Monday, January 31, 2011

DISBELIEF

The other day on [guess which bus], we were going around the corner into BYU campus. The bus was pulled into the intersection, so as to be able to turn right as soon as an opening opened up.

This meant that the bus was straddling the crosswalk. There were three guys trying to cross the street on said crosswalk, and while they were never in any danger (as they were crossing with the flow of traffic), it was amusing to see the look on their faces when they realized that their progress was impeded by, well, a bus. Utter disbelief.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

YOU HAVE A LOT OF FREE TIME

The other morning I was conversing with one of my friends about how this semester will probably be easier than last semester, because of the shocking lack of differential equations.

She said "Yeah, I was reading your blog" [note: you all should be like her] "and I noticed that you went on this big old bus trip just for fun, and I was like, 'wow, you have a lot of free time!'"

It took me a second to process this, but I assured her that this trip transpired over Christmas break, and that I don't actually have THAT much free time during the semester.

Friday, January 28, 2011

BAD DAY, FUNNY SIGN

(12/23/2010)

Today was a BAD day for the 811. I just got off one that was 1 hour, 17 minutes behind schedule. It was at one end of the line when it should have been at the other.

Apparently the 811 has been having schedule trouble all day, because UTA has been adjusting for it by letting the drivers catch up, skipping stops because the bus after is already on its way anyway. The 811 is also apparently on detour today, maybe because of the Tabernacle, maybe elsewhere.

All this is just a setup for the funny sign I saw today at the Transit Center. See, when one of the bus drivers was pulling in to catch up, her header alternately flashed "OUT OF SERVICE" and "ROUTE ON DETOUR".

Come again?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS

(12/23/2010)

The week of Christmas, the bus is usually empty. And behind. This doesn't usually cause me undue stress. I'm not in a hurry anyway.

But today, as I sat on the 830, I began to reflect.

University Parkway was choked with cars, to the point that it took us 16 minutes to go 5 blocks. And there was only one dude on the bus. One.

Tell me something, you people who complain online about the "socialist bus that runs empty past your house every fifteen minutes":

DO YOU ACTUALLY PREFER IT THIS WAY?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

PEDESTRIANS UNITE FOR BETTER SNOW TRAILS

Have you ever noticed how, when it snows, the snow trails people make in the sidewalk are only wide enough for one person?

Of course you don't, because you drive everywhere. But I've been running across this a lot lately.

Passing someone going the opposite direction on such a snow trail is inconvenient; it either involves passing someone very close, which is awkward, or stepping into a snowbank to allow them to pass you on the trail.

So, Provo pedestrians, stupid and otherwise, let's unite and make two-way snow trails! It will take a little more effort, but then you won't have to awkwardly pass me every time we encounter each other on the sidewalk.

Friday, January 21, 2011

THE CROSSWALK BY THE MALL

(12/21/2010)

Also on this fateful day it snowed over a foot in Provo, I found myself at the intersection of 800 East and 1200 South in Orem. A surprising amount of pedestrian traffic uses this intersection and its associated crosswalks, because it's only a few yards from the Transit Center. Hint: people that frequent the Transit Center don't usually drive there.

Today, as I attempted to negotiate the crosswalks, I realized that there was an approximately four-foot-wide puddle at each of the corners, created by the dip engineered to make the crosswalk negotiable by those who cannot make the step up from road to sidewalk. In other words, the part of the crosswalk that makes it ADA compliant had now turned into a lake that only the most limber and able-bodied of busninjas can negotiate without soaking himself up to his knees.

Which leads me to a letter I just wrote:

Dear Orem crosswalk designer:

I know your design looks good on paper. But, seriously, man, not EVERYONE drives a car in Orem. Really. I mean it.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Thursday, January 20, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO PROPERTY OWNERS

(12/21/2010)

Dear stupid Provo property owners:

You know how you're supposed to prune your trees? You know how you don't?

I can deal with it during the summer. I can't exactly go jogging in my own neighborhood because of it (I tried, and I literally had to bend double about once a block. Hello, treadmill at the gym), but at least I can get where I'm going.

Not when a foot of snow falls.

Some of your trees were TOUCHING THE GROUND because they were bowed down with all the snow. I realize that you never walk further out of your house than your driveway, but some of us actually USE the sidewalk the city put there. As I am unwilling to army-crawl through the snow under these branches, I am forced to forge my own path through the all-encompassing foot of snow. I do it, because I'm that kind of person. But I still hope you get sprayed by a bus.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (28)

(12/21/2010)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

It's bad enough that it had to snow over a foot on the shortest day of the year. It's bad enough that I had to crouch down repeatedly on the three-block walk to the bus stop because all the trees were laden with snow. The sidewalk was also laden with snow. It's bad enough that I had to stomp out a path for myself from the sidewalk to the road so that I could board the bus without getting wet up to my knees from the snow.

Then you had to go and splash me.

I want you to know that no one else splashed me. I was standing far enough off the road that any normal person would not have splashed me. But then you came along, going way too fast, realized that you were going to splash me, and kept right on going anyway.

I hope you were happy as you drove off, sitting on a padded seat in a climate-controlled enclosure. I hope you get sprayed by a bus in the near future.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BYUBUSSTOP.ORG

If you're curious to know more about the BYU bus pass situation, please click


They have a lot of good information; I learned a lot, and I'm the busninja. You can also get involved, if you think that student bus passes are worth it.

I DO

Monday, January 17, 2011

SOMETIMES IT'S JUST NOT YOUR DAY

(12/21/2010)

You know when you have one of those days that's just not your day? That happened to the 830 driver last Saturday.

First of all, he was on detour to begin with because of the Provo Tabernacle Fire. While it was better to go around the block than next to the fire, any detour is an aggravation for an honest bus driver (the dishonest ones think, "Hooray! Pad my paycheck! Take as much time as possible on this detour and blame it on the detour!"

But honest bus drivers hate being behind schedule, and, unfortunately, the detour set us back a few minutes. Until we got to BYU. Then a man in a wheelchair got on. While I, and I presume the bus driver, have nothing against people in wheelchairs, it does, by the nature of the operation, take a wheelchair rider longer to board than an ambulatory rider. This was compounded by the fact that he was carrying a grocery bag, which ruptured and spilled its contents all over the bus. The contents were retrieved and a BYU Bookstore bag substituted for the broken grocery bag (love those Bookstore bags; they last for years, and I'm not just saying that because I worked for the Bookstore for my entire undergraduate career minus one semester), and boarding resumed. Then everyone else got on that was still waiting outside during this whole experience.

At this point, I thought, I'm going to miss the 850. There's no way I'll make my connection, unless the 850 is at least 8 minutes late. On a Saturday evening, not likely. But, I thought, I'll keep an eye out as we turn onto State Street, and if I can see the 850 coming in the distance, I'll get off. Otherwise I'll just have to go to the Transit Center and wait for the next one.

As we turned the corner, lo and behold, the 850 was coming in the distance!!! I rejoiced. I also pulled the cord right before the stop, which bus drivers never like.

As I got off the bus, I realized that there was a man sitting on the bench, who was vehemently waving the bus on and shouting at the bus driver, "NO! I WANT THE 850!" I felt that the 830 driver, who had probably figured this out when the man did not excitedly get up to board his bus as soon as he pulled up, had probably had enough by this point, so I shouted at the man, "IT'S JUST ME GETTING OFF! EVERYTHING'S FINE!" He calmed down immediately and said "Oh, I never remember to look at the back door." Sheesh.

A few moments later, we both calmly boarded the 850. The rest of my journey was quite peaceful. I can only hope that so was the rest of the 830's journey that day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

UP WITH THE PRIORESS

(12/13/2010)

At the Transit Center for the second time today, I was taking in the general scene around me, which wasn't terribly interesting, since it was 10:15 p.m., and the normal buzz of activity that theoretically exists at the Transit Center had long since subsided.

I heard a kissing noise, and looked over, because I was pretty sure, as I had been taking in the general scene, that there were only men in the particular area where I heard the kissing noise.

Turns out my original assessment had been correct. One of the men made eye contact with me. I looked away, but it was too late. Many more kissing noises followed.

Well, that was awkward. There was nothing left to do but sit there and whistle something. The only thing in my head was Mes filles from Dialogues des Carmelites. So I whistled it.

Mes filles stuck with me all the way from the Transit Center to 200 North on the 830. And all the way from the bus stop to my apartment. Up with the Prioress.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

AND THEN SHE HEAVED A SIGH

(12/13/2010)

I was sitting on the 850 today, waiting and waiting, as the bus driver had arrived seven minutes early (!) to the Transit Center. While I was waiting and waiting, a woman poked her head in and said "Excuse me, does anyone on this bus smoke?"

At first I wondered if she were preemptively ascertaining the air quality. Then I realized she just needed a cigarette.

After no one said anything affirmative, she heaved an exasperated sigh and walked away. I wonder if she knew she was in Orem. Not a whole lot of people smoke around here . . .

Friday, January 14, 2011

NEW HEADERS

The other day, as I saw the 831 peeking around the corner before it picked me up, I realized that it was flashing something different on the front. When it got closer, I realized it said "900 East", then "Grandview", then "Northbound". The last one should have been "Southbound", but you get the idea.

I was intrigued. It used to just say "West Provo". Did all the buses change their headers?

I later found out that only one other bus had; the 832 now says "Freedom Blvd", then "7 Peaks Blvd", instead of just "East Provo".

This is okay with me. The names "East Provo" and "West Provo" were confusing and nondescriptive. It didn't help that the 831 begins on 900 EAST and the 832 on 500 WEST. That's right. The "East Provo" bus begins FOURTEEN BLOCKS WEST of the "West Provo" shuttle. Whatever.

I doubt the new headers will have a significant impact on ridership, but perhaps they can help some confused soul get on the right bus.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

GYM PATRONAGE

It's pretty cold in Provo these days. However, since I don't really want to take the time to change clothes and change back at the gym, I generally brave the elements in my gym shorts; I'm not outside for more than a few minutes, and I'm in my twenties, so I feel okay about this.

The other day, I was vindicated to see another individual also board the bus in gym shorts. I was confused, however, that he did not get off where I did. I was going to the gym. I don't know what his deal was.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (27)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I have seen some interesting abuses of turning lanes lately. But you're thankfully the only person I've ever seen use the turning lane outright as a passing lane.

That kind of behavior gets you killed. And life after death is not very happy for people that pass in the turning lane.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, January 10, 2011

WAITING IS ITS OWN REWARD

The other day, as you may have already guessed, I was waiting for the 831.  There was someone else waiting at the stop; I assumed she was also waiting for the 831, since there was a long time before the 811 came by.

I apparently assumed wrong, because she got up and walked away when the 831 turned the corner.  This being the opposite reaction to the one I was expecting, I mused about it for a moment.  She couldn't possibly be waiting for the 811, or the 831.  Maybe waiting is its own reward.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (12)


Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

You cannot be unaware of the fact that Provo is icy and snowy sometimes in the winter.  Obviously this is not all the time, but I'm sure you can tell the difference.  This leads me to my question:

HEELY'S ON THE SIDEWALK?

People WALKING on the ice and snow sometimes slip and fall.  Do you think that this experience will be more fun if you are ROLLING down the sidewalk?

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Saturday, January 8, 2011

202TH POST

No, this post is not about riding the 202.

There isn't one.

But, just so you know, if I wanted to, I could do a post about the 203, 205, 207, 209, 213, 217, 218, 220, 223, 227, 228, 232, 236, 240, and 248.  And those are only the ones that start with "2."

Just so you know.

201TH POST: THE 201

So, the other day when I was riding the 200, I thought, hey, I should ride the 201 also.  So I did.

I promise this is actually the 201

The 201 is like the 200's little brother.  It goes down the part of State St. between the 200 and the 811.  It doesn't run as often, or as late, as the 200.  This was corroborated by the fact that only 11 people boarded the 201 when I rode it, compared to 45 on the 200.  Those kind of numbers are important to me.  Maybe only to me.  But it made me feel better about the 201 not being as big a deal as the 200.

When I got off the 201, I was at the Sandy TRAX Station, so I caught the 811 there and went home.  Yay!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

200TH POST SPECIAL: RIDING THE 200

Several months ago, when this blog was nearing its 100th post, I asked commutergirl, "What should I do to commemorate my 100th-post-ness?"

She suggested, "Ride the 100." Those of you with similarly freakish knowledge of the bus system will know that there is no 100. But there is a 200. So here we are. Happy 200th post!

Riding the 200, if you're in Utah County, means riding the 811 first. Since I had my camera, I decided to take a picture of my bus stop in Provo, so you can see how fun it is in winter:


There is a dry spot right around the bench under the shelter (right behind where I'm standing), but you still have to cross several feet of snow, which, for someone who is not 6'3" and limber, could be a strenuous task.

The whole 811 and seven TRAX stations later, I arrived at the southern terminus of the 200.




As you can see from the picture, there are actually two 200 bus stops at the station.  This is because the 200 comes often enough that before the bus in front leaves, the bus behind arrives, and also needs somewhere to go.  In fact, the 200 is the most-running bus in all of UTA.  It is the only bus that runs every fifteen minutes on weekdays AND saturdays (other buses that run fifteen-minute service on weekdays, like the 830, run every half-hour on Saturdays), and it runs every half-hour on Sundays instead of every hour, or not at all.

I decided to see if the hype was justified, so I rode the 200 from one end to the other and counted the number of people that got on.  Including me, 45.  Keep in mind that it was about 10:00 in the morning, and the 831, which takes a similar amount of time to get where it's going, would probably have boarded about ten people.  And it comes half as often as the 200.



The 200 runs from the 5300 South TRAX station to Salt Lake Central Station.  It takes a fascinating route consisting mostly of, well, State Street.

rideuta.com
The ride itself was not too eventful; there were some interesting conversations, and I saw some businesses I had never seen before.  When I got off at SLCS, I was glad there was a bathroom there.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

In honor of tomorrow being, well, my birthday, I decided to put up some more pictures for you!




Image credits:
metroinfo.org
cakecentral.com
latimesblogs.latimes.com