“In case I get hit by a bus…” has long been a hyperbolic farewell refrain in my family, as in, “In case I get hit by a bus, don’t forget to pay the taxes.” Or, “In case I get hit by a bus, pick up your shirts at the dry cleaner on Thursday.” It’s an exchange meant to shroud an unthinkably serious message in levity. As if to say, with all of the newfangled, terrifying dangers in the world, how unlikely any of us might get taken out in a dull, clichéd way that involves a bus!

But that was before we moved onto a bus route, and before the morning dog walk turned into a game of chicken as we try to cross the street with a struggling, aged lab who does not always make it to the other side of the road in the amount of time allotted by the light. We were reminded of this earlier today as the impatient driver of a D.C. Metro bus decided to swerve around a car that was attempting to make a left turn at our busy intersection, and then plowed through the light tilting at such a precarious angle that it appeared as if the entire speeding enterprise might careen onto its side—onto us.

We haven’t paid much attention to busses here on Alternate Sides, but that’s not for lack of headlines. Here’s a random sample of local bus news in just the last three weeks.

  1. A Metro bus burst into flames on the Capital Beltway last week near Springfield, and now 99 busses of the same type have been pulled from the fleet.
  2. A Metro bus burst into flames in a commuter parking lot in Anne Arundel County in late August, causing damage to about a dozen vehicles in the immediate area.
  3. A school bus caught fire in Southeast D.C. at the end of August. Children made it off the bus safely and there were no injuries.
  4. Six people suffered injuries in an accident between an SUV and a Metro bus in Northeast D.C. on Tuesday.

Be careful out there.