Monthly Archives: September 2006

The bus driver who wanted to be God

Most bus riders know the joy of having built-in reading time, and this book-loving bus chick is no exception. I have my standard favorites (Morrison, Austen, Boyle, Senna, Durham, Smith), my list of “shoulds” (still haven’t gotten around to finishing Middlemarch), and my recommendations from friends (currently reading A Fine Balance, loaned to me by my friend Donna). Then, every once in a while, I’ll discover someone new on my own. This week, it’s Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Keret is not new to the literary scene (apparently, he’s been around …

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School bus

Yesterday marked the first day of classes at the UW School of Dentistry, and with it, this man’s return to the bus:

A handsome bus riderMy youngest brother Joel, a brilliant, handsome, six-foot-four inch, iron-pumping, soccer-playing, second-year dental student, is also a bus rider. (Yes, I do know all the good-looking dentists–and dentists to be–in Seattle.) Joel’s not a full-time bus nerd or (necessarily) a transit advocate, but he is smart enough to know a good deal when he sees one. Instead of fighting traffic from West Seattle to the …

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Some rules of the ride

Bus rule #1:
If your morning bus to work is late–really late–and you wait for what seems like forever (hours surely), and when it finally arrives, it is bursting-at-the-seams crowded, so packed with people that you can remain upright without holding on (if, that is, you don’t mind making a few friends on the ride), you will be rewarded, upon disembarking, with the sight of another bus, the same route number, but articulated this time, whizzing past your crowded bus–completely empty.

Bus rule #2:
If there is a person on your bus who is behaving oddly

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Kids, don’t try this at home

Google Transit (one of the projects from Google Labs) now provides trip planning services for King County Metro riders.

King County Metro Transit has partnered with Google in its implementation of an online transit trip planner that highlights Google’s map features. The Google Trip Planner uses Metro-generated data to find transit trips that are operated by Metro in King County.

Along with an itinerary based on their entries for point of origin and destination, people who use Google’s trip planner have access to a street map, a satellite image or a hybrid of the two in …

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A late-evening detour

Tonight, Busnerd and I attended the Transportation Choices Coalition‘s annual auction (also known as the “who’s who” of transit nerds) at Triple Door. Good fun.

After the event, we hopped on the 4 and headed home. That’s where the real fun began. Traffic on 3rd was being rerouted because of some kind of accident or blockage between Cherry and James. Of course, rerouting a trolley is no joke, since trolleys are powered by wires that run on a predefined route. The 4 heads east on James, so the driver had to go around: He turned right on Cherry, …

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Busfather: alone at the top

Busfather
Mr. Fabre (aka Busfather) on a northbound 48

For the first few months of John Fabre’s reign as Operator of the Year, he shared the title with last year’s OOY, David Alexander (something about a late announcement in 2005). This month, the title became John’s alone, and as a result, you can finally see his picture on buses. OK, so maybe I was the only one looking for it, but still.

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Speaking of funny bus conversations…

Here are some I compiled for my August 9th Real Change column:

Monday evening, northbound 48:

A woman and man in the seats across from me are getting to know each other.

Woman: “Oh, my God, you’re funny.” [short pause] “Take me home with you.”
Man: “No.”
Woman: “You got a wife?”
Man: “No.”
Woman: “Then take me home with you.” [another short pause] “I’ll cut your hair.”

Tuesday evening, westbound 545:

A man and two women, probably coworkers, are making small talk on their commute home from work.

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Westbound 27, 5-ish

A man gets on with several bags of groceries and sits in the front section, near two middle-aged women.

Woman A: “That’s quite a load.”
Man: “Yeah, I have to do this every two weeks.”
Woman A: “Shoot, I do it every week.”
Woman B: “I do it every day.”
Man: “You got a big house?”
Woman B: “Nope. I’m a big woman.”

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Friday fun

In honor of World Car-Free Day, more from Andy Singer:

A product warning

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Accident: bad. Ridership increase: good.

Good news from the American Public Transportation Association (drum roll, please): Public transportation ridership is up! According to APTA’s press release, transit ridership increased 3.2% nationwide–and a lot more in our neck of the woods.

Bus ridership in small, medium, and large communities also showed increases. Nationally, bus ridership increased by 3.2%. The largest bus agencies showing double digit increases for the first six months of 2006 were located in the following cities: Detroit, MI (14.2%); San Antonio, TX (13.2%); Dallas, TX (12.7%); and Seattle, WA (11.4%).

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