Monthly Archives: March 2008

You know you’re a bus chick if…

A bus chick (created by Lin Lucas)• You carry an all-purpose bag with you everywhere you go.

• Aside from your bus pass, your wallet contains at least two of the following items:
o Library card.
o Co-op membership card.
o Car-sharing membership card.
o The phone number of someone who recently chatted you up at a stop.

• You consider any distance under a mile to be “a short walk.”

• You’ve memorized Metro’s rider information number and/or web address, and at least one bus schedule.

• You’ve memorized the locations of public (or not-so-public) restrooms on your regular routes.

• You keep a running list of items you need, so you can be ready the next time you’re walking by (or waiting near) a store that carries one of them.

• You use at least one delivery service.

• You’ve traveled with an item casual riders would consider bizarre (some examples: a chair, shelving, a backpack full of change).

• You know without looking at the sign whether the bus you’re boarding is “pay as you leave” or “pay as you enter”.

• You have at least one bus friend.

• You have a bus pastime (some examples: reading, knitting, drawing [not so easy in a moving vehicle], eavesdropping) and carry the necessary supplies with you at all times.

• You have a favorite seat.

• Assuming you’re able-bodied, you can stand without holding on and walk while the bus is moving.

• You know exactly how long it takes a particular route to get from the time point on the schedule to your stop.

• You know exactly how often (and in what sequence) the signal lights change at crucial stops.

• You know exactly how long it takes you to walk three blocks.

• You sometimes leave a social event (lunch with friends or a party) in a rush, before you’ve had the chance to say a proper goodbye.

• You’ve been encouraged by well-meaning family members and friends to grow up, get over it, and buy a car already.

• You have at least one device or gadget that makes riding more convenient (some examples: a cell phone with a data plan for checking schedules, etc. on the go; a GPS unit; a PDA with city maps).

• When you’re at a big gathering (sporting event, festival, concert, fair) you see several people you remember from the bus.

• You pay very close attention to weather reports.

• You think of the operator of the year as a celebrity.

• You’ve made peace with:
o Comfortable shoes.
o Low-maintenance hair.
o Weatherproof outerwear (see above).

• You are an expert at fending off unwanted advances.

• You always know what time it is.

I realize all of these won’t be true for all bus chicks–I own no ride improving-gadgets for example (though Bus Nerd certainly owns his share)–but if you recognize yourself in half or more of these, odds are good that you’ve got a few (hundred?) rides under your (practical-yet-fashionable) belt.

It doesn’t take a fancy British guy…

to convince me that men who conserve–both the earth’s resources and their own money–are sexy. But maybe some of the rest of you could use a nudge.

From the World Carfree Network‘s e-newsletter:

“I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her stop admiring young men in Ferraris. What I was saying is you have got to admire people who are conserving energy and not those willfully using it.”

-Sir David King, UK’s chief scientific advisor, on how the world would
be a greener place if only women didn’t find men in exotic cars so

Score one for the bus nerds.

A CARtoon by Andy Singer

More (sort of) good news

Gas pump (Photo credit: Justin Sullivan)From this evening’s All Things Considered:

For the first time in years, people are buying a little less gasoline in America. Analysts say it may be a sign that high prices and a slowing economy are beginning to change people’s driving habits.

Since the beginning of this year, gasoline consumption has fallen about half a percent, according to the Department of Energy.


Doug MacIntyre, who has studied gas consumption at the Department of Energy since the 1980s, says he thinks people may be responding by cutting down on trips or using public transit more.

Half a percent doesn’t seem like much to me, but hey. Some significant news: sales of Ford’s monstrous SUVs (Excursions and the like) fell 22 percent.

You can read (or listen to) the rest of the story here.

Each one, teach one

I didn’t award a Golden Transfer for February–not because there weren’t deserving candidates, but because I couldn’t make it to my computer on the last day of the month–so here’s a bit of good news that I think deserves recognition.

From Laura in Eastlake, a bike-riding bus chick (or should I say bus-riding bike chick?):

I want to share a positive Metro experience with you. Last week, from Saturday the 23rd through Friday the 29th, my sister visited me here in Seattle from Richmond, VA. In Richmond, the automobile is king and bus service is paltry, especially in the suburbs. Prior to her arrival, I gently reminded her that I am a bus/bike chick with the occasional Flex/ZipCar and this would require some patience and good humor on her part. After her heavy sigh, I crossed my fingers and hoped Metro would put on a good display.

Holy heck.

We rode buses all over the place and never once waited more than 5-10 minutes for the entire week. We nailed all the transfers effortlessly and buses were on schedule. It was the most freakish thing that has occurred to me in my 6+ years of riding Metro. From the airport on the 194, the Museum of Flight via the 174, 71/2/3 express buses to the U-District, 33 to Magnolia, 44 across the city, and many others, we maneuvered throughout Seattle effortlessly. It was a golden moment, one that I don’t expect to have replicated anytime soon, but I am glad it worked out for her visit. She is now “into” the concept of public transportation and I think that is a testament to the importance of a good, fluid, well-organized system. If it works smoothly, people may seriously consider replacing a good portion (if not all) of their driving with public transit. If my suburban transit-snob of a sister can be hooked by a week of good Metro service, well, anything is possible.

Good job, Laura (and Metro)! When I have out-of-town guests, I often feel I have to accommodate their transportation preferences by renting a car. How cool that you showed your sister the city buschick-style, and you both had a great time. (If she wasn’t put off by the 174, she definitely has latent bus chick tendencies.) Now maybe she’ll use her new transit enthusiasm to advocate for better options where she lives. Here’s hoping…