Most of you dudes know I split my time these days between school in Ann Arbor and home in Chicago. The best way to get back and forth is Megabus, which I took yet again today.
(For anyone interested, here’s a quick cost-benefit analysis of the transportation links between Ann Arbor and Chicago:
- Megabus – Cost averages $25, mostly comfortable, takes 4.5 hours including stop for food — though sadly, only at Hardee’s. Nasty.
- Amtrak – Cost is $29 on weekdays but $75 on weekends. Most comfortable option, but delayed so often that it averages six hours per trip.
- Driving – Cost depends on MPG (about 3/4 tank when I take the VW) but you can’t really do any work. Takes about four hours, and you then have to find parking.
- Greyhound – Hellz no.)
To finally get to the point of my post, today we hit the food break at the Love’s truck stop — the one with the Hardee’s — at mile marker 110, which not only has just one fast-food option but also plays Fox News in the dining area. (Megabus used to stop at the truck stop in Sawyer, Mich., which has a Popeye’s, BK, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Express. Now that is a quality junk-food spread. I think Love’s must have started paying them to subject us to Hardee’s.) I ate a Thickburger anyway and we left 30 minutes later.
Next up was the exercise in group morality: The driver came on the intercom about 20 miles past Love’s and announced that a passenger was left behind at the truck stop. Whoops. The driver had made several announcements when we stopped that everyone had to be back on by 3 p.m. EST, but whoever this person was somehow failed to note the time. The driver initially said he was going to turn around despite his anger and pick up the person, which would have resulted in us being about 40-50 minutes late in arriving. A bunch of passengers told the driver to keep going anyway — because hey, screw that anonymous guy — so he then announced he was not turning around.
I and the passengers around me found this a bit heartless — anybody who plans an urgent event based on a bus’s on-time arrival is an idiot — so I went downstairs and told the driver he should go back, and despite us both being pissed at the passenger, I could tell he felt the same way. He went on the intercom one more time and said he was turning around, but then enough people howled in protest that we ended up heading to Ann Arbor as scheduled, leaving the unknown passenger to fend for him/herself until the next Megabus comes through. With that bus not leaving Chicago until 4:45 p.m. CST, that comes out to an almost six-hour wait at the truck stop if there isn’t some other ride available. Ouch.
So what was the right course of action? After all, the passenger was at fault for not paying attention to the multiple announcements about being back to the bus on time. How would have you voted? Drop some ethical knowledge in the comments section and let me know. Also, give me a ride next time so I can avoid these philosophical quandaries.