Bus Chick meets her bus hero

Today, I had coffee with Anirudh Sahni. I first heard of Anirudh several years ago, back when his efforts to change the 545 route were getting a lot of attention. At that time, I worked at Microsoft and rode the 545 every day. Though the changes he was advocating wouldn’t have affected me, I thought they made sense, and I was impressed by his (please excuse the Microspeak) “drive for results.” Anirudh researched. Anirudh organized. Anirudh met with transit officials. Anirudh wrote letters to the editor. People like me responded to surveys and said stuff like, “I hope ‘they’ hurry up and make those changes.”

In the end, all that work changed the route only slightly, but it changed Anirudh fairly dramatically. What started as an attempt to make his commute to Microsoft more convenient became a full-fledged crusade, and the crusader became, as he puts it, “obsessed with transportation.”

Anirudh no longer rides 545; he no longer works at Microsoft. These days he spends a lot of his time working on transportation issues, and (lucky for me) he is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about public transit in this region. Two (of the many) things I learned from him today:
1) Fully 79% of Metro riders own cars.
2) During peak travel times, the average car rider takes up 25 times the amount of space on the road as the average bus rider.

People are choosing to ride, and they’re choosing to do so for good reason.

Anirudh with his “545 file”