Tag Archives: TCC

Books + buses = goodness

Coolest stickers ever

Coolest stickers ever

Almost exactly a year ago, I started a job at a nonprofit I’ve admired for many years. I believe deeply in the organization’s mission and enjoy my work a great deal, but I almost never write about it here. This is because, up until July of 2011, my transit “advocacy” (such as it was) was completely independent of any organization and influenced only by my own opinions and experiences. I’ve never been paid to write my blog (or, for that matter, for any talks, panels, or other appearances related to it), and I’ve never accepted advertising on my site.

Now, for the first time, I’m affiliated with an organization that works on issues I write about. I don’t want the opinions I express outside of work to reflect on (or be confused with) those of my organization. And, I don’t want my personal musings to be motivated by any kind of work-related interest. So, I’ve held myself to a single, fairly simple rule: Don’t blog about work stuff, and don’t talk about my blog at work.

But folks, today I’m going to break my self-imposed rule, because there’s a project I’ve been working on at my day job that is just too cool not to write about, and I think you should sign up and participate and tell all of your friends to do the same. Fellow rider/readers, today marks the launch of the coolest book club in the history of humankind, Books on the Bus.

We are excited to announce Books on the Bus, a collaboration among Transportation Choices and King County Metro, King County Library System, Richard Hugo House, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers.

The Books on the Bus concept is simple: It’s a book club for transit riders. Here’s how it will work.

Every quarter, we will select a book for participants to read on their bus rides. (In the spirit of community, we will make an effort to select books written by local authors or that take place in the Pacific Northwest.) Our current selection is Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices. Hotel Angeline was written live on stage by 36 of Pacific Northwest’s most interesting writers. Half of the proceeds from sales of the novel go to support local literacy nonprofits–this year, Powerful Schools and 826 Seattle.

At the end of the three-month reading period, we will host an event to celebrate and discuss the book. Then, we will repeat the process with a different book.

Though the final event will certainly provide plenty of stimulating book talk, it is during the reading period where the “magic” of Books on the Bus will happen. The magic maker, of course, is the bus.

Buses are perfect places to, as our friends at King County Library say, “take time to read.” Public transit allows you to use your travel time as you please, and for many people, daily commutes are the only times they find to read for pleasure.

But public transit also provides opportunities for interaction. Buses create spontaneous, mobile, and very diverse communities–all over the county, all day long. Buses can certainly lead to lasting relationships, but perhaps more meaningful, and certainly more common, are the incidental interactions: the good-morning nods, sympathetic smiles, and relinquished seats–the history lessons, sports debates, and occasional flirtations–that add richness and texture to every bus rider’s life.

It is these incidental interactions that we hope Books on the Bus will provoke and strengthen. We want buses to be places where people in King County “take time to read,” but also where they connect and communicate.

We hope you’ll sign up for Books on the Bus and make Hotel Angeline your summer ride read!

With so many service cuts (actual and looming) and no stable revenue sources on the horizon, I am grateful for this small bright spot in my bus life.

Speaking of community…

One of my very favorite organizations, Transportation Choices Coalition, held a bake sale at Aurora Transit Center this morning (yes, folks, it has come to that) to draw attention to the funding crises that our state’s transit agencies are facing.

(via: STB)

Wish I could have been there. In addition to supporting more transit options in the region, I also fully support increased dessert options in my household. We’re down to a single Girl Scout cookie, and Chicklet’s already got dibs.

Upcoming events for transit types

Thursday, January 24th

Metro is hosting a class to help employers lower employee commuting costs.

The law allows employees to set aside up to $115 per month in pre-tax income for purchase of a transit pass or ticket book. Because pre-tax benefits lower an employee’s taxable income, the employee saves federal withholding and FICA payroll taxes on the amount deducted. The employer also saves paying FICA on the amount deducted. Employers can also choose to contribute to the cost of their employees’ public transportation fare and still allow employees to use pre-tax dollars for the employee share.

Metro staff offers free training classes for employers – the next one is Jan. 24 in Seattle – tool kits to start the program at individual worksites, and assistance in carrying out the program.

If you don’t work for a company cool enough to buy your bus pass, you should encourage your boss (or HR rep) to go.


Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Mezza Cafe Conference Room, Third Floor, Starbucks Center, 2401 Utah Ave. S.

Register here.

Tuesday, January 29th

The Transportation Choices Coalition is hosting Transportation Advocacy Day.

We’re heading down to Olympia on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 to advocate for action on climate change, better transportation choices, and healthier transportation. Last year more than 150 citizens like you advocated for better transportation alternatives. At Advocacy Day you’ll have the chance to learn more about transportation issues, meet with legislators, attend hearings, and be a professional lobbyist for a day!

Last year this event was extremely successful. If you can make the time, it’s worth it to attend–if only to be part of the bike/Flexcar caravan.


Times: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Meet at: The United Churches of Olympia, 110 11th Avenue SE, Olympia

Register here.

Friday, February 1st

As part of their First Friday Earth Forum series, the Rainier Valley Unitarian Universalists will show the documentary Bus Riders Union .

This film by Academy Award winner Haskell Wexler traces three years in the life of Los Angeles’ Bus Riders Union as it forges a powerful multiracial movement to fight transit racism, clean up LA’s lethal auto pollution, and win billion-dollar victories for real mass transit for the masses.

Does the Seattle area need its own union to fight for more transit to better serve both the needy and the environment? Come and be part of this conversation.

I’ve been wanting to see this film, so I’ll be there.


Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Rainier Unitarian Universalist Center, 835 Yesler Way (Yesler and Broadway)

An evening of firsts (and one second)

Last night, on the way to her first Transportation Choices Coalition meeting, Chicklet took her first ride on the 27. The ride was definitely more thrilling for mother (whose favorite bus happens to be the 27) than it was for daughter, who slept through the ride. During her nap, Chicklet missed the chance to witness her first bus mack, one of the relatively rare driver-on-passenger variety.

At the meeting, my little chicklet received her second award in a week (the first being the November Golden Transfer): a lifetime membership in TCC. Check it:

Rosa became a TCC member at not quite five weeks old

She was less than grateful, fussing for most of the meeting and generally leaving a bad impression on the other transit types who attended. At least she was quiet on the 27 ride home.