Winnipeg Bus Stories is a place to complain and to share your weird stories and experiences while riding our expensive and inefficient means of public transportation.
From Uptown Magazine, March 2011:
"If you spend any time riding on a bus, chances are you’ll be able to relate to the tales of random couples fighting, homicidal texters, the drunk transfer thief and the old guy who eats a giant brick of cheese for breakfast which have been recounted on the recently launched blog, Winnipeg Bus Stories. It might not always be efficient or glamorous, but public transit can be your own personal reality show if you give it a chance."
From Winnipeg Free Press, June 2011:
Local bus blog details the stories -- from silly to sordid -- that take place between stops
By: David Sanderson / Fare Play
"And cellphone talkers," says Larsen, who teaches public relations and advertising at the Princess Street campus. "Especially the ones who loudly announce the route for you: 'I'm on Osborne... I'm on Graham ... I'm on Main Street.' Seriously, do I really have to listen to this conversation?"
From time to time, Larsen muses about his bus misadventures at school. Like the incident that will forever be remembered as "Face in the Butt."
Once upon a time, a woman was boarding Larsen's No. 18 bus. As she got to the top of the stairs, near the driver, she dropped her bus ticket. Naturally, she bent down to pick it up.
"There was a guy getting on directly behind her, but he was busy talking to someone behind him," Larsen goes on. "Unfortunately, he turned around at the precise moment she bent down. So for what must have seemed like hours, his face ended up directly in her rear end." (Which raises the philosophical question: would you rather be the butt-er or the butt-ee?)
At the end of class, one of Larsen's students told him he should submit his tale of whoa to a blog devoted to all things Transit Tom.
"Yeah, Kenton's is one of my favourites," says Jaimz Asmundson, the curator of Winnipeg Bus Stories (www.winnipegbusstories.com), a five-month-old website that chronicles the good (a Weakerthans video shot entirely on a Winnipeg bus), the bad (a self-explanatory yarn labelled "Brick of cheese for breakfast") and the ugly (see: Face in the Butt) of making your way around town, one transfer at a time.
"I used to post my own stories on Facebook, usually prefaced by 'You won't believe what happened on my bus today...'" Asmundson says. "After a while, some of my friends told me I should start a blog and I figured, 'Why not? I can't be the only one who's seen weird stuff on the bus."
He isn't. Within days of launching his site, Asmundson (bus of choice: Portage/Polo Park) heard from a rider named David, who wanted to share the legend of "Thong Head." To make a short story shorter, a female rider on David's bus was searching through her purse, trying to find her cellphone. Instead, she found a pair of thong underwear, which she proceeded to wear like a tiara until she reached her stop.
Asmundson says most of the stories he receives are along those same lines. (Oh really?) "I mean in the sense that they have a beginning, a middle and an end. I actually expected to get more rant-type emails, like 'Don't you hate people who can't figure out the yellow stripes, on the back door?' or 'Don't you hate people who won't give up their seat for an older lady?' But that hasn't been the case."
All submissions go through Asmundson. Stories get categorized with Twitter-type hashtags like "sleeping," "annoying people" and "crap." The 30-year-old filmmaker won't publish anything racist, and he shies away from stories that mock less fortunate types. And although names are taboo, Asmundson did make an exception in the case of one Winnipegger who has achieved icon status for his habit of airdrumming along to whatever's playing on his Walkman while he rides the bus. ("I've always wanted to play for a band, but I've never found one to get into," the "Bus Drummer" explained when a blog contributor approached him in March to ask why he's been keeping the beat on the bus every day for some 12 years.)
Asmundson has a ready response when the topic of privacy is raised. "I don't think we're invading anybody's (privacy)," he says. "The bus isn't your home; if you're on there and you're drinking or causing a ruckus, and somebody wants to talk about what they witnessed, you deserve it."
Turns out there are lots of deserving folks, both here and abroad. Besides Asmundson's, there are like-themed blogs in cities across North America, including Seattle (Bus Stories: Observations of Life in Transit), Detroit (Detroit Bus Blog), and San Francisco (Muni Diaries). Devotees of the Minneapolis-based domain Bustales.com can even purchase T-shirts and pin-back buttons featuring that site's logo.
"I do have some stickers that I made myself, and a friend of mine who runs a music store asked about shirts, but aside from that, I don't know where this is headed," Asmundson says. "Maybe a three-panel comic-strip, maybe a book...there are a lot of possibilities."
When Asmundson is asked whether it's possible he'll ever run out of material, he shakes his head. "The bus is such a microcosm of society. Every hour of every day, you've got a mix of people from different classes, different cultures and different backgrounds, all crammed into this one small space.
"It's no wonder that somebody always seems to crack under the pressure."