I Love NextBus

NextBus is a software application that utilizes GPS to track public buses. The idea is you’re in your office, or your home, and you pull up the application and check the stop on the corner and it tells you that a north-bound bus (or a south bound bus, or whatever) is scheduled to arrive in five minutes, so you grab all your stuff and you run down to the corner in time to jump the bus.

This as opposed to the old way, when you’d check the printed schedule and get out your front door to see the bus pulling away because it was ahead of schedule, or wait in the heat for thirty minutes because some asshole ran a red light on Calvert and the bus is stuck behind all the police cars and ambulances and tow trucks cleaning up wrecked cars and shoveling dead squished red-light runners out of said wrecked cars and pouring their liquified remains into a body bag.


So tonight I was “closing usher” at my part time job. This means that after all the other other hourly staff get to go home, I have to stick around on the off chance a guest’ll say, “Hey, man, I’m sweating my balls off in theater five.” This gives me the opportunity to say “Schweaty Ballz!”

Well, no.

Any case, long story short (“Too late!” I know, I know), the last show got out a few minutes early, I punched out, turned my phone off, and darted out of the nice air conditioned Cinecave into the humid night and was nearly crushed by said humidity.

(I have to get up in five hours and I’m drinking – good idea or bad? Discuss in comments. Thanks.)

I checked NextBus. It said a D6 bus was arriving in two minutes.

Here’s the thing: from the Cinecave, there are a few ways I can get home:

1. The Metro. Well, not tonight, because by the time I was out the door, Metro was closed.

2. Walking. In his humidity? It’s a three mile walk uphill. No thanks.

3. Taxi. I have no cash and I think it’s ridiculous to pay $8 to go three miles when there are far cheaper options. Also, my years working pizza delivery have apparently rendered it absolutely impossible to tip anyone — even taxi drivers — less than $5. No thanks.

4. Bus. Okay, this we can do. There are two main options here: the 42 which would take me to Adams Morgan, from where I could walk the rest of the way home (which according to Google Maps is 8/10th of a mile but doesn’t feel that long); or the D6 with a transfer to the L2 which runs past my apartment.

So, back to the present. There was a D6 arriving in two minutes. I could see it up the street. According to NextBus, there was a 42 arriving (two blocks north) in five minutes.

Okay, so I’ve got the D6. My preferred way home involves not walking a mile. So my next question is: when’s the next L2?

I checked NextBus’s favorite stop feature. The only stop I have bookmarked that services both the D6 and the L2 (in the direction of home, anyway) is 18th & K. According to NextBus, the D6 would arrive in 10 minutes, the L2 in 11.

I jumped on the D6, knowing that if I missed my connection, I’d be facing either a long walk uphill, or a long wait for another L2.

When the D6 turned onto K Street, I stared intently out the left side windows towards McPherson Square, and saw the L2 in its pre-run staging location. There was a narrow moment I was afraid my plans would be for naught when the L2 started moving, but it got a red light, and the D6 got a green, and I was able to jump off at 15th & K and snag the L2.

And it wouldn’t have been possible without the information provided from NextBus.

I realize that people frequently have problems with NextBus’s accuracy, but I think a lot of that has to do with predicting a bus’s arrival in periods of heavy traffic (so, basically, anytime after 7am and before 10pm).

Anyway, hooray NextBus, but you want to know what I should’ve been doing instead of writing this post?

Yeah, sleeping. See you in a few.

One thought on “I Love NextBus

  1. i love that i do this all the time, and pray pray pray that the next bus in my nextbus queue is a minute late. ALL THE TIME!!

    it bothers me only when its wrong and says there is a bus that is not there. when it’s wrong the other way, it’s like a little surprise!

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