Tag Archives: Char

April Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to my good friend Char (yes, the same Char who hipped me to the life-size pictures at Greenfest and to the height-adjustable heels) and her husband John, an Eastside couple committed to reducing their car use.

In 2006, Char and John moved from two vehicles to one. They didn’t need cars to commute, and they usually spent their weekends together, so it made sense to share. Even when the car was available, Char would ride the bus “just because”–to head downtown or even to visit friends. (She’s visited me on the bus more than once.)

Earlier this month, Char and John decided to take their car-lite lifestyle to the next level. They turned in the vehicle they were leasing and committed to living without a car for eight weeks. At the end of the trial period, they will decide whether to remain car-free indefinitely or purchase a used car with cash. (Guess which outcome I’m hoping for?)

Char and John, heading downtown on the 545

Car-free life on the Eastside has its challenges (to make errands easier, they’re considering using a grocery delivery service and buying a bike), but, like car-free life anywhere, it also has many benefits. Char gives these reasons for dumping her two tons of extra baggage:

For me it’s a combination of motivators:
1. Minimize my carbon footprint
2. Decrease demand for fossil fuels
3. Save more money and simplify my lifestyle
4. Increase my overall physical fitness level
5. Enjoy the social benefits of riding public transportation

I couldn’t have said it better.

Thank you, Char and John, for your efforts. Even if you decide to return to car ownership, you will do so with a clearer understanding of your choice, and (I hope) a few lasting behavior changes. In the meantime, I’ll see you on the bus!

A shoe breakthrough for bus chicks

I do OK with cute and comfortable footwear (though not as well as my girl Miranda) until it’s time to really dress. I’m not big on “wear a pair, carry a pair,” so on occasions that call for high heels, I usually just choose the pair that goes best with the outfit and resign myself to a few hours of suffering.* Fortunately for me, those occasions only occur a few times a month. For those of you who must wear dressy shoes on a regular basis, some hopeful news:

Over the weekend, my friend Char (not coincidentally, a newly minted bus chick) hipped me to these (and other) height-adjustable heels:

A height-adjustable heel


I ain’t one to hawk products, and believe me, I’m not trying to sell you these. (I’m not really feeling the styles or the Salon Shoes prices.) I do appreciate the concept, though. Check the video.

* I have also been known to call a cab.

Ridership has its privileges, part II

Yesterday, Chicklet, Nerd, and I spent the afternoon at Green Festival, a two-day green-living extravaganza that was held at the Convention Center.

The bad news: I forgot to bring the coupon for free admission that Seattle City Light sent us. The good news:There was a discount for all bus-riding festivalgoers. Between the two adults (Chicklet was free), we saved 10 bucks, not including the money we didn’t have to spend on gas and parking. This left more money to spend on food: a veggie plate and two sambusas from Horn of Africa, and a delicious fruit smoothie from Tiny’s.

The festival was great. We enjoyed all the booths (me: the fit greenies powering computers by pedaling stationary bikes; Bus Nerd: the folks dispensing information about solar energy) and running into friends and fellow transit geeks. (He-ey, Garlin, Ellen, Andrew, and Vic!)

My favorite part by far (aside from the food, that is): two life-size pictures that you put your face through to take photos–like that octopus they have at the Aquarium. One was of a happy bus chick enjoying a leisurely walk with her dog. (Hope she wasn’t headed to catch a Sound Transit route.) The second was of a stressed-out driver, angrily shaking her latte at the world. (My friend Char, who told me about the life-size pics before I saw them, said they reminded her of the “successful man/unsuccessful man” cartoon I posted a couple of weeks ago.)

Here’s Chicklet as a happy bus chick:

Chicklet at Greenfest

She was traveling in the Bjorn, so it was hard to get her face through the hole without knocking the dang thing over.

No one wanted to be the angry car chick, but here’s a picture Char took of the empty cartoon:

Angry car chick at Greenfest

Perhaps all that poor driver needs to relieve her stress is access to this wall, which we spotted on our way out of the Convention Center:

Convention Center schedule wall

So many routes, so little time!

A bus chick’s version of a good day

This morning, I stopped by the County Courthouse to see some demos of the partially wrapped buses. (The Council tabled the vote on whether to allow the partial wraps, so these demos were made available to help the members come to a decision. Members of the Transit Advisory Committee and the Accessible Services Advisory Committee were also invited to take a look.)

The partial wraps leave 15″ clear on every bus window. This looks different on different buses, depending on the size of the windows and the height of the seats. (I apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures; I have yet to replace my broken camera.)

Here’s what a partially wrapped trolley looks like:

Demo of a partially wrapped trolley

Note: There aren’t any real ads designed for this template yet, so the folks at Metro just removed some of the vinyl from an existing ad.

Here’s a New Flyer 40-footer:

Demo of a partially wrapped 40 footer

In this case, instead of altering an existing wrap, they covered the parts of the windows that would be obscured by the ad.

Here’s the view from inside the trolley:

View from inside a partially wrapped trolley

And from the other side:

View from inside a partially wrapped trolley

Anyone recognize the man in the red circle? Yes indeed, Busfather was there as the official driver of the 40-footer. He got to hang out for a couple of hours while the bigwigs (and regular folks like me) checked things out. Not a bad gig for a sunny Monday.

Anirudh, aka Bus Hero, who also happens to be one of my fellow TAC members, was also there.

Anirudh on the trolley:

Anirudh on the partially wrapped trolley

So was my councilmember, Larry Gossett:

Larry Gossett on the partially wrapped trolley

Y’all already know how I feel about bus revenue: I’m inclined to endure a little obscured vision every once in a while if it means more service. The good news is, the partially wrapped buses don’t obscure your vision. I could see out of all the windows, even when I hunched down to make myself shorter. (Of course, I’m not sure how a child riding alone or a person in a wheelchair would do. I’ll leave the latter to the folks at the Accessible Services Advisory Committee.)

Bottom line: We (OK, I) likey. Councilmembers, please vote “yes.”

After the bus viewing, a lovely lunch at the Gates Foundation with my friend Char (which involved a slowish ride on the 70), and a quick trip to the Real Change office, I happened upon Smooth Jazz while crossing the street on my way to catch the 27. (He was driving a bus back to the base, apparently, after finishing his shift.) I waved before I had a chance to remember that he doesn’t actually know me, and he waved back. Turns out, he does know me (and how could he not–I’ve been on his bus about 30,000 times in the past year). He said he hadn’t seen me in a while and had been wondering what I’d been up to. This, of course, made me feel very important and fabulous.

Called up the homies and Im askin yall
Which court, are yall playin basketball?
Get me on the court and Im trouble
Last week messed around and got a triple double
Freaking brothers everyway like m.j.
I cant believe, today was a good day