Tag Archives: Couldn’t have said it better

The opposite of progress

From Tom Vanderbilt’s recent piece in Slate:

In Greenberg, Ben Stiller plays Greenberg, a drifting musician-turned-carpenter who’s getting over a nervous breakdown. He’s a needy and casually abusive schmuck, a socially awkward and obsessive crank. And if you need any more clues to the extent of his pathological loserdom, here’s one: He doesn’t drive.

[…]

Greenberg is just the most recent film in which a character’s non-automobility–whether for lack of a car or for lack of the ability to drive–is used for comic effect, whether as a metaphor for a deeper personality flaw or as a token of marginality …

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Category: car culture | Tagged , ,

Walk like a woman

My current* bus read is Helena Andrews’ new memoir, Bitch is the New Black. While the book isn’t exactly my flavor (no disrespect), there’s no doubt about Ms. Andrews’ talent; the woman is hilarious. She’s also a total bus chick–well, minus the buses, anyway. Peep it.

From chapter 10, “Walk Like a Woman”

In the face of my driver’s license deficiency and an abhorrence for the close body contact [ahem] prevalent on most Metro systems, I’ve learned through pluck and circumstance to use the legs God gave me. People, I’ve walked across state lines–multiple times–without getting winded …

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Category: living the life, multi-modal | Tagged , , , ,

More on the beauty of buses

Excerpts from an essay about the romance of the ride by a kindred, bus loving spirit:

A bus stop is stillness by which everything passes: the hurried steps of cell-phone gabbers, carts pushed by homeless men wearing dusty parkas in the summer, mounted policemen, snapshooting tourists. I firmly grip my MetroCard, ready to extend my arm out, because I sometimes get paranoid that drivers won’t see me and will keep on driving. My caution is needless. Once I step into this indeterminate zone, usually marked by a simple sign-topped pole, I’m not just another person with some fly-by business …

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Category: reasons to ride, transit culture | Tagged ,

It’s a bus, it’s a train…

Bus Hero, Transitman, and The Human Bus Schedule notwithstanding, folks don’t generally associate super powers with PT riders. But this cool post on Archie McPhee’s Monkey Goggles blog (via: Coby) identifies the true transit superheroes (and villains): those bus characters who spark our imaginations and add all the flavor to our rides.

I’ve got several favorite bus characters. Two that come to mind are Captain and Origami Man. Who are yours?

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Category: reasons to ride, transit culture | Tagged ,

Respect to those who came before, 2010 edition

I decided to take a break from the quote I usually post on this day and hit you with some new ones–some that happen to reflect my state of mind right about now.*

We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and …

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Category: people | Tagged ,

Speaking of kids…

1) Another car-free parent, Jeremy Adam Smith in San Francisco, shares his reasons for riding (and walking) with his son (via: Carfree with Kids):

You can buy eco-products from here to the end of time; you can recycle and reuse everything you can; you can even buy a hybrid. But most scientists and engineers agree: The single best thing you can do for the Earth, the greatest positive change you can make, is to give up owning a private vehicle altogether.

Many people will see this as a terrible sacrifice — and in some places, it is almost …

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Category: busing with babies, transit culture | Tagged , , , ,

Speaking of tolls…

The Daily Score recently posted an excellent analysis of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s study on tolling. The study investigates the effectiveness of tolls at reducing congestion but also tackles the issue of tolling fairness head on. From the DS post:

But the benefits of tolling aren’t spread around evenly. Instead, congestion pricing would create “winners” and “losers.” The biggest “winners” would be drivers whose time is worth a lot of money: commercial truckers most of all, but also wealthy private citizens. (If you make $100 per hour, spending $5 to save 15 minutes is a bargain!) Transit …

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Category: issues | Tagged , ,

Transportation in the news

From Salon: “Who Says Americans Won’t Ride Mass Transit?”

The rise in mass transit ridership should be great news. Not since the OPEC oil embargo and energy crisis in the ’70s have famously car-centric Americans been so eager to shell out for a bus fare or a train ticket and leave the polluter in the driveway. Automobile transportation is one of the largest chunks of the country’s carbon footprint, so the more that Americans opt for trains and buses, the more that footprint could shrink.

But the news isn’t all that sunny. In fact, the mini-exodus from driving has …

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Category: issues, media | Tagged , ,

Chicklet’s (second) favorite bus ad

On a recent 8 excursion, Chicklet awoke from her nap (she is fond of napping in the Ergo) directly underneath Metro’s “chill on the cell usage” ad.

Too much. Too loud. Please be courteous when using your cell phone on the bus.

After checking it out for a few seconds, she giggled, then turned to me and said one of her latest words: “teeth.”

Funny, that’s what I think when I see it, too.

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Category: overheard, spotted! | Tagged , , , ,

The biggest transportation subsidy

A tidbit from an interesting (read: transit-friendly) article in Slate:

You think the government is wasting a few billion a year on mass-transit subsidies. But what about the huge subsidies for cars and trucks?

[...]

What hasn’t been acknowledged is that the automobile is supported by a government subsidy that dwarfs anything provided to mass transit. How big is the subsidy? By my (admittedly extremely crude) calculations, it could total nearly $100 billion per year.

Can I get an amen?

There’s more to it, of course–but that’s what the link is for.

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Category: car culture | Tagged , ,