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How to Make Waiting for the Bus Feel Much, Much Shorter

Transit users often feel like they're waiting about 50 percent longer than they actually are.
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Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives

The wait for the bus is the worst wait. It's worse than the wait to get to the front of the checkout line at Trader Joe's – there at least the endgame is within sight. It's worse than the wait at the doctor's office, where someone has thoughtfully provided magazines and betta fish and soothing music. It's worse than the wait for a table at any restaurant, where at least you have some hope of parlaying a free appetizer in exchange for all your patience.

The bus, on the other hand, is invisible until it's right in front of you. It could be a minute away. It could be 20 minutes away. You're craning your neck around the corner, praying for the first glimpse of that electronic sentinel – The No. 6! YES! – when for all you know, the blasted thing passed two minutes ago. And maybe you're late. Or it's sleeting. There's no one on hand to give reassuring updates or take escalating complaints. And the opportunities for distraction are minimal.