Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventures in Pittsburgh

Update:  So I have since learned that there was a University of Pittsburgh football game AND American Idol auditions going on Thursday, which maybe explains the cab shortage.  Okay, so I won't hold a grudge, Pittsburgh.

I mentioned it took me 2 1/2 hours to find a cab in a busy part of town during rush hour.  So obviously Pittsburgh isn't the kind of town where you can easily flag a cab.  Lesson learned.  But catching a cab at the hotel shouldn't be a big deal, right?  RIGHT

Yesterday, I had a work event at 4:30 just 3 miles from my hotel.  I went downstairs around 3:30 and let the bellman know I needed a cab.  Plenty of time.  Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  FOR TWO HOURS I WAITED.  No cabs.  The bellmen were desperately on the phone trying to track one down to no avail.  I myself called and requested cabs and nothing came.

Me (an hour and a half in):  Any luck?

Bellman:  No.  I'm so sorry.  We've been calling.  It's not for lack of trying.

Me:  I know.  It's just...this is ridiculous.  Isn't there a hotel shuttle or something?

Bellman:  Yes, but it doesn't go where you're going.

Me:  I realize, but I couldn't just get a ride?  It's only 3 miles.  I just have to get there.

Bellman:  Our shuttle is backed up, too.  I'm sorry.  I've told the manager about the situation.

Me:  There's nothing anybody can do?  A car service?  Something?  It's only three miles. 

Bellman:  Sorry.

Me:  Do you have a car?  You busy?

Three cabs came and went during that two hours.  They either had another pick-up scheduled, REFUSED TO TAKE ME BECAUSE IT WAS TOO SHORT A FARE AND NOT WORTH THEIR WHILE (!!!!), or I was forced to defer to people who had to get to the airport.  Unbelievable.  I was able to get in touch with the person organizing the event and apologize profusely for being late at least. 

Joe:  Hello?

Me:  I'm about to offer money to a stranger to give me a ride.  Just giving you a head's up.

Joe:  Maybe don't do that.

Me:  I'm desperate.

Joe:  Don't tell the stranger that. 

Finally, a cab came and off we went.

I was able to attend the event for only the last 20 minutes amid strings of apologies. 

Twenty minutes...and then I realized I needed a cab to get back to the hotel.  I called.  I was told it would be at least an hour.  I went looking for an ATM to pay for the ride back because I was out of cash since I had not expected the 3 mile cab ride to cost me $17 (what the fuck???).  I found one.  Once I recovered from the $3.50 ATM fee, I realized I was completely blanking on my PIN number.  I could not have summoned it if you paid me a million dollars.  Or if you had told me it was the secret code to making cabs magically appear.  I tried 3 times but my PIN number had temporarily left my brain. 

I called Joe.

"This is crazy.  I'm just going to walk.  Fuck it.  It's only three miles and at least I'm in flats."


"It's getting dark though.  And I don't really know where I'm going."

"Yeah, probably not a good idea."

"Shit.  I'll call you back."

I stood idiotically on a street corner for a while considering my options.  Then I spied a bus stop.

Another call to Joe.







I asked a girl waiting for the bus how to get back to the part of town where my hotel was.  She said to take any bus numbered 61.  Then she told me I was waiting on the wrong side of the street.  Thank you.

I waited and got on a bus numbered 61.

"Hello, sir.  I am not from here and I've never taken this bus.  Do I pay you?"

"Just feed your money into the money slot.  $2.50."

I took a $5 bill out of my wallet.

"You don't have change?"


"Well...ok...just get on.  Pay the driver extra next time."


I paid attention enough to realize you're supposed to pull the yellow wire going around the perimeter of the bus when you want to stop and figured out where to get off thanks to my work iPhone.  My PIN number suddenly came to me in a flash.  I scrambled to find a pen in my bag and wrote it down. 

Twelve minutes later, I was dropped off a block from my hotel.  Twelve minutes. 

I walked back to the hotel and awkwardly passed the bellman on my way back in.

"I took the bus back."

"Listen, I still feel really bad.  I'm really sorry."

"It's ok.  It wasn't really your fault."

"Do you want a free drink ticket?"


Needless to say, I did not explore Pittsburgh.  We are no longer on speaking terms.  But I will try my best to not be so fearful of public transportation in strange cities because I am a smart, resourceful girl who lived in New York fucking City and it really isn't that hard to figure out, especially if strangers and bus drivers are looking out for you.  Bellmen on the other hand could be advised to point out a bus stop a block from the hotel when someone has been stupidly waiting for a cab for hours and also could pass out a lot more free drink tickets.  Twelve minutes.  Unbelievable.


chickster said...

Was that the first time you've ever ridden a public bus???

Christina said...

No, of course not, but in New York I always had my metro card and never dealt with the protocol for cash so I just didn't know if you had to buy a card or what the deal was. Also bus routes can be a pain in the ass in cities you don't know.

jackie said...

I can't believe neither the bellhop or manager at the hotel suggested the bus during this whole fiasco. If that were me, I'd put a call into management/corporate.

It really isn't their job to guarantee you a cab, but if cabs are as rare they seem from your posts, they should really have other ideas. Like, tell you to go to the airport in an airport cab/shuttle, and catch a cab from there!!! Would have been faster :)

Anonymous said...

Isn't the lesson here to handle transportation details (at the very latest) the night before an event. You can google city bus routes or schedule a cab the night before and avoid the headaches. As much fun as it is to imagine you frustrated and dropping f-bombs over an avoidable situation, I would just hate it if ya lost the lesson..
-your loving little brother

Christina said...

Dear little brother,

Bite me.

Love your big sister