I love Steinbeck... he has a real talent for characters and this book is an excellent example of that. To tell "what happens" is to sell the book short. A small bus with its passangers leaves a rural bus station and gets stuck on a flooded road until the driver and passangers work together to get the bus moving again. The whole story takes place between 9am and dusk of one day - no prolonged flashbacks or any such time cheating techniques are used, and yet the story moves along briskly, fueled by the relationships and conflicts between the characters... and that's where the rubber hits the road. The characters are quirky and yet you feel like you know them... you know their types, and that keeps them real.
Reading The Wayward Bus is like being an invisible passenger on the bus - along for the ride of your life. I totally recommend it.