In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Monthly Archives: December 2006
This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Evan Siroky, a recent UW graduate and self-described “transit freak.” Evan is car-free by choice, and though only a few months into his first professional job, he’s already in a far better financial position than most of his peers. In addition to saving lots of money by not owning a car, he’s also earning lots of money by working a second job, as (it doesn’t get better than this, folks) a rider information specialist for Metro. Says Evan,
Almost every weekend I …
Car free but like to party? Some tips from last week’s Real Change column:
A few weeks ago, you learned how to look fabulous while riding the bus. Now, let’s explore how to take your fabulous self out for the evening.
If you’ve followed the first rule of car-free living — move to a transit-friendly neighborhood, preferably close to downtown — you’ll find plenty of options for eating, drinking, dancing, watching, listening, and meeting a short walk or bus ride from your home. With no car to worry about, you can hop on …
Sound Transit or Metro? Peak or off peak? One zone or two? Pay as you enter or as you leave? If you hate keeping track of this stuff (or carrying extra change in your wallet to supplement your pass), you’ll be happy to know that Metro, Sound Transit, and several other regional transit agencies are in the process of testing that smart-card-based, regional fare system I mentioned back in August. (In fact, I think the test was scheduled to end on 12/22.) Though I don’t regularly ride any of the participating routes, I’ve seen a few of the …
To all the chivalrous gentlemen who, during the weeks and months of 2007–on rainy nights and sunny days and foggy mornings–will slow their Toyotas and Volkswagens and Chevies and Benzes and peer through tinted or mud splattered windows–or perhaps partially opened doors–to ask:
No! (Thank you.) I don’t need a ride.
A woman and man, apparently colleagues, are sitting together in the back.
Woman, to the man: “My lab is on the 4th floor, across from the grad students’ office, and the room across from the break room–you know, that room where everyone goes to drink their lattes–that’s my tissue-culture room.”
1. Free money!
And, no, I’m not talking about the thousands of dollars you’ll save on transportation. Check it:
SPOKANE, Wash. — A mysterious woman hopped aboard buses, greeted passengers with “Merry Christmas” and handed each an envelope containing a card and a $50 bill before stepping off and repeating the process on another bus.
Thanks Chris (and everyone) for sending the story.
2. Unexpected winter views of Tahoma
Drivers have to watch the road; riders get to watch the mountain.
Since early November, I’ve devoted my Real Change column to a series of how-to articles for people who want to give up their cars. So far, I’ve written five, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. After all, there’s a lot to say; Chris Balish wrote an entire book on the subject.
Living without a car can be pretty tough, especially in the …
A man and a woman who apparently know each other meet in the aisle on the way to their seats.
Woman: “Hey, stranger! You make it through OK?”
Man: “I just got back in town. I couldn’t take it.”
Woman: “Well, you better turn right back around. We’re about to get another d*mn storm. And I just got my lights back on!”
As they continue to talk windstorms and lost power, the man in front of me sits on a tube of toothpaste. He tries to clean it, then gives up and moves.
(Thanks to Peter Folger, bus nerd extraordinaire, for these links.)
Despite their high costs (approximately 60% more than diesel models), hybrid buses are becoming a popular choice for North American transit agencies:
DaimlerChrysler, whose Orion brand has close to a 60 per cent market share, estimates that, based on existing orders, the number of hybrid buses on US and Canadian streets will grow by three-quarters over the next year from 1,200 to 2,100.
“They’re selling very well,” says Brian Macleod, senior vice-president at Gillig, a Californian bus manufacturer.
Since Gillig began commercial production of hybrid buses in 2005, …
Erica Barnett’s been checking out the new rail line in Denver:
Here, in a city pretty much no one would regard as cutting-edge (the girls are still wearing tube-tops; the guys still favor large wire-framed Dick Cheney glasses), light rail has managed to take thousands of cars off the road. Surveys found that nearly 50% of light rail riders switched to transit from cars, and that more than 25% of commuters to the city center get there by transit. Light rail ridership here has been 60 percent higher than projections.
Thanks to Andrew from Sound Transit …