Tag Archives: 550

2010: the bus year in review

Best ride of 2010: Easy: first ride with my sweet boy. (It didn’t hurt that it was on the 27.) More on the joys of busing with Busling in a few weeks, on his birthday.

Worst ride of 2010: Also easy: that terrible, terrible, morning-after-MLK-Day 4 ride. That one just might qualify as the worst bus ride of my life.

Driver of the year (really, every year): Smooth Jazz, of course.

Route of the year: ST550. Thanks to my role on the Regional Transit Task Force, I rode the 550 more times between March and October of this year than I did in all of my previous years buschickdom. I give the “7 of the Eastside” props for speed and frequency–even if it is always way too crowded.

And speaking of…

Most inspiring transit-related experience: My participation in the Regional Transit Task Force. It was amazing to see such a large group of people—with many different perspectives and priorities—come together to do what’s right for the citizens of this county. I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Most depressing transit-related experience: My participation in the Regional Transit Task Force. As we task force members were made painfully aware: Metro is going to experience deep cuts in the very near future. It was our job to find the fairest way to make the cuts, but “the best we could do under the circumstances” won’t mean much to the thousands of people who depend on transit to get around–or to the many who’d like to see this region provide some real alternatives to SOVs. Hard stuff.

On a happier note…

Best (personal) ride enhancements:
1) Bus info on the go. I resisted for many years, because I generally avoid buying “stuff” (especially electronic stuff) just because there’s something new to buy. (Folks, if you saw my laptop, you might feel inclined to pray for me.) But, I finally broke down and got a smart(ish) phone with a data plan. With two kids in tow, being able to use the internets to find out when the bus is coming (et cetera) is really, really useful.

2) Two-wheeled transportation. The bus is great for a lot of trips, but there are occasions–like when I have to get somewhere that’s too far to walk in a reasonable amount of time but not at all convenient by bus–when I wish I had some bike skills (and, in the absence of separated bike lanes, more courage). Earlier this week, after years of saying I should, I finally swallowed my fear, dusted off that Dahon I won three years ago, and rode to the tailor to take some pants in for repair.

The distance (about a 30-minute walk) was perfect for a trial trip. I stayed on back streets and hardly dealt with any cars, which made me wonder what, exactly, I had been so scared of. Plus, it was fun! I zoomed down hills (though I didn’t much enjoy struggling up them), and I didn’t have to wait (no disrespect to the bus) or (my peeve) rush. My goal for 2011 is to ride the bike (solo–not ready for the big leagues yet) for at least one trip per week. Come to think of it, maybe once every other week would be more realistic. Every month for sure. Hold me to it.

And now, I will return to my glass of Cristal(ino) and my Bus Nerd.

Happy 2011, everyone!

Bus Chick plays suburban mom

Last Sunday, the bus fam made a rare weekend trip to the Eastside (48+545+221) to attend a birthday party at–ahem!–Chuck E. Cheese. The place didn’t seem to impress Chicklet much, but then again, she’d already taken three exciting rides (with big wheels and spinning seats and ringing bells!) before we even arrived.

Yesterday, Chicklet and I made another trip to the Eastside (27+550)–for our second-ever visit to Babies R Us. The store itself was a bit frightening (Have I mentioned that I don’t care for shopping?), but the excursion was delightful. The entire trip took three hours, which included about 45 minutes in the store. The rest of the time was spent traveling/waiting, certainly longer than it would have taken to drive (sans traffic) to and from Bellevue, but–by my calculations–we didn’t lose any time. During our trip, Chicklet lunched, napped, and “read” (with the help of Mommy) her latest favorite books. I enjoyed several short, brisk walks in the sunshine (no need to set aside special time to exercise) and quality time with my kid. Had we been home, we wouldn’t have spent the afternoon much differently.

And I challenge any SUV mom to top the big vehicle we used to carry home our purchases.

You know you’re a bus chick if… (part II)

A bus chick
You have a date with your husband at a holiday party in Bellevue, one which requires a fancy dress and high, high heels, and even though the temperature is below freezing and it’s expected to snow, you pass on Zipcar or calling a cab in favor of the warm, weather-ready 550.

You know you’re too much of a bus chick if…

After the party, when the temperature has dropped and the snow has begun in earnest, and you’re in a hurry to make it to your warm house to kiss your little chicklet, you are stuck waiting downtown on sore feet (for the 4, no less) for 15+ minutes.


Some updates to the original list:

• You have “stop sense”: On your regular routes, you know when to pull the bell to get off, even if foggy windows, darkness, or distance from the window prevent you from seeing outside. And speaking of bells…

• When riding in a car, you reflexively reach for an imaginary bell when you begin to near your destination.