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Riding the Flex

Riding the Flex

Mystery solved. People really do ride The Flex on the Outer Cape.  The windows of the shuttle buses are tinted dark.  I couldn’t tell if the buses were Flying Dutchmen, empty ghost ships doomed to cruise Rte. 6. What’s an inquiring mind to do? Hop on.

I rode last Friday afternoon from Provincetown to Orleans and back. The trip took three hours. That’s roughly twice the amount of time it would have taken by car. If I’d driven, I wouldn’t have met any of the interesting characters I encountered on the bus. On the other hand, I would’ve missed the German couple snogging all the way and their humiliated teenage daughter…and that would’ve been OK with me. Really.

Of the more intriguing passengers: an elderly, wheelchair-bound Wellfleetian taking a painting class in P’town for the week; a car-free German mom and her son staying in Truro heading for supper in Wellfleet; college-aged Bulgarians spending the summer working at Ocean’s Edge Resort and touring about the Cape by bike and Flex; previously retired workers currently employed in Orleans who ride and socialize on The Flex year-round; a Wellfleet teen on The Flex to Orleans to buy wrist braces at the CVS; two outgoing developmentally disabled guys who ride the Flex between Wellfleet and Orleans during the week for their jobs; a Cuban staying in Truro on his way to Provincetown for the first time.

Riders seemed genuinely happy to have an air-conditioned, motorized mode of transport at their disposal.  They wished The Flex would run every half hour rather than every hour.  They would prefer the bus stuck to its schedule.  It’s often late by as much as 40 minutes.  They thought it would be best if The Flex kept to its early and late hours throughout the year, not just in the summer.  But, they said, it was hard to complain, given that they could ride the route as far as they wanted and get off wherever they chose for just $2 (75 cents for seniors).

The Europeans and elderly said they’d rather ride the bus than drive their own cars.  But the teenagers…they all wanted wheels.  One young guy said he’d only been riding for a week, since his car had died.  Would he keep riding The Flex once the car was fixed?  “No way,” he said.  “Are you kidding?”

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