Tag Archives: Golden Transfer

November Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Seattle’s Bus Chicklet, my daughter, Rosa.

Rosa started riding the bus on her second day of life–a short trip home from the hospital on the 4. Since then, she hasn’t gotten out much, but she’s ridden the bus on all but one of her outings. (Over the Thanksgiving holiday, she took her first car trip–to Spokane in her Grandpa Jerry’s Jeep.) In her first month of life, she’s ridden: the 3, the 4, the 8, the 18, and the 48. The 48 seems to be her favorite, but that’s just because she hasn’t ridden the 27 yet–at least not since she’s been on the outside.

So far, Miss Chicklet has been well-behaved on the bus (knock wood), and she seems to enjoy riding in the carrier I use to transport her:

Rosa in the Baby Bjorn she rides in on the bus

She didn’t seems as excited about the car seat:

Rosa, not particularly enjoying her first car ride

Looks like we’re going to get along famously. :)

P.S. – You might have noticed a significant slowdown in posts of late (as if pregnancy didn’t slow them down enough). The first weeks of parenthood have been a bit consuming. I’ll try to do better in December, but posts will likely continue to be slow through the New Year.

September Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Sustainable Ballard, a four-year old organization that promotes sustainable practices within its community, with the goal of making Ballard the “first US town [not to nitpick, but I thought it was a neighborhood] to become energy independent.”

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, this weekend SB hosted its annual sustainability festival in Ballard Commons Park. This year, they added something new: a fun, clever (and, I’m hoping, effective) program to get Ballardites (Ballardians?) out of their cars: Undriving Ballard. The program encouraged participants to commit to changing their transportation habits (read: drive less) for the month of October. In return, they received: support and information, free Metro bus tickets, an “Udrivers License,” and, as I mentioned Friday, the admiration of all the good-looking people at the fest.

Undriver licensing booth at Sustainable Ballard
Me, signing up for an undriver license (big coat is obscuring Bus Baby)
Unfortunately, I had to crop the bottom of this very cool sign, due to an item Bus Nerd was carrying that kept obscuring the camera lense.
Undrivers having fun at the fest
Fulvio and Julia, SB volunteers and committed undrivers

Here are Bus Nerd’s and my undriver licenses, which we plan to show the next time we hit up a club or concert:

Note that I was far too dignified to take advantage of the props they had available for pictures. Bus Nerd? Not so much.

Undriving Ballard was a hit. I was impressed by the idea and the implementation, and I wasn’t the only one. There was a line at the Undriver Licensing booth all afternoon on Saturday.

So, thanks Sustainable Ballard, for motivating more folks to try alternatives to driving, and, especially, for demonstrating your concern for the earth by taking action in your community.

August Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Pierre Sunborg, a retired engineer who has made an actual hobby of riding the bus.

Pierre was interviewed on The Beat last Friday (good lookin’ out, Sarah). If you have time, listen to it–if for no other reason than to find proof that I’m not the only one who thinks riding the bus is fun.

A former world traveler, Pierre found himself Seattle-bound several years ago when his parents began to require full-time care. His wife encouraged him to try riding the 74, a route she had been instrumental in defining during her days as president of the Uptown (neighborhood) Alliance (and incidentally, the route Busfather drives on Wednesdays). The 74 just happens to be a route that requires passengers to have an NOAA pass to travel beyond a specific point on Sand Point Way, and, not surprisingly, the ride piqued Pierre’s interest in Metro.

These days, Pierre is in the middle of an ambitious project: riding every route in Metro’s system, from end-to-end, in order. Right now, he’s in the 100s. One of the things Pierre has learned from his Metro adventures is that you don’t have to go far from home to travel. Some routes he likes:

The 75, for the nice, long ride. It goes from the UW north along Lake Washington almost to the Snohomish County line, then east across the city to Ballard.

The 33, for the scenery. In the fall, he likes the ride to Discovery Park.

The 2, also for the scenery. It goes from Queen Anne all the way to the lovely beach at Madrona Park. (Because I know you all love Busfather as much as I do: The 2 is one of his former routes.)

The 60, for the variety of people. According to Pierre, the folks who ride come from all over the world. (I find that this is true of many buses, but now, I’ll have to check out the 60 and sample its flavor.)

So thanks, Pierre, for the inspiration and information (I’m going to ride the 75 and 60 ASAP). I’m still down to try the Night Owl routes if you are.

July Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to my hometown, Seattle, WA (aka the 2-0-sickness), which has permanently designated Third Avenue as a transit-only corridor–during peak commute hours, that is.

From a Mayor’s Office press release:

SEATTLE – Based on the outstanding success in moving buses quickly and efficiently through downtown, Mayor Greg Nickels today announced that local transit agencies will continue to use Third Avenue as a priority corridor when the transit tunnel reopens in September.

The decision to continue prioritizing bus service on Third Avenue during peak hours will allow King County Metro Transit to reorganize surface bus routes and balance transit traffic across downtown. Eighteen bus routes will move to the tunnel when it reopens.


And that’s not all. In September, when the tunnel routes return to their retrofitted home, some routes that currently run on First, Second, and Fourth avenues will be moved to Third, speeding up those routes, freeing more street space for displaced cars, and (most importantly) making it easier to bus riders to figure out where the heck to go to catch the routes they’re looking for. (For details, check out the tunnel page on Metro’s site.)

Bus-car crash
SOVs: Don’t let this happen to you.

So thanks to my city, for identifying a relatively painless way to move more people through the downtown core more quickly. Maybe one day, in the not-too-distant future, Third Avenue will be closed to cars all day.

Hey–a bus chick can dream, can’t she?

June Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Geme “Pat” Calman, Metro’s Operator of the Year for 2006. Unfortunately, I missed the party this year, but here’s what I know about Pat:

He’s from San Francisco, and back in the day, he worked as a grip man on the cable cars. He’s been driving for Metro since 1980. Since 2000, he’s worked as a “report operator”:

Report operators are on constant stand-by waiting to fill any unexpected hole in the bus driving schedule caused by another driver’s illness or unexpected absence. That means Calman reports for work every day at Metro’s Bellevue Base not knowing what his assignment will be, or what route he will be driving.

“A report operator like Pat has to be an expert on every route at the base,” said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond. “They tend to be our most experienced drivers, and they serve as a great resource for the newer drivers. Pat has repeatedly demonstrated his value as a mentor, and his willingness to help out whenever called upon is a tribute to his professionalism.”

I’ve heard that report operator positions are fairly coveted and only available to drivers with a lot of seniority. Is that because, if no one is sick or on vacation, Pat gets to chill at the base all day? I’m kidding. (I guess.)

Pat has a degree in psychology, which might explain why he’s managed so well as a bus driver.

“Pat is always customer oriented,” said Transit Operations Manager Jim O’Rourke. “His contributions to our organization extend far beyond driving a bus. He’s worked on a variety of committees and projects, including taking a leadership role in workplace health and safety issues.”

Calman also has commendations from bus riders, including one family of four who said he went out of his way to help them when they were stranded at the wrong transit center.

Pat Calman, 2007 Operator of the Year (photo courtesy of KC Metro)


I don’t think I’ve ever ridden with Pat, but I’d like to soon–first, because I always love riding with great drivers, and second, because I can’t come up with a nickname for him until we’ve met. No disrespect to his distinguished career, but there’s only one Busfather.

May Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Howard Zinn–yes that Howard Zinn. I have no idea if the man rides public transportation (though he certainly strikes me as a bus nerd), but he sure knows how to write a comprehensive history. On this morning’s 48 ride, I was reading the most famous of his 20 books, A People’s History of the United States (Yes, I know I started it back in November, but life events required me to take a break, OK?) and was so completely engrossed by the chapter on the labor movements of the late 19th century that I darn near missed my stop. (I jumped up just as the driver was starting to close the doors.)

PictureThis in itself isn’t especially remarkable, except that I have an amazingly sensitive stop sense (I always know when my stop is coming, even if I’m not looking out the window–even if I’m sleeping), and I’m supremely anal about packing my things several blocks before it’s time for me to get off. In addition, I tend not to find nonfiction to be particularly engrossing. I think of it like vegetables–good for me, but not nearly as pleasurable as the dessert of my favorite fiction writers. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed my stop since childhood, and all of those incidents involved a novel. The fact that a history book had me in a the kind of trance usually reserved for Toni Morrison is worth noting–and rewarding.

So thank you, Dr. Zinn, for doing your part to keep bus chicks everywhere entertained–and educated–on their rides.

April Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Bob Ferguson, King County Councilmember for District 1 and all-around bus booster. Ordinarily, I don’t play favorites with council members (except that I’m partial to my own), but in this case, I’ve decided to make an exception.

You might recall that Councilmember Ferguson (aka Bob) took the time to send us the scoop about the new reader boards and additional shelters. He understands the importance of changes like these, and not just because bus-riding voters appreciate them. Bob believes in transit, and he demonstrates that belief by riding the bus (the 41 from Northgate) to work every day. (I’m guessing that if he chose to drive, he’d get a pretty sweet deal on parking.)

Bob also demonstrates his interest in transit by his membership on the Council’s Transportation Committee, which, as you might imagine, reviews and makes recommendations about County transit policies.

And speaking of committees…

Earlier this month, Bob sent a member of his staff to sit in on the monthly meeting of the Transit Advisory Committee, a group of regular, bus-riding citizens who advise the Council and Metro staff on “transit issues and policies.” As one of the regular, bus riding citizens on the committee, I was pleased to see that he was interested not only in our formal recommendations, but also in our discussion and our individual perspectives.

And then there was the picture on one of his recent e-newsletters:

Who wouldn’t vote for a man who rides the bus?


Thanks, Bob, for demonstrating a true commitment to the transit system you govern–by listening to the voices of the people who use it, and, especially, by using it yourself.

March Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer

This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Del Rey, musician, storyteller, and general adventurer. Del Rey is a successful blues artist who performs all over the world (she spent the month of January on tour in Australia). She also happens to be a committed bus chick. When she’s in town, Del Rey regularly takes the bus (yes, with all of her instruments) to gigs. Most recently, she rode to consecutive shows in Port Townsend and Friday Harbor. Her itinerary: Seattle to Port Townsend, Port Townsend to Friday Harbor, Friday Harbor to Seattle. Here’s what she had to say about the trip:

Del Rey (photo credit: Jenny Samson)

We made good time to Port Townsend following Mark Canizaro’s links. I’ll never rent a car to go there again! Under three hours and $10! Definately a cool mini-vacation option. Getting from PT to Anacortes was a little more hassle, (but still 5 hours and under $20). We connected no problem to the keystone ferry, the island Transit #1 to Oak Harbor, then the 411W to Marches Point PnR, then the 410 to the ferry. Coming home we had an hour and a half to kill between the ferry shuttle (the 410 in Anacortes) but there’s lots of nice restaurants in Anacortes, then another hour to kill in Mt Vernon (bus station is a block from the brew pub) waiting for the 90X to Everett, which connects well with the 510 to my neighborhood (Wallingford). As always, even when compared to Mt Vernon, Everett is the hands-down winner for odd-balls on the bus…

Want to know more about the Everett oddballs? Check out one of Del Rey’s shows. She loves to share stories about her chosen form of transportation with her audiences. In the meantime, remember: If a woman with three ukuleles and a guitar can make it from Port Townsend to Anacortes on the bus, the rest of us can probably ride to the next show we attend in town. (Shoot, I’d ride from Port Townsend to Anacortes twice to see Prince perform. Matter of fact, I’d walk 100 miles barefoot–on hot asphalt. But I digress.)

Thanks, Del Rey, for devoting your life to your art (those of us with “day jobs” watch with admiration, envy, and hope), and for remaining true to your values in spite of the unique demands of your profession.

You remind us that anything is possible.

February Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Charlie Tiebout, a retired full-time and current part-time Metro driver (notice a theme this week?). In his years at Metro, Charlie has driven almost every route in the system, but in the last 15, he’s stuck mostly to North Base routes: 31, 41, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79, 312, and 306.

Back in his full-time days (1973, to be exact), Charlie was Metro’s first Santa.

I asked Metro if it was okay. [They said yes,] and they even paid for the Santa suit rental. $50 for the first day and $25 each day after. Big bucks in 1973!

One of Charlie’s “Bus Santa” stories:

Mom and five year old son hop on the route 21 bus headed downtown. The kid’s mouth drops [when he sees me in my Santa suit] and he gets excited. It turns out this kid is a regular on this bus and even knows how to call out all the stops. So I arrive at 1st and Spokane and turn around and announce to the bus passengers (while looking at the little boy) “Santa has no idea where to go next. Does anyone know where the bus goes?” The kid was by my side all the way to the Pike Place Market announcing the stop and even transfer points. So dang cute, the little old ladies on the bus were in tears. Thank goodness for my big beard because I was in tears too.


These days, Charlie volunteers as a concierge at Seattle International Hostel (which, unfortunately, will be closing next month), using his expert knowledge to tell visitors how to get around our fair city on the bus. He even gives away free bus tickets, courtesy of his wife, Marti. Marti has adopted a bus stop and so receives 60 free tickets from Metro every three months. If Charlie doesn’t give her tickets away at the hostel, she donates them to Noel House. (We stop adopters from Good Shepherd have been wondering what to do with those…)

Thanks, Charlie, for spending 30+ years helping folks get around Seattle–oh yeah–and for marrying such a cool, generous, bus-lovin’ woman’.

Charlie and Marti
Charlie and Marti at Marti’s adopted stop, the 68 stop at NE 75th & 20th NE

January Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer

This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Donna Moodie, mother, restaurant owner, nonprofit board member, and newly minted bus chick. When I met Donna a few years ago (at her amazing restaurant, marjorie), she told me she was making an effort to ride the bus more often. In the past year, we’ve started to hang out outside of the restaurant, and she’s been true to her word.

In July, our mutual (and fabulous) friend, Tony, organized a group outing to the Maya Lin exhibit at the Henry, and Donna arrived sans voiture. Last fall, I met her for dinner at Lalibela, an Ethiopian restaurant at MLK & Cherry. She made the trip on the 3, with her seven-year old son, Max (and one of Max’s friends), in tow.

In 2007, despite recently moving from the Market to Interbay, Donna has become even more serious about changing the way she gets around. Here’s why:

Basically, I decided to ride more often because I started to think about my role as a citizen using a car, using resources that are limited, and changing the way I think about my right to all those resources. I saw An Inconvenient Truth, and it really rang clear with me that simple, small steps would be better than none at all. Taking the bus to and from work, with the exception of one errand-running day; making sure I get up in time to get Max on the school bus, so that I don’t think about driving him … trying to enjoy my bus time: reading, knitting, listening to music, and working on playlists for the restaurant.

So far, Donna is enjoying her “car-lite” lifestyle, despite challenges like riding home late at night, after the restaurant closes. She certainly has great stories to tell about her adventures. My favorite is the one about the friendly 18 driver who politely but firmly kicked two guys off the bus for cursing. “This is your stop, gentlemen,” he told them, even though it wasn’t, and they weren’t.

What I find most remarkable about Donna’s lifestyle change is the way she has approached it with her child. Max likes the bus (what seven-year-old doesn’t?), but sometimes, he’d rather take the car. At those times, she reminds him of the reasons for her decision, and that driving less often is an investment in his future. And when they ride together, they read stories, something, Donna says, “we both adore doing.”

The dynamic duo
Speaking of the future… Donna and Max, after a bus trip to the CD Forum’s MLK Day celebration

So thanks, Ms. Moodie, for making an effort to live your values, and (especially) for passing them on to your son.