Friday, April 30, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER/PEDESTRIAN (7 - SPECIAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE EDITION)

Dear stupid Provo drivers/pedestrians who are here for Women's conference:

I don't mind that you descend upon BYU in droves once a year. I don't mind that you always seem to bring rain or snow with you. I don't mind that crowds of affable women make it impossible for me to walk through the Wilkinson Center. I don't mind that I have to bring a crossword puzzle while waiting in line for lunch to pass the time. I don't even mind that they turn all the men's bathrooms in the fine arts building except three into women's bathrooms.

I just wish you would follow traffic rules.

In particular, when you are crossing the street and the bus that was stopped at the red light where you are crossing starts to move because the light has turned green, you might want to think about vacating the intersection, rather than just looking quizzically up at the bus. Try it sometime.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (6)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:
You and your friends are all apparently twenty-something college students in reasonably good physical condition; if you attempted this a few trips to In-N-Out later, it might just be the death of you.

It must never occur to you to actually push the button for a crosswalk before crossing the street, because all of you were running full tilt down the hill and across the intersection to get across the street before the light turned red. The light turned yellow as you entered the intersection, so you sped up even more, managing to get across just in time for . . . the pedestrian signal to show the little green man. You see, the light was turning red, but that was so you could cross. So, before the effects of age start to set in, you should probably figure out how crosswalks work. You could add years to your life.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

VALIDATED

I often go to Wal-Mart on the 831. Due to the periodic nature of the 831, and the fact that Wal-Mart is the second-to-last stop on the 831 Northbound, I have about fifteen minutes to do my shopping, wait in the check-out line, and get back to the bus. Yesterday I was able to do this successfully, and I was gratified to see when I got back to the bus stop the same little old lady who had ridden the bus up to Wal-Mart with me. You've no idea how validated I feel to not be the only one who rides the bus for forty minutes just to shop at Wal-Mart for fifteen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

THE F868 -- STILL FURTHER INTEL

So, I did go to American Fork today, but I didn't see any purple flags or little buses that said "F868" on them, so I returned back to Provo. Ironically enough, on my way back, I found a flyer at the Transit Center that said service on the F868 will begin May 3, 2010, a week from today. The good news is, I didn't actually miss it! The bad news is, I went to American Fork before I went to the Transit Center.

THE F868 -- FURTHER INTEL

Upon further investigation and with the help of a friend on the inside, I have ascertained that the F868 has, in fact, been running for three weeks now. I think I might go up to American Fork today to see if I can see it in action. That is all.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

THE EFF-WHAT NOW?

So, today I was at the Cedar Hills Wal-Mart, which doesn't look like a Wal-Mart because Cedar Hills/Alpine people would never shop at a regular Wal-Mart, and I saw a bus stop there. I thought, "That's funny, the bus doesn't go through here." As we got closer, I saw that it said "F868, Amer. Fork Alpine The Lift" which, along with the purple color of the flag (the part of the sign that actually has the route number on it), means it's a flex route, or a route that has marked stops, but for extra money can deviate from the regular route and drop you off anywhere within a certain radius. Last summer in their Paratransit proposal UTA mentioned implementing flex service in Northern Utah County last December. I didn't hear about it since, which led me to believe that it had not been implemented. But now I don't know what to think! Has it yet to be implemented, in which case UTA will tell us about it at some date in the near future, or has this bus been running for four months without my knowledge? If the second case is true, my paradigm has been destroyed. A bus I don't know about? Never!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WHERE'S THE OTHER END?

Once, back when I rode the 822 with regularity, I got off the bus at BYU. I couldn't help but notice the 832 bus that had pulled in behind, because the screen on the front had frozen. Normally it would have alternately flashed "EAST PROVO" and "NORTHBOUND", but this time it had gotten stuck mid-transition. While a little garbled, the screen, by only a slight stretch of the imagination, read "832 EARTHBOUND". So, if that was the 832 Earthbound, where's the other end of the line?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CHIVALRY IS NOT DEAD

Yesterday I was riding the 830 (which, by the way, is so much more fun to ride now that the detour is over). When I got on at the Transit Center, it was apparently carrying quite a load of passengers, because people came streaming out both doors, and even then, when I got on, there were a lot of people still on the bus.

Now, when people are getting off through both doors, it behooves those who are about to get on to wait for those who are exiting, so as to avoid awkward personal contact and facilitate as smooth a transition as possible. Therefore, when I was about to get on the bus, the driver held up a finger and said "Hold it." I nodded and waited, because this is the nice way to tell a passenger not to get on just yet (the mean way is to make vehement shooing-away motions with both arms and glare at you like you just embezzled their life savings. Fortunately, there is only ONE driver who does it the mean way. All the others are nice).

Now the girl behind me, who had not seen the bus driver nicely tell me to wait, thought I was merely being chivalrous. Saying, "Oh, thank you!", she proceeded to start getting on the bus. The driver held up his finger again and said "Hold it!" and she got back off and waited, too.

After a few more people got off, the driver said "Okay," which is the nice way to let a passenger know it's okay to get on the bus now. We both started moving at the same time, then looked at each other, and I said "Go ahead," and let her on first.

Friday, April 16, 2010

AT LAST!!!

At last!!! At loooooooooooooong laaaaaaaaaaaaaaast!!!

The 830 detour appears to be over. I rode the bus a little extra today just to make sure.

No more walking two extra blocks to catch the 830 from my apartment! (And no more walking past the regular stop and thinking "I still have two blocks to go . . .")

No more walking two extra blocks to catch the 830 north from Muse, Velour, Smith's, etc.!

No more Anal-Retentive Bus Driver stopping twenty feet short of me and then barking at me when I got on that where I was standing "isn't a bus stop" (I'm sorry, did it look like I was sunbathing? Of course I was waiting for the bus!)

Did I mention I'm excited that the detour's over?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (5)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrians:
What gives you the idea that making out WHILE WALKING DOWN THE SIDEWALK is okay? It's not. Get a tree.
Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, April 12, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (6)

Dear stupid Provo driver:
Cutting off a bus demonstrates a shocking lack of the knowledge of physics, but passing a bus on the left, then cutting it off so that you can turn right through a narrow parking lot entrance at full speed borders on the certifiable. Someday you will end up with your car half-in, half-out of a flowerbed, wishing you had waited the extra ten seconds to come up to the parking lot entrance behind the bus.
Regards,
BUSNINJA

Saturday, April 10, 2010

HOW TO WRITE MUSIC ON THE BUS

I ride the bus a lot. I also write music a lot. It's only natural that the two should at times intersect. Writing music on the bus is, understandably, a little difficult. Therefore I have provided the following list of tips for a smoother composing-on-mass-transit experience:

1. Use a pencil. Carry a big eraser.
2. Don't write anything while you're on University Ave. Too bumpy.
3. Wait until you're stopped at a bus stop, red light, etc. to draw long straight lines such as barlines and first endings. When a wheelchair passenger gets on, rejoice! Draw as many straight lines as you can during the extra time.
4. Have what you're going to draw next firmly in your mind, so that when the bus stops, you can take full advantage.
5. If writing while the bus is moving, make short, firm strokes that don't take more than 20 milliseconds or so to perform. Otherwise, keep the pencil well off the paper.
6. If you must hum something to see how it sounds, do so quietly enough that the people around you don't stare. Unless the guy sitting to your right is falling asleep on your shoulder. Then go ahead and hum loudly.
7. Keep practicing. If you do it often enough, it will get easier.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BLINKERS

Dear everyone:
If you drive without using your blinkers, please don't have children.
If you have children, don't teach them how to drive. Let someone else.
Regards,
BUSNINJA

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (5)

Dear stupid Provo driver:
You have a nice, big, long pickup truck. I like your truck. You, however, seem to be self-conscious about it, since you must want it to be a few inches shorter. Why else would you make an illegal U-turn on State Street with a bus coming at 40 mph right behind you? Trust me, there are less painful ways to smash the back end of your truck in. Try backing into a wall or something next time.
Regards,
BUSNINJA

BUS AIN'T COMIN'

A couple years ago I was waiting for the 830 at 100 South and University with about 4 other people. Some person in a car driving by saw the crowd of people and thought it would be funny to shout "Bus ain't comin'!" as the car drove by. We all looked at each other and smiled, because we knew the bus was coming. Less than two minutes later, the 830 showed up, and we all boarded in an orderly fashion.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PEOPLE WHO STAND IN FRONT OF THE BACK DOOR

If you've ever arrived early to a class at BYU, you may have noticed an interesting phenomenon: that people leave as much space as possible between them and the next person. This often leads to vast empty spaces on the rows in auditoriums, and means that when you arrive late, you have to step over people and upset the delicate balance of equally-spaced awkwardness. I don't know if this is an American, a Utahn, or a BYU thing, but it carries over to the bus around here.

Obviously, when the first few people get on the bus, they all get their own seat. Then comes the awkward time when you have to (gasp!) sit by someone. It is amazing how reticent some people are to do this. There could be ten empty seats next to someone, and yet some recent boarders still elect to stand in the aisle.

These people who are so afraid to sit next to someone else all seem to be drawn to the space in front of the back door of the bus, because they all stand there. At first glance, the space in front of the back door of the bus must seem like a convenient, out-of-the-way place to stand and avoid as much human contact as possible. However, it soon backfires on them because, as so often happens on buses, people get off. The person standing in front of the back door then has to awkwardly shift around as the person getting off the bus squeezes past them. So much for avoiding human contact.

The next time you get on a bus and the only empty seats are next to well-groomed college students, grow up and sit by the first one. You'll avoid more human contact that way.

Monday, April 5, 2010

IS YOUR LIFE WORTH LESS THAN A HALF-HOUR?

So the other day I was standing at the bus stop and another young man approached me. As the 831 pulled up to the light to turn left, he asked me "Does this bus go to UVU?"
I said, "Yes, but you have to get on across the street."
Pointing to the approaching 831 Northbound barreling down University Avenue in the opposite direction he asked, "Is it that one?"
I said, "Yes," and shrugged, thinking he was going to miss it.
To my great surprise, he took off across University Avenue, dodging traffic and narrowly avoiding death several times. He made it to the stop in time to catch the Northbound, but barely.
When I got on the 831 Southbound a moment later, the bus driver asked "Were you trying to help him or kill him?"
I said, "I sure didn't tell him to do that. He did that by himself."
Then the driver said "Amazing how some people think their life is worth less than a half-hour."
I agreed. This comment gave me pause to stop and think for a while -- is my life worth less than 30 minutes? Would it really kill me to wait for the next bus? It might just kill me to run across University Avenue in the middle of traffic to catch the bus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

AWKWARD

So, a few days ago, I was on the 830 (As an eight-thirty-wunner, I sometimes forget how crowded the 830 gets), and the guy next to me started falling asleep. As he did so, he also started tilting to the left. His head was precariously close to my right shoulder when he woke up and saw me glaring at him. The look on his face was priceless. He sat up straight as a board for the rest of the ride, and when we got to the Transit Center, he jumped up very quickly and was the first one off the bus. Teach him to fall asleep on my shoulder.