds a lot when I lived in the States, including one cross-country trip and one across several states. They stopped every few hours (maybe 3 or 4) to give the driver a break. However, if you're in an area where towns are pretty close together, this might not work well. I'd investigate this, though. Maybe look at any bus services that aren't Greyhound? That might work.
     
  17. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think there is much public transportation in the country. I grew up in the country and there certainly wasn't in north eastern Pennsylvania.

    How long are you expecting the bus to be there? Most charter buses only stop long enough to get gas, for long trips they often have multiple drivers who switch out so they don't really stop and sleep.

    Is the bus all that important, can it be a truck stop? On highways, truckers pull over to the side or go to a rest stop, but in the country, it's not uncommon to see a few dozen big rigs parked in front of a diner or gas station overnight.

    How old is the character and how rough is the terrain? Lots of times taking a dirt bike or ATV over mountains is a much more direct path than any road to get to work. Could he afford either of those? Say your character lives on one side of a mountain and the gas station is on the other. There might be 30 miles of country roads to get from one to the other, but with a one mile dirt ATV trail over it.
     

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