Tag Archives: People

Speaking of love…

On Saturday, I received a surprise in the mail from my future mother-in-law (too cool for that title and so to be known henceforth as “my Gail”). My Gail lives in Detroit, a city that, despite plans for a fabulous new Rosa Parks Transit Center, is not known for its buses. It is, however, a city known for its cool t-shirts, and my Gail managed to find me the coolest one of all. It has a picture of a vintage 53, a route that travels the length of Woodward Avenue, one of the longest of Detroit’s very long streets. (I think I rode the 53 to a museum on one of my visits.) I can’t find the shirt on the Internet, but here’s what the picture of the bus looks like:

Detroit Transit apparel

I wish I could wear it every day.

A bus chick by any other name…

A couple of months ago (yes, I have a serious backblog), a reader e-mailed to point out the irony of my first name (which, for those who don’t know, is Carla). As surprising as it might sound, I haven’t thought about my name’s association with automobiles since elementary school. Back then, the class clown (incidentally, the only other kid in my grade who rode the 2 to school) got a kick out of making fun of it. “Truckla! Trainla!” he’d tease on our morning ride. Later, on the way home, he’d pick up where he left off: “Boatla! Planela!” And so on, ad nauseam, until we parted ways downtown.

Not surprisingly, Busla (not to be confused with bus luh) was the name that stuck. It was also the name he was screaming at the top of his lungs when he “accidentally” (on purpose) threw my backpack (an early form of the bus chick bag) into the pond at the Denny-Blaine stop. But that’s a story for another post.

“Busla” back in the day. That’s me in the back on the left–yes, the one with the oh-so-fresh shag–or, as my brother Jeremy (front right) calls it, the “whip cut.”

Update on that adopted stop

Yesterday evening, I walked to my friend Aileen‘s house for post-work wine and conversation. (The walk was not short, but in the summer, if I have the time, and the distance is manageable, I prefer walking to busing.) At 23rd and Union, I ran into none other than Mrs. Annie Lamb (of May Golden Transfer fame) and her sister, Mrs. Bell, picking up and emptying trash at Good Shepherd’s newly adopted bus stop. It looks as good as it did after our first cleanup–better, actually, now that Metro has installed the promised trash can. Thanks, ladies!

Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Lamb (aka “Metro Mama”), holding it down at the southbound 48 stop at 23rd & Union

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.


Birthday boyToday is my little (actually younger–he’s not so little) brother Jeremy’s birthday. To celebrate the 26th anniversary of two equally cataclysmic events (his arrival on the planet and Mount St. Helens’ eruption), he’s having a house party, and he was kind enough to invite his old, almost-married-lady sister. What screams old lady louder than even the most sensible pair of bus chick shoes? Leaving a party before midnight. Unfortunately, the last bus leaves his street at 11:57, so that’s just what I’ll be doing.

Perhaps if I found a cute pair of glass slippers…

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.

Considering a career change?

If only driving the bus were this easy!
Yesterday was, apparently, take your daughter/son (or nephew) to work day. This young man (cheeks? check!) was learning how to be a bus driver. Unfortunately, according to his aunt, the lovely (and fortunate–see today’s earlier post) woman at the wheel of the 39, there’s a bit more to it than taking a nap in the sunniest seat on the bus.

Thanks, Brian!

Brian Nussbaum, a mechanic from Atlantic Base, is Metro’s Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year.

“…the vehicle maintenance group plays an important role is attracting riders to Metro’s routes by making the system reliable, efficient, and clean. It’s not only having clean seats, windows and floors inside the bus, but also running buses that operate with clean-burning fuels and the latest technologies.”

Even glamazons ride sometimes

Today is the 33rd birthday of my former college roommate and one my very bestest friends, Monique (aka, Original Glamazon).

Monique is tall and gorgeous and as glamorous as they come (hence, the nickname), but it wasn’t always so. Well, she was always tall and gorgeous, but back at Rice, she was less than glamorous. She was broke, as was I. For a good part of our college careers, Monique and I were car-free, and not by choice. Both of us worked (Moni more regularly than I), were much too cool for campus (grown women lived in apartments, after all), and were therefore forced to figure out how to get ourselves from work to school and back again without wheels.

Monique is a true Texan and comes from a town where, as far as I know, they don’t even have buses. When I met her, she had never ridden public transportation (other than a school bus, if that counts) in her entire life. I, on the other hand, had been riding pretty much since birth but was terrified of learning a whole new system.

We learned the ropes together, despite Houston’s mediocre public transportation and car-focused development. We got lost together more than once, got off on streets we knew (unfortunately, far from the correct cross streets) and walked for miles in 100-degree heat and 100% humidity. I got fired from a job for being late on one-too-many occasions. (That last one was on a day the bus drove right past me while I stood dumbfounded at the stop. I think the driver was trying to make the light.)

In those days, getting fired was a reason to laugh. So was seeing a guy talking on his cordless phone at a stop downtown; and riding the route everyone called church, because of the driver who’d sing and praise the Lord for the entire ride; and avoiding the stalker guys who would immediately pounce on any woman sitting alone (thank God we had each other).

Moni isn’t a bus chick anymore (I think those days might have put her off the bus forever), but she sometimes rides the light rail that Houston recently built (a Super Bowl is a powerful incentive). She also rode the bus with me (still waiting on that light rail) the last time she came to Seattle. Of course, she created quite a stir, but then, glamazons always do.

Happy birthday, OG. Your friends in Seattle (and the stalker guys, I’m afraid) are patiently awaiting your next visit.

Bus Chick and Moni on a bus-enabled excursion in Seattle
Moni at the bus stop