Monday, August 30, 2010
This past week was no different; I was busy right up until the moment I caught the bus to go out of town. Minutes before the bus came, I finally passed, and made my way hurriedly to the bus stop nearest my abode.
When I got there, I looked at the shelter and thought, this little ridge here has a lot of dust on it! I should clean it right away. Then I realized that cleaning checks were already over and that I had no obligation to clean the bus stop whatsoever. Sheesh.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
1) Stand in the middle of a busy walkway on campus looking lost
2) Start crossing where there is no crosswalk, realize their error, and run back to where they started from instead of just continuing to the other side
3) Ask you where the building right in front of them is
4) Mispronounce "Widtsoe" even after you pronounce it correctly very clearly for them
5) Wear their high school senior shirt without also wearing gym shorts, making it clear that they made a conscious decision to wear their senior shirt in public
6) Say the grid system is hard to understand, even though for them it involves at most counting to 20
7) Ask the bus drivers if the 831 goes to the Mall (it's the ONLY northbound bus that doesn't)
8) Awkwardly hit on each other in public places like food lines and bus stops
9) Have unintentionally funny conversations, like this one:
I was on the 831 (!) yesterday, and two girls were having a chat about where things were at UVU, which is like holding a neon sign that says "I'm eighteen and I don't know where I'm going!" They also said several times that they had no idea where they were at the moment, which is like holding a sign that says "I've never ridden the 831 before and I was expecting it to go in a straight line for more than four blocks!" Then they took to talking about what they were seeing on University Parkway, and the subject of Golden Corral came up.
One of the girls asked the other "What's Golden Corral?" and the other said "It's a restaurant, like one of those where you can just eat as much as you want, what are those called . . ."
Then both of them blurt out "Buffet!" at the very same time and burst into giggles.
Now, I'm 6'3", 210 lbs., and I'm sure I'm more into buffets than the average person, but seriously, party people.
You are driving a motorhome up a hill. I feel the need to tell you that these circumstances are not conducive to gratuitous amounts of mobility.
It is therefore unwise to suddenly change two lanes of traffic right behind a big truck with the 833 coming in right behind you. If you had thought to do it a little earlier, you wouldn't have had to go so slowly to barely clear the truck in front of you, and the 833 would have more than just barely cleared you.
As unpleasant as having to turn around and backtrack sounds, let me assure you that getting hit by a bus with the gas pedal all the way down is infinitely the worse choice here. Consider that as you drive slowly up more hills today.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Anyway, so I'm putting my bus schedules in order, and the man next to me says "I've heard of people collecting comic books, but I've never seen anyone who collects bus schedules."
I was already mildly annoyed, and this didn't help. "Well, when you ride the bus as much as I do, you need the schedules."
He said: "Well, why don't you just memorize the schedules for the routes you use most?" and then I wanted to say:
Seriously, I gotta look more like a memorizer. Nobody believes me.
Monday, August 23, 2010
For some reason, this annoyed me. I suppose it was because I just naturally assumed people could tell by looking that I have the bus schedule memorized. For example, had she asked me, "What time does the 831 come by this stop?" I would have said:
Doesn't that show?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
BUS DRIVER, to WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
Where you headed?
WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
Taylorsville High School.
Eight minutes later, assuming the bus is on time
WOMAN IN FRONT OF THE BUS has no idea where she is and does not pull the cord when she should. BUS DRIVER realizes she has not pulled the cord when she should have, and starts pulling off the road to let her off in between stops
pulling off the road
Ma'am, this is Taylorsville High School.
MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS pulls cord
WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
somewhat more insistently, opening the door
This is Taylorsville High School . . .
WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
Okay. Starts getting up
MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS
thinking that BUS DRIVER is opening the door to let him off instead of WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
thinking that MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS is BUS DRIVER telling her not to get off
Okay. Sits back down
obviously confused by WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS's behavior
Ma'am, this is where you need to get off.
MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS
obviously confused by the fact that the bus driver is still sitting in between stops with the door open
I said, the next one!
WOMAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
obviously confused by what she perceives as BUS DRIVER's split personality
Okay. At last, gets off
BUS DRIVER closes the door and pulls back onto the road
MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS walks to the front of the bus
MAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS, formerly MAN IN THE BACK OF THE BUS
That's not a bus stop is it? I don't remember that being a bus stop.
Oh, I was just letting that woman off at Taylorsville High School.
MAN IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS
Oh, I see. I was wonderin' about that . . .
General cordiality achieved
I'm sooooo blogging about this.
I am at a loss as to why you honked your horn for such an extended period of time this morning on Sandhill Road. You were the only car on the road. I can only think of a few reasons for this:
1) Your hand-eye coordination isn't what it used to be, and you missed.
2) You just bought a new car, and your old car didn't have a horn that worked, and you are so happy about having a car with a horn that you sound it randomly for extended periods of time for no other reason than the sheer joy of tooting your horn.
3) You think Wal-Mart is the arch-symbol of all that is wrong with our capitalist, materialistic society, and you sound your horn in protest as you drive past it.
4) Considering I was the other person on the road, you either thought I was cute or somehow objected to the fact that I was wearing red gym shorts in public and were honking at me. In which case you should have honked before you were half a block past me.
I'm sure you know the answer to that question, but for the record, I'm still confused.
You remember me? Of course you do! You're probably still seething about your encounter with me. Okay, with my girlfriend's car. But there you go.
I hesitate to inform you, because I'm sure you already know this, that if you're going down the freeway with your left blinker on, people are going to think that you are changing lanes. Especially if you are already halfway across the dotted line.
I'm willing to let all that slide; although I don't think it's too much to ask for you to keep track of your blinkers, or where you are on the freeway, but I'll let it go. What I don't understand is why, even if you thought you were completely in the right, which you obviously did, you didn't just go around the car in front of you if the fact that they were trying to merge from a stopped position bothered you. It happens. I hate to tell you this, but the freeway isn't perfect, and it unfortunately isn't designed solely around you.
Oh, and by the way, the World Cup ended. Your horn really needs to not sound like a vuvuzuela anymore. Just sayin'.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
This list is more intended for you to gawk at than to actually read and comprehend. It's in no particular order, because it's all off the top of my head. Here goes.
1. In 2003, the "long" 820's were renumbered to be 822's. This was good because those of us who lived on the "long" part of the 820 were no longer confused about whether the bus would take us to our destination or leave us high and dry in Spanish Fork.
2. While I was in Peru, the 840 and 850 were combined into one long 850. However, the old 840 portion of the route continued to only run until 7 pm.
3. Also, the 830 was rerouted to approach BYU campus from 7th East rather than 9th East. It saves time, and nobody got on the 830 on 9th East anyway.
4. Also, the 811 was shortened to start in downtown Provo instead of at East Bay. The 830 and 850 still go all the way.
5. In 2006 when I got back, three 820's were turned into 822's, and an extra 822 trip was added onto the end of an 802 run, which increased the number of 822's each way per day from 11 to 13. Yay!
6. Also in 2006, the 832 was rerouted from the Provo Temple to Freedom Blvd. It became the fastest way to get from BYU to University Mall.
7. Also in 2006 and in conjunction with the 832 change described above, the 833 was rerouted from Freedom Blvd. to go past the temple on its way to the Mall. Service to the temple was thus seriously reduced.
8. Also in 2006, the 816 stopped running on weeknights and started running only really late on Saturdays. It seems to me, though I don't know for sure, that this was replaced by 811 and 850 night service.
9. Speaking of which, in 2006 UTA added the 9:36 pm northbound trip to the 850.
10. And took away the 10-o'clock hour northbound trip on the 832. Coincidence?
11. Sometime around then, the 831 was shortened to end at UVU, making it about 3/4 as long.
12. Also, the portion of the 862 on 800 South in Orem was removed, making it also 3/4 as long and end at UVU.
13. At this point in time, the 831 and 862 began to interline on Saturdays.
14. In conjunction with this, the 862 was reduced from every 45 minutes on Saturdays to every 60 minutes.
15. I should also mention that in 2006 the 833 dropped from every 45 minutes to every 60 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays.
16. The last thing I remember from 2006 was that the 830 was rerouted through what was then known as Parkway Crossing, ostensibly to make it less confusing for befuddled college students.
17. Then the Great Salt Lake Bus Route Redesign Happened!!! (All of those should be capital, except Happened). Too many changes to enumerate here -- let's just say that only two routes in the whole county KEPT the same numbers, 3 and 90, and they didn't even stay the same.
18. But lots happened AFTER the redesign too. Like adding Saturday service on the 218. Woot.
19. And the 201. WoOt.
20. But taking it away on the 9.
21. And the 11.
22. And the 17.
23. And the 223. Actually, that's a good thing -- I once took the 223 on a Saturday, and as far as I was able to determine, I was the only person on the 223 that entire morning. Depressing.
24. And the 228.
25. And the 232.
26. And the 236.
27. And the 248.
28. Speaking of Saturdays, there was that time that they wanted to cancel the 831 on Saturdays. But then they reduced it to every 90 minutes, which is almost the same thing.
29. They did the same thing to the 862.
30. Also, the 833 was reduced to once every 2 hours on Saturdays.
31. Also, the 822. *bitterness*
32. Part of the bitterness is that the 822 originally ran every 2 hours on Saturdays. Then they made it run every hour. Then they put it back to two hours.
33. The 54 and the 62 used to interline. Now they don't.
34. The 62 also serves a new neighborhood that it didn't use to.
35. The 62 now runs every hour during the middle of the day on weekdays instead of every half hour.
36. The 62 also runs every 90 minutes on Saturdays instead of every hour, and incongruously runs until like 10:00 p.m. when on weekdays it only runs until like 7:00.
37. A while back Sunday service was added on the 72.
38. It was recently un-added.
39. Sunday service was recently taken off the 39 also.
40. And the 45.
41. Now for some good news: The 35M came into existence. UTA's first, and still only, bus rapid transit route. I rode it once for fun. Lovely.
42. In conjunction with the 35M's existence, the 35 stopped running every 15 minutes and started running every 30 to 60 minutes on weekdays.
43. Then UTA caved and let it run every 30 minutes all day on weekdays.
44. The 72 was extended over to the Wasatch Blvd. Park 'n' Ride in order to provide connection to Ski service during the winter.
45. The 220 was also extended to the 9400 South Park 'n' Ride for the same reason. This change coincidentally allows me to go to wedding receptions in Sandy that I couldn't attend before.
46. The 304 was brought into existence.
47. Then it was un-existed.
48. The 475 was also removed from existence.
49. Trips were taken from the 453, one by one, until it's now mostly peak hour.
5o. Trips were added at the same time (coincidence?) to the 454.
51. The 556 was also brought into existence, and happily remains so.
52. In fact, the routing was extended.
53. And another bus was added to the route, allowing it to run every thirty minutes during peak times instead of every forty.
54. Speaking of peak times, the 500 now only runs every fifteen minutes during peak times, instead of all day.
55. And three hours worth of service were removed from the 223 on weekdays, between 9 am and 12 pm, which doesn't make it peak hour, just weird. Did NOBODY ride the bus ever during those three hours?
56. Another success story, the 2 was brought into existence, lowering the lowest route number in the system by one.
57. Then more trips were added to the 2 on weekdays.
58. And service was added all day on Saturdays!
59. Speaking of improvements, did I mention FRONTRUNNER!!!!! We need commuter trains around here. We like FrontRunner.
60. In conjunction with the advent of FrontRunner, UTA changed the routing on the 604.
61. And the 640.
62. And got rid of the 610.
63. And took away some 472 trips on weekdays.
64. And all the Saturday service on the 472. Why ride the bus when you can ride a train?
65. Which is why, strangely, the 474 was added, to provide "extra" commuter service in addition to FrontRunner.
66. And the 476.
67. Not surprisingly, the 474 didn't last long.
68. Neither did the 476.
69. Also the 472 was rerouted and reduced to a mere shadow of its former glory.
70. In Davis county, the 460 was rerouted for better FrontRunner connections (and to provide more coverage).
71. Also the 461.
72. Also the 463. Not the 462, interestingly.
73. When the Legacy Parkway happened, no thanks to Rocky Anderson and his ilk, the 473 schedule was adjusted because it didn't take so long to get to Ogden anymore.
74. Speaking of Ogden, shortly after the whole tap-on-tap-off thing happened, Sunday service on 604 was precipitously canceled.
75. I forgot to mention that the 604 used to run every 60 minutes on weekdays. Now it runs every 30.
76. However, all service after 8 pm on weekdays was canceled.
77. And all service after 7 pm on Saturdays.
78. Also the 625.
79. Also the 645.
80. The 613 was also slashed from every 30 to every 60 minutes on weekdays.
81. But an extra evening trip was added to the 640.
82. And 15-minute service was added to the 612 between 10 am and 6 pm.
83. Two trips on the 630 each way were turned into reduced-stop trips and renumbered the 632.
84. Flexness happened to UTA last year with the advent of the F518.
85. And the F546.
86. And the F400 - the first all-day bus in Tooele!
87. And the F401, which was originally on-demand only.
88. Then the F401 became regular service.
89. The next year the F547 happened.
90. And the F628, which took over some old 610 territory.
91. And the F868, which is of all the Flex routes dearest to me.
92. The 626 was changed from every 60 to every 75 minutes weekday afternoons.
93. Also the 627. Pattern?
94. The 227 was changed to run every 75 minutes on Saturdays instead of every 60. All these changes to 75 minutes do mean the bus comes more on time, if not as often.
95.Oh! I almost forgot. In 2007 the 831 was switched to 9th East instead of 7th East, which meant that it was remotely useful to me.
96. At first it only ran on 9th East north of Center street. But then they just switched the whole thing to 9th East.
97. The 833 was therefore switched from 9th East to 7th East, which made it not remotely useful to me.
98. The 832 end of the line is now at University Mall instead of Riverwoods. Instead of ending there, it makes a loop through Riverwoods and ends at the Mall. This allows it to run through Riverwoods an hour later on the same budget. Suite.
99. The 830 schedule was adjusted so that it could run more on time . . . it now takes twenty-one minutes just to go down University Parkway in Orem. It needs it, I promise.
100. Starting TODAY, the 802, 803, 804, 807, 810, 811, 817 (well, okay, mostly starting on Monday) will not go to the American Fork nor the Lehi Park 'n' Rides anymore. They will now stop at the FrontRunner stations in Am. Fork and Lehi, because the stations are done, because, we promise, FrontRunner IS under construction in Utah County.
There. Now I'm hungry. See ya later.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Talkers are so predictable. You can usually tell who they are from a mile away. Either they are already talking someone else's ear off when you come up to the bus stop or get on the bus, or they make awkward eye contact with you when they see you. Not "Hey, I know you!" awkward eye contact, nor defiant, teen-angst-related awkward eye contact, awkward eye contact. "I don't know you and I'm still going to talk to you incessantly about nothing until you can somehow, somewhere escape my clutches" eye contact.
Am I starting to get my point across?
Anyway, they start out by making awkward eye contact, which I (along with everyone else) avoid. Talkers are so predictable. I can hear their thought process out loud. It goes like this: "He must not have seen me. I'd better speak up so we can make fascinating conversation." Then they always turn their thoughts into actions. This is in general an admirable characteristic. Not in this case, however.
Then they proceed to talk. They don't, however, talk about anything in particular. They may start out with small talk, like "Nice day, isn't it?" or "Don't you hate how the 830 is always late?" These are acceptable small talks, I suppose, if I were at all interested in talking. Once they've run out of small talk, they either start talking about other random things they see ("Hey! Look at that sign!") or tell the same stories to you that they were telling the person before you, as if they were new and you hadn't heard what they were saying just a moment before, or they get up on their soapbox and start preaching to you about something which, ironically, usually isn't religious.
One day I was sitting tranquilly on the bench at Fort Union Blvd. and Highland Drive, waiting for the 72. People watching wasn't good that day, so I was reading a book. Then a lady and her son came and sat down on the bench near me. I recognized the awkward eye contact, yea, from afar off, and buried myself in the book.
She sat down and began staring at me. Yea, verily. She stared at me for at least a minute, while I heard her brain thinking "Why doesn't he look at me? I need to talk to him. No, really, I do." Then her brain finally said, and I heard it, "I'd better speak up!" So she did. She said something like "Don't teenagers these days just drive you crazy?" I considered her question honestly for about .8 seconds, which is longer than I should have, and since EFY was not in session, I answered "Nope." The "nope" also lasted for about .8 seconds, which is longer than it should have, and she proceeded to make more small talk, which yielded the same results.
After about three more tries, she gave up, and started talking to her son about everything she saw. He also gave one word answers, poor chap. Occasionally she would turn back and stare at me, and I made sure I was engrossed in my book. The bus didn't come, and didn't come, and didn't come, and finally I ran out of book! What was I supposed to do now?
Well, I did what any sensible person would have done under the same circumstances. I surreptitiously leaved back to the middle of the book and began rereading what I had already processed, and while I had little interest in what I was rereading, it was more interesting than the conversation two feet to my left.
When the bus came, I let them get on first. This is a good trick. It allows you to sit as far away from them as possible. I therefore had a peaceful ride back to the TRAX station, with no further compulsive conversation hogging my auditory nerve.
Another time, I was waiting for the 831, minding my own business, when the man sitting on the bench asked me if I believed in God. I said yes, because I do, and he proceeded to embark on a lengthy disquisition on how belief in God was a foolish, outdated thing, which I did nothing to solicit, except to exist and to be so unfortunate as to be waiting for the 831 at 9:45 in the morning (this was before the 831 started coming earlier in the mornings). His exegesis was, however, interrupted by the advent of the 831, at which point he suddenly became humble and asked "Is this the bus I take to get to University Mall?" We were now in my disquisitional court, but since I am a charitable human being, I limited my remarks to "No, you need to catch the 811." He suddenly stopped preaching and thanked me. I just got on the bus.
Those of you that have made it this far, bless you. In exchange for your trouble, here are some suggestions on how to avoid being compulsively conversed with:
1) Icy glares. Practice makes perfect.
2) Saying "excuse me", whipping out your phone and conversing animatedly in Spanish with no one, but they don't need to know that.
3) Saying "I don't usually talk to people I don't know" or "I'm sorry, I thought you had a question, but I'm not interested in conversing with you right now." If the talker is from Utah, this will discombombulate them to the point that they may never talk to anyone again.
4) Talking their ear off first, about something you care about but they probably won't (I usually use the bus). You have to be in the right mood to pull this off; don't do it cavalierly.
5) If all else fails, get up and move somewhere else. If you've tried to be nice about it, the problem is now theirs.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I was sitting in front of Albertson's in Spanish Fork today, nursing my 79-cent PowerAde (R) and waiting for the 820, when I was suddenly joined by a man with a. bike. He started talking to me, which made me nervous, because the 820 wasn't coming for a long time, and I have certain special feelings about people who feel the compulsive need to talk to me incessantly at bus stops. This time, however, disaster was averted, as he was only asking me which bus I was waiting for.
We soon established that the 820 went everywhere the 822 went north of where we were, and that we could both therefore calmly take the 820 to BYU where we could transfer to our respective other buses. This was good news for him because he had been planning on waiting even longer for the 822, which wasn't coming for another 40 minutes after the 820. He asked me when the 820 was coming, upon which I responded that I didn't know exactly (I once did, but UTA has since adjusted the schedule, and as I don't ride the 820 on anything resembling a regular basis, I don't remember the new schedule), so he whipped out his schedule collection and we figured out that it was coming in about twenty minutes. This was an enormous weight off my mind, as it meant that I no longer had to stare vigilantly straight into the sun to know when the 820 was approaching.
Once we had figured out that the 820 was, in fact, coming, he went into the store to buy some treats and said "I'm glad I talked to you." I thought, so am I. When he came out of the store, he had bought strawberry popsicles, and he shared one with me. It hit the spot. It was a really warm day.
"5th North and University, I mean
"7th North and University, I mean
"7th North and State!"
The bus driver paused, and I knew he was thinking what I was thinking: "This would probably be a bad time to mention that there is no 7th North and State." For those of you who are wondering, State Street in Provo doesn't start until 1230 North. Up until that point, it's called 500 West. I think we can safely assume, as you, dear reader, already have, that he was trying to go to 700 North 500 West. Therefore, the bus driver, as part of the friendly service that UTA operators provide, calmly advised him to get off at 500 North 500 West. As this is 5 blocks after I get off, I can only hope this man made it to his doctor.
Monday, August 9, 2010
1375 West. It's that little street over by Provo College that does the little twisty thing and goes straight up the face of the hill. It's the one that's narrow enough to have a warning strip down the middle so that people don't accidentally run into each other as they go around the bend. It's also the one the 831 squeezes through to get from 820 North over to 1460 North (gotta love the grid system, especially when we pick random numbers). It's also the one you were walking up, off the sidewalk and into the road, when the 831 went past at 6:55 p.m. You remember that bus that almost hit you? Please learn from that experience.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I remain sad about this email, but I can't say I didn't see it coming. BYU and UTA both have reasons for not wanting to give out discounted student passes anymore. Here they are, as far as I have been able to tell:
BYU has not wanted the bus to run through the middle of campus for some time now. The main reasons for this, as far as I can gather, are that 1) the bus brings less-than-celestial people to campus, and 2) BYU is a private university owned by a Church, and UTA is a public entity. The fact that UTA has bus stops on land owned by BYU could lead to problems similar to the extremely annoying case of the Main Street Plaza easement rights. BYU would prefer that the bus go around 900 East and University Parkway, instead of right down Campus Drive.
UTA has probably been on a tight budget since they opened for business back in the '60s. They certainly are now. Even with private institutions/state legislatures subsidizing the cost of student bus passes, UTA loses money on every single one. That's fine when the economy is booming, but it's not. UTA has had to make a lot of service reductions in the recent past; they've implemented a hiring freeze; contract negotiations with the union keep getting more complicated; the price of gas keeps going up again. Something has to give that hasn't given already.
So where do we go from here? My next post on the subject (which should be my next post, barring any funny stories that happen between now and then) will briefly outline my extensive musings on what will happen to the bus system in the BYU area. Also, at some point, and in contrast, I'll talk about the bus system in Granada, Spain.
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the following email, which I received two days ago:
Because of rising costs and reduced sales of Ed Passes at BYU, both BYU and UTA have determined that the 2010-2011 academic year will be the last year of the BYU Ed Pass program as it currently exists. We wanted you to have this information a full year in advance so that you can plan accordingly. (UTA does offer a reduced monthly pass to students at all universities/colleges within the state.)
The 2010-2011 UTA Ed Pass will be $100 for members of our university community. If you have a current (2009/2010) UTA Ed Pass and you want to use it for the 2010/2011 academic year, please keep it, as you will be able to soon renew your pass online. Members of the BYU community who do not have a pass will also be able to register for one shortly. More information on how to register will be forthcoming.
Also, we want you to be aware that BYU has entered into a student car rental arrangement with Connect by Hertz. The company will make rental cars available on campus starting the end of August to students at least 18 years old—at hourly and daily rates.
RENTAL CARS???!!! I MEAN, REALLY. RENTAL CARS???!!!111???!!!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
This morning I took the 822 to my parents' house, and then I drove my dad's car to the dentist's office. Regular readers of this blog may be surprised to discover that I not only passed driver's ed by two points in high school, I actually own a valid driver's license.
My trip to the dentist's office went, all things considered, very smoothly, except for the part where I missed it driving one way, so I turned around and missed it driving the other way. So I pulled into a service station and called my sister for directions. And the part where I tried to combine turning into the parking lot and pulling into the parking spot into one continuous motion -- EPIC PARKING FAIL!!! I wish I had had my camera to document the epicness of my parking fail. But that will have to wait until the next time I drive. Which won't be for at least six months. So don't hold your breath.
Anyway, I made it to the dentist's office safely, and I made it back to my parents' house safely. No other drivers were harmed in the making of this post.