Even if I hadn’t met my own husband on a bus, I would still be a believer in transit romance. Yes, I know all about the awkward, irritating, and otherwise unpleasant interactions with folks you’d rather not get acquainted with (believe me, I could write a book). I also know that buses and trains are filled with interesting people–Hello, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, Jacob Lawrence, Toni Morrison, Vincent Kartheiser, MC Geologic!–and offer plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation. Just don’t ask this guy for tips.
But I digress.
As Valentine’s Day approaches (not my favorite holiday, but whatever), per usual, bus luh is getting plenty of publicity. The NYC Transit Museum is hosting its Missed Connections party on the big day. In Philadelphia, there’s an actual contest, with prizes for the best tale of transit romance. And last week, Eric Jaffe waxed poetic about love in a subway car (thanks, Jessica!). How could a committed transit type not revel?
The thing is, highly publicized “boy meets girl” (and “boy meets boy”) stories are nice, but they’re not the reality for most riders. And (if I may keep it real for a moment) sometimes, they’re a bit gag inducing. What I find most romantic about buses (no disrespect to Smooth Jazz) is the possibility of meaningful connections with strangers–not the kind that lead to a subway platform proposal or a bus-themed wedding, but the kind that leave you energized, enriched, and educated. The kind that make a difference in your day.
So here’s hoping that this month of love brings some real romance to the ride: more Miss Ida and less Mr. I Do (not that there’s anything wrong with that). ‘Cause the relationship this rider is working on is decades deep and in need of a little TLC.
And yes, I know this is a terrible, terrible (phone) photo, but I absolutely could not resist posting it. Tell me I was wrong.
This week, it’s time for us transit types to engage in a different kind of bus luh. (Though of course, it’s really fine for us never to engage in the standard kind.) APTA’s trying to show Congress that there’s public support for public transportation.
Transit Lovers Unite
“I <3 Transit” engages public transit riders via mobile text campaign
Washington, DC –The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and its more than 1,500 members are launching “I <3 Transit”(I heart transit), a mobile text campaign, to engage riders across the country and demonstrate the importance of public transportation to individuals, communities and the nation. The campaign, which starts this week, allows participants to show their support for increased public transit funding by simply texting “transit” to 86677.
Each year 10.2 billion trips are taken on the nation’s public transportation systems. Riders depend on their local transit provider for freedom, mobility and access. By texting “transit” to 86677 public transit riders and enthusiasts alike can stand together in support of public transportation. This simple action helps spread the message that Americans want public transportation as a travel option in their daily lives.
If you can’t figure out how to do the symbols on your phone, just text “transit.”
The latest installment of Grist’s dating column, “Treeshagger” (I know, I know) is all about how to find your soul mate (or at least someone you wouldn’t mind sharing a coffee or two with) on public transportation.
No matter how many “met on the bus” stories I hear, I never get tired of the topic. And this particular column happened to include the best transit hookup story I’ve ever heard. Peep it:
Did you hear about Patrick Moberg, that dude who found the girl of his dreams on the New York subway? Like a twee Wes Anderson hipster-man, he drew a picture of her in full rosy-cheeked glory, set up a website (NYGirlOfMyDreams.com), and struck gold when a friend of hers saw it and put him in touch with her.
I imagine their first date was a bit awkward, given that she already knew she was the girl of his dreams and all, but still. Wish I’d known about this dude on Valentines Day.
On the flip side: Not everyone you meet on PT is a potential love interest (ahem). Jezebel’s Social Minefield column recently tackled the ever controversial topic of transit etiquette. In case you don’t have time to read it, I have taken the liberty of summarzing: Be aware of others, and be courteous.
… and cool Valentine parties at NYC’s Transit Musem (via: Erin). I predict a whole lotta Tuesday morning bus luh on the MTA.
• One Bus Away, the user-friendly version of MyBus, won “Best Use of Technology in the Government, Nonprofit, or Educational Sector” at the Washington Technology Institute Association awards earlier this month.
A fancy tech award is nice and all, but OBA also receives all kinds of love on the streets. If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone using it on a mobile device or hyping it up to a friend… Case in point: My friend (and fellow bus mom) Lily, who started using the app recently, gushed about it during our get-together a couple of weeks ago. “It’s changed my life!” she told me–and she meant it. Now if that ain’t a ringing endorsement…
• And speaking of gushing… Most of you know that I’m a big fan of Undriving Ballard and their fun undriver licensing program. If UB hasn’t made it to your neighborhood yet (or if you missed them when they did) I have some good news: You can now apply for an undriver license online. Love.
• Another successful bus engagement went down last week. Bus luh is alive and well, folks.
• If you’re interested in Detroit’s discussions about revamping its transportation infrastructure, you might enjoy this Free Press editorial. (via: Bus Nerd, of course)
Earlier in the week, Bus Nerd hipped me to this Slate piece about subway psychology. It didn’t turn out to be as interesting as it sounds, but it did contain one useful (and fascinating) tidbit: Apparently, parking yourself in the seat closest to the door* “offer[s] the best opportunities for falling in love with the proper stranger.”
Talk about a revelation! If only I’d known this back when Nerd was a “proper stranger,” it might not have taken us so long to meet.
Unfortunately, the article does not propose any theories about what seat choice has to do with bus mack success rate. Anyone got ideas?
*On the subway, anyway. No word as to whether this works on the bus.
P.S. – For those not familiar with bus luh: a definition.
There’s nothing like a day at the beach to bring out some good, old-fashioned summer bus luh.
And V Day bus (stop) luh:
Southbound stop @ 3rd & Union, 3 PM