photo by VEO: http://www.flickr.com/photos/veo/205556435/
I have this love-hate relationship with the bus. I love the idea of mass transit but hate Metro‘s implementation. I get impatient with all the stops. Why can’t we make people walk just a little farther, cut out half the stops and and speed the whole route up?
Because I’d rather be on my bike, I tend to cut bus times a little too close. Combine my tardiness with late buses and I never know if I’ve missed my bus or if it’s still up the road somewhere. In Europe they have readouts on stops telling how long until the next bus. In Portland, they do the readouts on major stops and on minor stops provide a code and phone number riders can call to get the same info.
In Seattle we can’t even do this in our Italian marble-clad bus tunnel, let alone the bread and butter stops around town. Come on Metro, how hard would this be? The technology is already there and Metro is using it for their absolutely horrible online “Tracker” tool.
On a more positive note, riding the Xtracycle has been great for my kind of busin’. A little story – I met some friends at Lola for happy hour Wednesday night. We all then walked up to Benaroya to catch our respective coaches. Not surprisingly, mine was already there and I had to run to catch it. But as I climbed aboard, I realized I left my umbrella at the bar. My first thought was forget about the umbrella, I never use it. My second thought: ride the bus up to the Bon, pick up the umbrella and grab the next bus, though who knows when the hell it’s coming.
Before I hopped off the bus, I asked the driver where she was going next: Down Virginia, she said. So, I jumped off, sprinted around the corner and down a block to Lola. Dashed in, grabbed the umbrella (and another tasty licorice candy), ran out out the door and down the block. My bus began to pull away, but I kept running in case it missed a light. It did, and I hopped on at 6th Ave without really breaking a sweat. The driver welcomed me back: “Well, look at you. You made it.“
Yep, thanks to riding bikes on Car Free Days, I did.