Tag Archives: Golden Transfer

December Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Evan Siroky, a recent UW graduate and self-described “transit freak.” Evan is car-free by choice, and though only a few months into his first professional job, he’s already in a far better financial position than most of his peers. In addition to saving lots of money by not owning a car, he’s also earning lots of money by working a second job, as (it doesn’t get better than this, folks) a rider information specialist for Metro. Says Evan,

Almost every weekend I religiously go to King Street Center to tell people how to get from one place to another using public transportation. I, too, am carless and enjoy this lifestyle. Not owning a car saves me money, it is safer, and it is always a fun way to start a conversation. I now know almost every bus route in King, Pierce, and Snohomish County. People at my frat even started calling me Mapquest!

Evan S

I met Evan a few weeks ago–to talk transit, of course. Would that all rider information specialists were as knowledgeable and passionate about transit as he is! Because he’s car free, the man knows his bus routes, and he actually spends his spare time creating tools that help him do his job better. Some examples:

A map of all of the park & rides in King County
A map of all the transfer centers in King County

He created the maps using Windows Live Local‘s “collection” feature. (I’m using the same tool to create interactive maps of bus routes I like. I’ll post the first one soon.) They do take a bit of time to load, so be patient.

Thanks, Evan, for providing an example of the benefits of a bus-based life, and for doing your part to make it easier for others to ride.

November Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Sue Mariconda (aka “Susiepooh“), a New York City native who sold her car earlier this month (on 11/14, to be exact), and (wisely) signed up for the city’s One Less Car Challenge. Here’s what she had to say about her decision:

I didn’t even have a drivers license until I was 23 … didn’t even own a car until I was 30. Then I met a guy in NJ in the suburbs and needed a car. I became a car addict and drove places I certainly could’ve walked to or taken the bus to. Two years ago we moved out here and were living in Lynnwood, which is also a very car obsessed suburb … I got to work by bus (CT413) but still had to drive to the park & ride …

We moved to West Seattle right on the 120 route in March. I was very excited to not have to take my car out to go to work at all. Then it just sat there. I figured I was averaging 4,000 miles a year, and it was hardly worth holding on to it. When the apartment management decided to start charging $25 for the extra parking spot (monthly) … I finally decided to get rid of the car.

Our winner, enjoying one of the many good reasons for her decision

West Seattle is, apparently, a good training ground for bus chicks. Less than two weeks after taking the plunge, Sue has already graduated to advanced bus riding skills.

My husband has a car also, and I realized that most of the places I go to are either reachable by bus, or I’m carpooling with him somewhere. So I thought we’d be able to coordinate our schedules. But I’ve been very impressed with myself that even though he’s away on business and the car is in the garage, ready for me to use, I still took the bus today to the West Seattle Junction (120/128) to run some errands.

She’s even made a few discoveries that might prove useful to the rest of us.

I … got myself a nifty bus chick bag (Victorinox Flex Mini Backpack in red) that converts to a messenger bag if I so wish, is low profile, and holds my gazillion bus maps and supplies for while I’m on the run. Then I found these cool snowflake shaped reflectors online at pedsafe.com so I can stay safe while out at night walking to and from buses.

Welcome to the fold, Sue. We’re very happy to have you.

October Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer

October’s Golden Transfer goes to the Tuckers–Sterling (aka “Daddy Tucker”), Danuelle (aka “Mommy Tucker”), Little Sterling, Shaun, and Steven–an Eastside family who put down the keys to their SUV and got on the bus this month.

It started with Daddy Tucker, who took an evening class in Seattle and chose a comfortable ride on a Sound Transit commuter bus over the bumper-to-bumper insanity on 520. Bus Nerd and I (both separately and together) ran into Daddy Tucker on the 545 on his way to class.

And then, at the Douglass-Truth extravaganza on the 14th, we ran into the entire Tucker family. They came all the way from Kirkland for the occasion, and–this time, at the insistence of Mommy Tucker, who had some Metro free-ride passes–made the trip without a car. Mommy Tucker felt it was high time for the boys Tucker to take their first bus ride (255+48, for those who care to know), and this bus chick agrees. Here’s hoping it won’t be their last.

The lovely Tucker family at the Douglass-Truth bus stop, triumphant after a successful ride

September Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer--designed by Zach Tucker

This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Metro’s only floating bus, the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, which completed its final run of 2006 just 23 minutes ago. From May 1st until today, the Water Taxi transported a record 118,000 passengers across Elliott Bay. Some of those passengers were repeaters, of course: commuters; frequent beachgoers; and me, a woman who likes to visit her parents.

In addition to being the cheapest scenic boat ride in the city, the Water Taxi is also a useful form of transportation. It provides a short, convenient route between downtown and Seacrest Park in West Seattle. And, in case you’re not headed to (or coming from) Seacrest, you can ride a free Metro shuttle between the park and Alki, the Admiral District, and Alaska Junction.

Bus Chick's Water Taxi
The line
Waiting in line to get on
Us, on the water bus
Bus Chick and Bus Nerd take one last ride.
Jeremy and Elizabeth at Matador

To celebrate the Water Taxi’s last night in service, we rode over to the west side to meet my parents; my brother, Jeremy; and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, for dinner. We ate at Matador, which I thought was a good choice: Good food. Nice crowd. Decent mojitos. (Note: You can follow red wine with mojitos when you don’t have to worry about driving.)

So thanks EBWT, for enabling so many of my summer adventures: sunset roller blading, Salty’s brunches, fireworks-viewing, and, of course, innumerable parental visits. It’s going to be a long seven months until I can ride again.

Not a bad way to travel
Buh bye

August Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Warren Yee, volunteer coordinator for Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association (aka MEHVA), an all-volunteer organization of current and retired Metro employees “dedicated to the preservation of Seattle and King County’s transit heritage through the restoration and operation of vintage transit vehicles as a working, living museum.”

Warren and his team of volunteers don’t just maintain the historic buses; they also donate their time to drive them–for MEHVA-sponsored tours, and occasionally, for private events.

Saturday before last, despite a scheduling mix-up that resulted in some seriously overbooked buses and drivers, Warren worked his volunteer-coordinator magic to provide a wedding bus for Busnerd and me. (It would have been a mini disaster if he hadn’t been able to help us, since we had promised to provide transportation, and many guests had planned accordingly.) He found us a bus (a cool one at that), made sure we had a driver for the first leg (thanks, Manny!), and even stayed up past his bedtime to drive the final leg: the not-so-glamorous post-reception midnight run.

Thank you, Warren, for your efforts to preserve Seattle’s history–and an important day for two people who will never forget you.

Wedding bus
I don’t have a picture of Warren, so here’s the next best thing: a 60s-era Seattle Transit bus.
Wedding bus
Here it is again. You can find more pics of cool, old buses on MEHVA’s website.

July Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer, designed by Zach TuckerWay back in the beginning of the month, I took the 550 to Bellevue to pick up a Flexcar for a weekend rental. Because I’d been on a fairly long hiatus from my job on the Eastside, and because I had rushed to catch this particular 550, I completely forgot that a ride across the lake on a Sound Transit bus costs $2.50, a dollar more than my $1.50 pass.

Unfortunately, my wallet contained no singles–only a $20 bill and 70 cents in change. By the time I realized this, the bus was long past the ride-free zone, which meant it was too late to get off and break the bill (read: buy some chocolate). And so, fueled by bad childhood memories of the day I lost my bus tickets on the way to school and an irrational fear of committing a bus foul, I began to panic.

I didn’t want to draw attention to my situation by asking the other passengers for change, but, after a split second of deliberation, decided it was far preferable to the attention I would draw if I waited to work it out with the bus driver at the end of the ride. I sucked it up and asked the woman next to me if she could break a 20. She couldn’t.

At the stop on Mercer Island, I mustered up the courage to try again, this time with the guy in front of me. He had some change, but not 20 dollars’ worth. When I offered to trade the 20 for whatever he had, he asked what I needed it for. I explained my situation, and he handed me a dollar, refusing my 70 cents and my profuse thanks.

“It’s no big deal,” he said. “It’s just a dollar.”

Then he got off the bus. (I assume it was because we had reached his stop, but there’s also the chance he wanted to avoid the possibility of any other psycho chicks begging him for bus fare.)

And so, I am awarding July’s Golden Transfer to my unknown 550 hero. Yes, it was just a dollar, but on that particular afternoon, it was everything to this bus chick.

June Golden Transfer

Golden Transfer This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Dave Johnston, a New Jersey native (the Philadelphia side) and longtime Seattleite who is both car-free and (not coincidentally) a fabulously talented writer.

Dave came by his car-free status unintentionally: The suspension on his Volvo station wagon started to fail, and rather than pay the exorbitant repair cost (or risk losing a wheel on the road), he decided to stop driving it. (From Dave: “…having had that wagon for a number of years, I felt that something fantastic was going to happen. And when I say fantastic, I mean an explosion.”) At first, he considered the choice a temporary inconvenience, but after a few not-so-bad months sans voiture, Dave began to, in his own words, “suck the marrow out of the bus.” He donated his car to a public radio station and embraced his life as a full-time bus rider.

Lucky for Dave, he lives on Capitol Hill and works downtown (ideal conditions for car-free living). Still, because he is a writer, he travels all over the region to conduct interviews (not-so-ideal conditions for car-free living). He has taken the bus to almost every neighborhood in the city and to such far-flung locations as Shoreline and Medina. (Who knew they even had buses in Medina?)

Dave is one of the funniest people I know (not that I know many funny people), and I love hearing stories of his bus adventures. Maybe it’s his sense of humor. Maybe it’s a Capitol Hill thing. All I know is, his stories are almost always more interesting than mine. I’m hoping one day he’ll share a few here.

Our hero, preparing to suck the marrow out of the bus
Dave, again
I think he got it all.

May Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer award goes to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in the Central District–and not just because it’s the church I happen to attend.

Good Shepherd’s congregation has adopted a bus stop (on 23rd Avenue near Union), which means that, starting after the first major cleanup this Saturday, they will keep it free of trash and graffiti for all of the lucky 48 riders who use it.

Mrs. Annie Lamb, the force behind the stop adoption, has been riding the bus for longer than I’ve been alive. And she’s not the only one. Many of Good Shepherd’s members ride the bus. At least once a week, I see someone from church on one of my regular routes. Did I mention that the Golden Transfer logo was designed by GS member Zach Tucker?

So thanks to everyone at Good Shepherd, for your loyal ridership and for your contribution to the bus-riding community. I have it on good authority that God looks favorably upon those who support public transportation.

April Golden Transfer award

Golden Transfer (designed by Zach Tucker) Golden Transfers are monthly awards that are granted–by yours truly–to bus riders of distinction. In the future, I hope to give the winners lots of cash and fabulous prizes (including, of course, a sexy t-shirt). For now, all I can offer is a thank you–and five minutes of fame on the Internets.

And so, without further ado, I announce the winners of the inaugural BCTA Golden Transfer award:

Juantonio (aka Tony) and Anita Rush

Tony and Anita moved to the Seattle area from Detroit three years ago. They got jobs at Microsoft (Anita as an FTE, Tony for a different company that initially placed him at MS as a vendor) and, like many ‘Softies who are new to the area, bought a place on the Eastside–in this case, Sammamish. As two young professionals with busy lives (two young professionals from the Motor City, no less), they settled into a two-car lifestyle.

About a year ago, Tony decided to go back to school (he’s working toward a master’s in public affairs) and started attending classes at Seattle U. Lucky for Tony, the 216 stops right in front of their house. He quickly learned that taking the bus across the bridge was easier than driving and started taking the bus (216 + 12) to school. Recently, Tony’s job transferred him to their main office downtown, and he started taking the 216 to work.

Picture Being the intelligent and wise (did I mention cool?) couple they are, Tony and Anita have decided that it doesn’t make sense for them to continue to own two cars. Only Anita uses a car to commute, and on the weekends, they are either together or their schedules are flexible enough for them to share a vehicle. And so, they have decided to sell their 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and make a go at life as a one-car family.

Not only are they looking forward to the financial benefits (I’m thinking they even qualify for the city’s One Less Car Challenge), but they are also enjoying the changes to their lives. Here’s what Tony had to say about his new life as a (nearly) full-time bus rider:

“…I really love it. I’m finding more free time to relax, prepare for class, sleep or just chill out listing to some tunes. I’m really excited about this whole process, as it not only saves money but allows me the opportunity to experience Seattle for the little intricacies that we take for granted while driving. Trees, flowers, skylines–all these sorts of things kind of put you in awe when you are able to sit back and embrace them. This will definitely be a lifestyle change but it is one that is worthwhile and I totally embrace this opportunity.”

Congratulations, guys. Here’s hoping that Transit Now passes, and the 216 starts running more often.