Monthly Archives: February 2009

Caught slippin’

This morning, I had a meeting at 2nd & Jackson at 8 AM and so had to catch the 14 at 23rd & Jackson at 7:44 AM. When I got to the bus stop (a few minutes early, as usual), I immediately took out my pass. Then I sat down to wait, clutching it with the confidence and satisfaction of a transit geek who’s got an annual, peak-fare pass and is ready to use it.

Except, my friends, it was no longer a peak-fare pass. (Ahem.)

This morning’s ride was my first peak trip since the fare increase, you see, and it (the fare increase, that is) had temporarily slipped my mind. I’d been meaning to upgrade my pass, but, after several off-peak rides–on which my $1.75 pass still worked–I had grown complacent.

Of course I had no change–not even a dollar. The driver, who had no doubt been dealing with similar issues all morning, was cool about it (no problem–just pay me next time), but I was utterly mortified–in part because I have a phobia of being without transit fare (remind me to tell you about the time I lost my transfer in 4th grade and the 2 driver made me ride to the end of the line), but mostly because my bus chick pride was hurt. (Other people make those kinds of basic bus mistakes, but not bus experts like me.)

On the way home, I paid 50 cents extra.

Upcoming events for transit types

Actually–very upcoming. These are both happening today.

Fare (pun intended) hearing
What: ST’s holding a public hearing about their proposed light rail fares.
When: Today, Tuesday, February 5th, from noon to 12:30 PM
Where: Union Station, Ruth Fisher Board Room, 401 S. Jackson
Additional information: From ST: “The public’s comments will be presented to the Sound Transit Board in February 2009 for consideration in setting Link’s fare structure and pricing. The Board’s decision is expected in spring 2009.” If you can’t attend the hearing, you can e-mail your feedback.

Zipcar open house
What: Zipcar‘s opening a new office downtown (in, of all things, the old DOL space), and they’re having a grand opening party.
Where: 380 Union
When: Today, Tuesday, February 5th, from 9 AM to 5 PM
Additional information: There will be free food and SWAG, and lots of recruitment; they’re waiving the annual fee for new members. (Also note: Zipcar will be making a joint announcement with the City of Seattle later today. Update: Here’s the announcement.)

Thank you, Miss Rosa

On a happier note:

Today is the 96th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks. In honor:

A video of her 1980 appearance on To Tell the Truth, posted by Seth T. and sent to me by Eric S., a 358 rider from the north end.

I find it somewhat odd that she was on a show where the aim is to pick her out of group; I just assumed that everyone knew what she looked like. Who hasn’t seen this photo?

– A yarn named after her, sent to me by Vanessa N., a bus knitter from Redmond. (Thanks, Vanessa!)

Rosa Parks yarn

I love this yarn, even if I don’t understand why it has her name. (Maybe because it’s multicolored [to symbolize unity or something]? Or maybe the people at Jimmy Beans Wool are as obsessed with her as I am.) If I knew how to knit (anything other than a scarf, that is), Chicklet would definitely be getting a sweater made out of it. And again:

“Memories of our lives, our works, and our deeds, live on in others.” – Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

The transit paradox: more riders, less service

An excellent (if depressing) article in the NYT:

Transit systems across the country are raising fares and cutting service even when demand is up with record numbers of riders last year, many of whom fled $4-a-gallon gas prices and stop-and-go traffic for seats on buses and trains.


Their problem is that fare-box revenue accounts for only a fifth to a half of the operating revenue of most transit systems — and the sputtering economy has eroded the state and local tax collections that the systems depend on to keep running. “We’ve termed it the ‘transit paradox,’ ” said Clarence W. Marsella, general manager of Denver’s system, which is raising fares and cutting service to make up for the steep drop in local sales tax.

The billions of dollars that Congress plans to spend on mass transit as part of the stimulus bill will also do little to help these systems with their current problems. That is because the new federal money — $12 billion was included in the version passed last week by the House, while the Senate originally proposed less — is devoted to big capital projects, like buying train cars and buses and building or repairing tracks and stations. Money that some lawmakers had proposed to help transit systems pay operating costs, and avoid layoffs and service cuts, was not included in the latest version.

I’m not mad about building train stations and buying buses (in fact, I take issue with the imbalance between road and transit projects in the stimulus bill), but I’m very, very concerned about the ability of the nation’s transit agencies (specifically, KC Metro) to continue to meet the rising demand for transit. After all,

“They’re going to make the economy worse if they cut the bus,” Ms. Nacoste said. “There’s going to be unemployment, people running out of money. What are we going to do?”

The entire article is only a couple of pages (short by NYT standards) and worth the read.