>Transantiago woes, or how it took me 1 hour to get home last night

>I have a love hate relationship with Transantiago. Yesterday it was all about hate.

My class ends at 6:30, and usually if I let them go a little early and book it to the metro, the lines aren’t that bad and the trains only get really crowded at Pedro de Valdivia station where everyone and their grandma gets on. But yesterday I kept my kids (ha…they are all older than me) until 6:30, then chatted with my friend E. for a little while, then got distracted by blueberry muffins at Castaño and waited in a long line to buy them, and by the time I got down to where you swipe your BIP! card, it was CROWDED. The lines to put more money on your card were at least 20 people deep and the lines to go through the turnstyle were about 10-12 people deep. Ridiculous! I considered turning around and going to take a bus, but I was lazy and figured I’d tough it out like a real Santiaguino.

Well, Santiaguino I am not. I squished myself on to the train. We got to Los Leones, miraculously three more people managed to sqeeze on, which left me in a very uncomfortable position (think, sandwhiched) in front of a middle aged man and an old woman. I literally could not move. We got to Pedro de Valdivia and a couple people got off, which obviously meant there was room for five or six more people to get on. Then we waited. And waited. And then the driver came over the loudspeaker and appologized for the wait. Usually right after that, they close the doors and get going. Not yesterday. We waited and waited. Then the voice came again and applogized for the wait and said something unintelligable about an accident and the emergency break. So I thought that after the second announcement they would close the doors and we’d be off. Nope. I am a claustrophobic person by nature, but usually the metro doesn’t bother me as long as we’re moving. But standing still in that hot hot hot train with no airflow, I couldn’t handle it. So I shoved my way past the old lady and headed for fresh air.

I forgot that around Pedro de Valdivia the bus stops are NUTS. There must have been 60 people waiting for one bus. But somehow I managed to get on and again squeezed uncomfortably between two people. Because the micro was so full, the bus driver only stopped to let people out the back door but there was no way I was going to get that far back. So when my stop came, I asked him to open the front door. He said no way, that people were going to try to get on and there was no room. I told him that I couldn’t get to the back door and that he had to let me off. So he begrudgingly stopped one block later and let me off.

So you may think that I was home by now. Nope! One more micro. This one wasn’t as crowded and I safely arrived at my doorstep, one hour after starting my journey.


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