Feel the base

The point of a blog, or so I understand, is to chronicle your life as it happens. The problem with this: While life is happening, you don’t necessarily have time to chronicle. Life has been happening to me since my visit to Atlantic Base last Thursday, which is why I am just now getting around to writing about it. Let’s see what I can remember…

First, thanks to Sue Kattar, the (now former) base supervisor, who volunteered to give me a tour and took the time to do it four days before her retirement from Metro.

Seattle Transit trolley
Old school Seattle Transit trolley

The highlights:
• Meeting the bus drivers (some of whom I recognized from my rides) and seeing where they hang out when they’re not driving us around. I’m telling you, if I weren’t already marrying a software engineer, I’d marry a bus driver (or Tayshaun Prince). And if I could operate a vehicle larger than (for example) a baby-blue ’64 Impala with a white ragtop, white interior, and whitewall tires, I’d be one.

• Learning (some of) what it takes to run a bus system. There are tons of people behind the scenes–worrying about safety, and street closures, and route planning, and route assignments. There are even people whose job is to move buses around the lot (and park them in an order that corresponds to their scheduled departure times).
• Walking through the rows of trolley buses–from the cool, vintage Seattle Transit trolleys to the spanking new ones, complete with fancy iPod ad wraps.
• Touring the maintenance facility. Talk about some serious tools! (I even saw Brian Nussbaum–recognized him from his picture.)

The most interesting thing I learned: A single, 60-foot, articulated, hybrid, New Flyer bus costs almost a million dollars. (A standard 40-foot diesel is about 450k.) And again, I am compelled to quote our favorite bus chick pick-up artist:

“A bus is like a massive, pimping SUV with 4000 horse power and lots of 45 inch wheels. Can your ride compete with that, b*tch? I didn’t think so.”