East Cape Businesses Provide Free Transportation Over Death Trap... Er, Bridge

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, October 1, 2002

from the but-is-it-really-free? dept.

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, IL -- People don't like to drive across bridges held together with chains and duct tape. That's a lesson that several businesses on the Illinois side of the Mississippi have learned as their customers have suddenly stopped crossing "that money saving bridge".

In an attempt to remedy the situation, three East Cape businessmen have devised a scheme to offer free transportation across the bridge for white-knuckled drivers too afraid to cross on their own.

The cornerstones of East Cape's commercial district, Bob's Used Carpet Emporium, Dill's Double-Wide Repo Center, and The Wrinkled Crackhead Nightclub, have teamed up and invested several thousand dollars in a fleet of busses (actually retrofitted minivans) that will drive back and forth between Cape and East Cape. The service, dubbed the "Greymutt Bus Line" until a better name can be found, is expected to start offering free shuttles by next week.

Those wishing to entrust their lives into the hands of the Greymutt drivers can park their cars at the lot on Main Street in downtown and wait at the bus station (currently a makeshift sign along the street with "Buss Stop" [sic] spraypainted in red). The shuttle will then drop you off at the parking lot in front of the Wrinkled Crackhead.

One of the Greymutt busses will have it windows tinted so that passengers won't be able to see out as they cross the bridge. "We don't want anybody to suffer a panic attack as we fly down the road only a matter of inches away from steel trusses held together with bailing wire," explained Dellbert, one of the drivers. "With the shaded windows, nobody will have to see the exposed rebar hanging from the edge of the deck or the daylight showing through the expansion joints along the roadbed."

For the truly fearful, Greymutt will offer sedatives to allow passengers to fall asleep during the journey across the river. "Some people simply can't stomach the drive across the bridge. But with this service, that will no longer stop them from coming across the river and saving 50% on their next used carpet purchase!" said Bob of Bob's Used Carpet Emporium.

While the free transportation service will cost a considerable amount of money, the businesses of East Cape see little other choice. "Everybody has seen that damn photo showing the bridge being held together with chains. As a result, our business has plummented. Before, we had an average of three customers a day. Now we don't have any!" said an assistant manager at Dill's Double-Wide Repo Center.

An engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation argued that the bridge is 100% safe and that during its entire lifespan not one single car has careened off the edge and plunged into the river. "Sure, a few thousand side-view mirrors have been clipped off, and a few dozen people have suffered heart attacks while driving, but not one single vehicle has ever gone airborne. Now that's a safety record we can all be proud of."

Later in the interview, however, the engineer admitted he had never actually crossed the bridge on his own. "I don't mind driving an extra 100 miles to reach the next nearest bridge that isn't covered in rust. What's wrong with that?"