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高速路上,我们的长途巴士被火焰吞没

更新时间:2016-3-6 9:56:04 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Day My Megabus Caught Fire
高速路上,我们的长途巴士被火焰吞没

Yesterday was my first time taking Megabus, a discount intercity bus service that began in 2006 and quickly gained notoriety for advertising fares as low as $1 each way. Yesterday was also the first time I had to evacuate a bus as it was catching fire.

昨天是我第一次乘坐Megabus,这是2006年开张的一家市际巴士公司,标榜单程1美元的低价车资而快速成名。昨天也是我第一次因巴士起火而匆忙逃离。

I was just closing my eyes when we pulled over to the side of the interstate 50 minutes into the trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. I hadn’t noticed that there was a problem, but others, like a fellow passenger, Lauren Wurdinger, said they smelled the burning coming from the bus almost immediately. The driver got out, re-entered the bus a few minutes later, and we drove on. Minutes later, we stopped again and the driver exited again; we eventually continued. Finally, he announced on the intercom that we were turning around because we had to “switch buses.”

我们离开芝加哥前往密尔瓦基50分钟后,我正要闭目养神,车突然停在州际公路旁。我没注意到有什么问题,可是其他乘客,例如罗兰.沃丁格,说他们几乎立刻就闻到巴士上有燃烧气味。巴士司机下了车,几分钟后上了车又继续行驶。没过几分钟车又停了,司机又下去,然后又继续前行。后来他用播音器宣布我们得回头,因为得“换一辆巴士”。

A groan of incredulity swept through the bus. I started tweeting updates. Why would we turn around, people asked, when we were so close to Milwaukee? (It’s about a 90-mile trip.) We turned off the interstate and began heading back toward Chicago down a smaller highway. Within minutes, there was a loud bang from the back of the bus. People leapt up from their seats. Some were cursing, some got on their phones.

质疑之声四起。我用推特来找寻最新消息。有人问,我们已经离密尔瓦基这么近了,为什么要掉头?(从芝加哥到密尔瓦基大约90里)我们下了州际公路改走一条较小的快速公路回芝加哥。才过了几分钟,从车后传来很大的砰的一声。乘客吓得跳了起来。有人开骂,有人打手机。

We pulled over and the driver got on the intercom: It’s just a flat tire, he said, and there’s no need to panic and no need to curse. He exited the bus and we all sat there for a few minutes, dumbfounded. One passenger, Kenny Wagner, said nothing like this had happened in the dozens of times he’d taken Megabus. The bus began to smoke, and as it got thicker, we evacuated.

我们停在路旁,司机通过播音器说:只是爆胎,不用惊慌也不必咒骂。他下了车,我们都吓呆了,傻坐了好几分钟。有个乘客,肯尼.华格纳,说他坐Megabus十几次了,从来没出过这样的事儿。后来巴士开始冒烟,烟越来越浓,我们就都撤离了车子。

Outside, the driver was fishing out baggage. There was a small fire coming out from one of the wheels on the other side. The fire grew quickly and, within minutes, had spread throughout the back of the bus. People got away as quickly as they could, abandoning their bags. The driver remained, trying to put out the flames with a small fire extinguisher.

在外头,司机正设法取出行李。车的另一侧有火苗从轮子间冒出来。火势很快加大,几分钟内就布满巴士后部。这时乘客都尽快逃离,不管行李。巴士司机留在原处,设法用一个小灭火器扑灭火焰。

Suddenly, there was a series of pops followed by several loud booms, and flames completely consumed the back half of the bus. Alexei O’Brien, a student at the University of St. Thomas, was despondent, yelling to someone on the phone, “I lost all my schoolwork and textbooks. What am I supposed to do?”

突然,砰砰几响后接连着几声轰隆,火焰就吞噬了整个巴士后半部。阿历克塞.欧布莱恩,一个圣汤马斯大学的学生,心神俱丧地在电话上大嚷:“我的功课和课本全没了!怎么办啊!””

Many people, I learned, lost a considerable amount of personal property. Some, like Ms. Wurdinger, felt lucky that they’d lost only clothes. “I have my laptop here with me, thank God,” she said. Others, like Darnell McKinney, lost considerably more. “I was moving from St. Louis to Milwaukee,” Mr. McKinney said. “I had my whole life under that bus: iPad, iPhone, clothes, leather jacket, Social Security card, birth certificates. I ain’t got a pair of socks now, man; I ain’t got a pair of drawers.”

后来我发现,有许多人损失了可观的个人财物。有的如沃丁格女士,很幸运地只损失了一些衣物,她说:“感谢上帝,我的笔记本电脑是随身带着的。”另有些人损失可就大了,如达尼尔.麦金尼,他说:“我正从圣路易搬到密尔瓦基,我的一辈子都在这辆车上:iPad,iPhone,衣服,皮夹克,社安卡,出生证明。现在我连一双袜子都没有了,连一条衬裤都没有了。”

This isn’t the worst fate to befall Megabus passengers. It has had, in its relatively brief existence, several high-profile accidents. In 2010, a double-decker Megabus crashed into a railroad overpass in upstate New York, killing four on the top deck. In 2014, 26 passengers were hurt when a Megabus rolled over near Seymour, Ind. And in 2015, 19 were injured when a Megabus traveling from Chicago to Atlanta crashed.

这还不是降在Megabus乘客身上最可怕的恶运。自不久前开张以来,Megabus出过好几个重大事故。2010年,一辆双层巴士在纽约上州撞上铁路立交桥,上层乘客有4人死亡。2014年,一辆Megabus在印第安纳州西莫附近翻覆,26人受伤。2015年,由芝加哥开往亚特兰大的Megabus撞车,19人受伤。

I had chosen Megabus for the same reason most choose it: the price. While I didn’t snag a $1 fare, I paid $11, plus a booking fee, for a ticket from Chicago to Milwaukee. An Amtrak ticket would have cost $25: not a bad savings. Unfortunately, though, low prices sometimes come with other costs.

我搭乘Megabus的理由和其他多数人一样:价格。从芝加哥到密尔瓦基,我没抢到1块钱的票,而付了11块,外加预订费。Amtrak火车票是25块,是省了不少钱。不幸的是,低廉票价往往附带其他代价。

We were eventually picked up by another double-decker Megabus and continued our journey to Milwaukee. It seemed slightly cruel — and ironic — to be picked up by the same manner of transport that had just burst into flames, but there was no other option presented. On the way, there was a discussion about responsibility. “This was not the driver’s fault,” Russicha Watkins said emphatically. “He was doing his best and trying to help us and save our luggage. Another passenger, Michelle Grant, said, “They never should have made him turn around and go back to Chicago. They knew something was wrong with that bus. That was stupid.”

终于另一辆Megabus的双层巴士来搭载我们继续前往密尔瓦基的行程。搭乘跟烧成一团火球同样的车子挺讽刺的,可也无可奈何,因为别无他法。在途中,我们讨论了责任谁属的问题。“这不是司机的错,”路思嘉.瓦特金强调:“他尽力帮助我们,保全我们的行李。”另一个乘客,米雪儿.格兰特说:“他们不该让他掉头回芝加哥。他们知道这辆车有毛病,掉头是很蠢的。”

Another hotly discussed topic among the passengers was that of reimbursement. Several people called up Megabus’s terms and conditions on their phones. It unfortunately states: “Our maximum liability to you for any loss or damage to your luggage is US $250 per passenger for any such loss or damage to luggage, and megabus.com will only be responsible to reimburse passengers up to the maximum liability limit in the event of negligence on the part of megabus.com.” That information caused quite a bit of distress. “I’m just devastated,” said Alice Taylor, who estimated she lost $1,700 worth of belongings in the fire, including a laptop.

另一个乘客们积极讨论的是有关赔偿的问题。有几个人用手机查了Megabus的条款与细则,发现它表明:“对乘客行李任何遗失或损坏的最高赔偿额为每位乘客250美元,仅在遗失或损坏责任为Megabus疏失时付给最高额赔偿。”这项说明使我们沮丧万分。阿丽斯.泰勒说:“我完了!”她估计,包括笔记本电脑在内,这场火使她损失了价值1700元的财物。

Deandre Bea said this was the second time he’d had luggage lost or destroyed on a Megabus. The first time, he said, he got frustrated trying to get compensation and eventually gave up. That was a reality check for me. I may choose Megabus to save a few bucks but many of my fellow passengers ride Megabus because it’s all that they can afford. And many lack the legal or financial resources to pursue the company for fair compensation for lost items.

迪安卓.毕亚说这是他坐Megabus第二次行李遗失或被毁。他说,第一次时他要求赔偿未果而备感挫折,最终放弃了求偿。这对我倒真是个现状揭示。我选择Megabus是为了省几块钱,可是其他乘客有些却是因为只付得起这个巴士,还有许多人缺乏法律或财务资源为财物损失责求公正的赔偿。

So my takeaway is this: While you shouldn’t expect your bus to become a ball of flames, it is, sadly, necessary to be prepared. Carry irreplaceable things with you, if possible. Some credit cards, like American Express, offer baggage insurance if you purchase the ticket with the card. Most important, be safe. No belonging is worth injury or death. We were lucky that no one was hurt on our bus; this is largely because everyone was wise enough to abandon their belongings when things got dangerous.

我的感想是这样:你当然不必预期你搭的车会变成一团火球,但是你得预防。可能的话把无法替代的东西随身带着。有的信用卡,如American Express,要是用来买票,它会提供行李保险。最重要的是:注意安全。无论什么物品都不值得为它受伤或丧命。我们这次很幸运没人受伤,主要就是因为险况发生时人人都明智地放弃了财物。

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