Thursday, June 30, 2011

EVERYBODY DROP!

The other day on the 850, out of the sizable number of people on the bus, I noticed two women sitting across from each other in the front of the bus, talking to each other.

Then one of them dropped something. She bent down and picked it up.

Then the other woman bent down and picked something up also. I thought it was weird that they would both drop something at the same time. I mean, I've heard about trying to see the other person's point of view in a conversation, but never that much . . . I can only assume it was in accordance with some prearranged signal that I didn't know about.

("And when the bus passes 900 South, everybody DROP SOMETHING! Okay . . .")

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (39)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I can't fault you for texting at a red light. Wait, no, actually, I can. It's stupid. You shouldn't be texting at all while operating a motor vehicle.

But if you must text at a red light, at least have the decency to look up and realize the car in front of you is long gone. And the bus behind you is on a schedule.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BEEP BEEP

The other day I was on the 833. I was already not in an incredible mood -- the 850 I had come in on had been late, so I missed the 830 I had originally intended to catch; I wasn't terribly keen on getting to my destination anyway.

The 850 almost missed the 833; as it was, I ran across the Transit Center to catch it. Not that the Transit Center is that big, mind you, but I still had to run.

Unfortunately, once I was on the 833, my troubles were not over. See, there was this beeping. It was constant. And high-pitched. And it didn't stop.

We made it as far as the temple. Then the bus driver turned the bus off in the hopes that the incessant beeping was due to perhaps the brakes overheating or something like. Fortunately, he was right. When he turned the bus back on, there was no more beeping.

It was a good thing. I might have gone completely insane before reaching BYU. Nothing good could have come of that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO BIRD (1)

"Dear stupid Provo driver" and "Dear stupid Provo pedestrian" have been part of this blog for a long time. Adding a "Dear stupid Provo cyclist" section has been brought up before. But now, for the first time, I give you:

Dear stupid Provo bird:

Cars are not your friends. Cars can hurt you. This doesn't mean you can poop on them, though. Please fly away when we're driving through the parking lot right next to you.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Saturday, June 25, 2011

REMIND ME HOW THIS IS GOING TO HELP

While commutergirl and I were in Park City, we went to a nice restaurant. It was fun. Commutergirl had fun. She's a foodie.

While we were in the restaurant, it started snowing. Yes, during Memorial Day weekend. It's Utah. It's Park City!

Someone mentioned that it was snowing, and all the restaurant patrons expressed their distaste after their manner.

One lady said, "If it's snowing, I'm gonna kick someone's ass."

Come again?

Friday, June 24, 2011

SAUCED

While we were in Park City, on one of our multifarious bus excursions, there was a man on the bus who was having an extended conversation with the driver. I didn't listen to most of it, but it lasted until the man exited the bus.

After he got off, the driver said "Well, I think he was a little sauced; we just had the same conversation about five times . . ."

For some reason, that was really funny. We laughed a lot.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

THANK YOU

Thank you, commutergirl, for booking us a hotel with a bus stop right in front of it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PARK CITY TRANSIT, PART TWO

No, but seriously, I love the bus system in Park City. It's free, it comes every twenty minutes, and it's very user friendly.

Bus stop with artwork on top

Each of the routes have numbers (1-9), but they also have colors (Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Lime, Pink, Brown, and Navy, respectively). It might be easier for you to remember that the green line goes past your hotel than that #2 does. There's one map that has all the routes on it, in addition to all the stops. (!) This makes it pretty easy to plan your trip, and the bus drivers are very willing to help if you have questions. A lot of tourists come to Park City and ask silly questions, so they're either used to it or they've had it drummed into them very hard to answer silly questions.

Route 1 (RED) bus at Transit Center

The Old Town Transit Center serves every route but 9, and is right next to Main St. with its associated shops and restaurants. There's also a trolley that goes up and down Main St. all day. It couldn't be easier. In addition, there is service from downtown to Kimball Junction, if you're interested in going outlet shopping, etc.

The Transit Center

Bus loading area at the Transit Center

Inside the Transit Center

During the summer, some of the routes are combined or don't run at all. This is okay, because they still cover pretty much everywhere you'd want to go. We didn't run into any problems. Full service runs from about September through April.

I spit on your sign


Next time you go to Park City, park your car at the hotel and LEAVE IT. Save yourself the gas money and the aggravation of parking in the very tightly packed downtown. Take the bus. It could change your life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PARK CITY TRANSIT

THE BUS IS FREE!

THE BUS IS FREE!

THE BUS IS FREE!

Does anything else really matter?

Monday, June 20, 2011

DPTS

Last Christmas break, commutergirl and I went to Illinois to visit her family. While we were there, much to her family's consternation, we rode the Decatur Public Transit System. I dunno, it was kind of fun.

A rather uninspiring bus stop
Decatur's bus system is completely radial, which means that every single route feeds into the same transit center. In addition, all the buses get there at almost exactly the same time, which makes for transfers galore. Obviously such an arrangement is impossible with a system the size of UTA's, but it works for the much smaller DPTS system.

Your bus fare is only $1, which includes a transfer. However, you can get a lot more mileage out of your $2.25 with UTA than you can with your $1 in Decatur. Apart from the Transit Center, I only saw two other transfer points on the map, and it says right on the back of the transfer that you can only use it at transfer points. In addition, you can only use it for a one-way trip, you must use it to get on the next available bus, blah blah blah. This was a little limiting for someone who is used to a UTA transfer giving them carte blanche for two hours.

The buses were Gilligs, the same brand UTA mostly uses, but rather older. They seemed to be in good shape. Commutergirl complained that one of them smelled like cigarettes, but I didn't think it was too bad. Maybe I'm just used to it. DPTS uses 35-foot buses, about ten feet shorter than UTA's. The buses we rode were reasonably full.

Route 11 bus at Transit Center
We were talking later with commutergirl's mom, and she mentioned that she had considered taking the bus to work before. Due to the completely radial nature of the bus system, she would have to take a bus down to the Transit Center, then take another one all the way back out to her work. This would take a life-age of the earth to accomplish rather than just a few minutes in a car. But she could read, or crochet, on the bus.

While that trip may be infeasible, I'm sure that the DPTS route planners have covered the most likely trips bus riders will make. Most of the opinions I saw online were positive, and my own experience was certainly pleasant enough. It wasn't necessarily a transcendent experience, but it was fun to visit another bus company.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (38)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I know, we had it coming. Why we should ever want to go to Wal-Mart on a holiday is beyond me. This, however, does not excuse you from looking as you back out of your parking place.

You didn't see our ample car right behind you. You didn't see me stick my hand out the window as a cautionary gesture. You didn't see me flail my hand in desperation as you continued to back out of your parking spot, unaware that there was anyone else in the world, let alone anyone behind you.

Next time, when you back up, look around you. It could add years to your life. And to our car's life. For the love.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SPAIN TRIP #2: TRANSPORTES ROBER

Dedicated readers of this blog know that I recently returned from my honeymoon in Park City. Of course, we rode the bus there. But I realized that I have visited two other transit agencies since I started this blog, neither of which I have written about. I'm anal. So we go in order.

Spain Trip #1 detailed our epic, multimodal excursion from Provo all the way to Granada, Spain. But the best transport of the trip was actually in Granada.



From the first time I rode the local bus in Granada, my heart was warmed by the sight of so many people availing themselves of the public transit service. I know it's more culturally acceptable there than it is here, but it still did me good.

The bus drivers were competent, punctual, and surprisingly tourist-friendly. They courteously answered the questions I asked (maybe they were just surprised that I spoke Spanish). Unlike buses around here, the Transportes Rober buses carried change on board. A ticket window separated the driver from the passengers, which made it safer for the drivers to carry change. This was nice, since I didn't have anything smaller than 5 Euros when I arrived. The whole window and counter arrangement swings open and closed for the bus driver to get on and off.


You can buy single passages or put money on a card (I kept my card as a souvenir. Surprised?) and recharge it indefinitely. Shockingly, I was not the first member of our party to buy a bus card. You also get a 2-for-1 at Burger King every time you recharge. Cool.

And you better believe I've still got it

Unlike UTA, the Transportes Rober buses had radios, and played music. For someone who isn't accustomed to it, it's rather a shock to get on the bus and hear Lady Gaga from all directions!

www.judyhalone.com


The one thing that was confusing for me was that the route map didn't have the street names on it. Instead, each bus stop had a unique name (this has since been changed). Sometimes this was the name of the street, but sometimes it was named after the building it's in front of, etc., and I had a hard time knowing exactly where to get off. Fortunately, nothing is too far away in Granada.

One of the times I was looking up the schedules online, I found some comments that people had written, complaining up and down about how awful their bus company was. I thought, you people really should come to Utah and give it a try. You'll come back to Granada and kiss the ground.

Monday, June 13, 2011

300TH POST SPECIAL: 300 THINGS THAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU RIDE THE BUS

Yes, the time has come for another special. And while lists of things are boring, lists of three hundred things are cool. So, here you go:

300 Things that Might Happen to You if You Ride the Bus
1. You'll save money.
2. You won't actually save money because you only used your pass twice.
3. You'll start remembering when the bus comes to your stop without having to look.
4. You'll start remembering when the bus comes to all the stops without having to look.
5. You'll start remembering when every bus is anywhere. No, really. You don't have to be a busninja for this to happen.
6. You'll learn that even though the schedule says the bus will be at a place at a time, you really have to leave your house at a different time to catch the bus when it actually comes.
7. You'll become very antsy when the bus doesn't show up when you think it will.
8. You'll start picking out your shoes in the morning based on how many bus trips you will take and how far you'll have to walk.
9. You'll learn your regular bus driver's name.
10. You'll learn all the bus drivers' names.
11. You'll learn which bus drivers are nice.
12. You'll learn which bus drivers are cranky.
13. You'll start making route choices based on whether the bus driver will be cranky or not.
14. You'll start looking for houses/apartments near well-established transit corridors.
15. You'll accept invitations to social events with the caveat: "I either can only stay until 8:44 p.m. or you have to give me a ride home."
16. You'll learn how to tell just by looking what year a bus was put into service.
17. You'll learn to tell which route is coming without looking at the number, by what make of bus is coming up the hill.
18. You'll start answering people's questions when they ask you which bus goes where.
19. Some people will admire you for taking public transportation everywhere.
20. Some people will judge you. They won't say anything, but you'll be able to feel it as they walk past you.
21. You will attempt grocery shopping on the bus.
22. You will be proud of yourself the first time you successfully get a gallon of refrigerated milk home.
23. You will change which grocery store you shop at when the routes are realigned.
24. You will plan out your shopping trip with great precision so as to be back at the bus stop exactly 39 minutes after you entered the store.
25. You will plan your morning routine with great precision, so as to be at the bus stop exactly 57 minutes after you awaken.
26. You will plan out your conversation patterns with great precision (albeit not very well in advance) so as to be able to terminate said conversations amiably five minutes before the bus comes.
27. You will get tan, but only on one side.
28. You will invest in a really good pair of sunglasses.
29. And earmuffs.
30. And gloves.
31. And scarves, if you're the type.
32. You will be seen by people you know as you wait at the bus stop.
33. Some of them will stop and give you rides.
34. You will eventually only accept rides out of politeness.
35. Then you will turn rides down altogether.
36. You will learn what angle to stand at so the bus driver can still see you after dark.
37. You will reach the point where, if you have to run to catch the bus, you will calmly let it pass by. Because you still have your dignity.
38. You will start carrying a backpack everywhere you go.
39. Or have really stuffed pockets.
40. You will probably often be carrying stuff in your hands.
41. You will start making clothing decisions based on whether these clothes can be undone or adjusted with one hand, since you will be carrying stuff.
42. You will carry stuff into places people usually don't. I don't know what people think when I take textbooks into a restaurant. But I try to behave myself otherwise.
43. You will forget that it doesn't take 20 minutes to go from Provo to Orem.
44. You will be shocked that, while riding with someone else, you can get from BYU to UVU in ten minutes, if there's no traffic.
45. You will feel superior as, when there is traffic, you beat people who drive to UVU by taking the 831.
46. You will memorize what every sign says at the Transit Center.
47. It will startle you when the ads change on the sides of the buses.
48. You will learn the brand names of the buses(!).
49. And you will learn their characteristics.
50. You will genuinely sympathize when someone says something like "I'm glad that the low-floor Gillig buses are easier for wheelchair riders to use, but I can't stand how much they rattle."
51. You will begin thinking of ways the routes/schedules can be improved.
52. From time to time, you will correctly anticipate changes UTA will make.
53. This will freak you out but make you feel smart.
54. You will find errors in the system map.
55. You will find lots of errors in the ski system map.
56. You will get out a red pen and correct the system map.
57. When giving people directions, you will inform them that the system map is wrong and they should listen to you instead.
58. You will expect them to just believe you.
59. Every now and then, a complete stranger will ask you directions and then not believe you. This will annoy you rather severely.
60. You will get asked for change.
61. You will be accused of being a bad Republican.
62. You will be accused of not being white.
63. You will learn exactly where to stand at the Transit Center so the wind doesn't get you on cold days.
64. You will sometimes take a jacket even when it's sunny, because you've had to wait in the snow without a jacket before.
65. You will think it's weird when your roommates drive to the grocery store two blocks away.
66. Or you will ask them for a ride some night when you're really tired but really need groceries.
67. You will take sleeping pills on the bus before you get home for the night because you know exactly how long it will take you to get home, and how long the sleeping pill will take to take effect.
68. You will get good grades because you read all your textbooks on the bus.
69. You will get to know your iPod really, really well.
70. You will take up a hobby like, oh, I don't know, crocheting. You will become quite prolific at this hobby.
71. You will give a bus driver directions.
72. Or correct them (politely) when they give someone else wrong directions.
73. When people ask you to be at a place at a time, you will flatly refuse. And you won't tell them why.
74. People will start random conversations about nothing that go on forever with you.
75. You will learn passive methods of avoiding conversations with people.
76. You will learn passive-aggressive methods of avoiding conversations with people.
77. You will learn aggressive methods of avoiding conversations with people.
78. You will learn to beat compulsive talkers at their own game.
79. You will actually make some genuine friends on the bus.
80. You may end up dating someone who rides the same bus as you.
81. You may end up marrying someone who rides the same bus as you (Note: this didn't happen to me. But it does happen.)
82. Or your girlfriend may decide to get a bus pass after she starts dating you, independent of your making any arguments for or against her bus travel (Note: this happened to me twice).
83. You might go on busdates. And take so long to get back that you go get something to eat after you get home, too.
84. You will get really good at crossword puzzles.
85. Or Sudoku.
86. Or coloring within the lines. Or anything else.
87. Your wife will tell people that you enjoyed the public transportation on your honeymoon at least as much as your actual honeymoon.
88. You will plan extravagantly long bus trips to go to friends' wedding receptions in the next county over.
89. You may be accompanied on these bus trips.
90. It may once take you nine hours to go to a two-hour reception.
91. You may, at times, pick out where you want to eat by what restaurant you randomly see on TRAX.
92. Your wife may sometimes insist on giving you a ride over your earnest objections so that you can leave an hour later.
93. You will still earnestly object to your wife giving you rides.
94. You will take bus trips that are only a couple of blocks long during the summer because the bus is air-conditioned.
95. When you read news stories about public events, you find yourself resenting the fact that they give driving directions but not bus directions.
96. You learn that "transit" is a shorter way of saying "public transportation."
97. You learn to still say "public transportation," unless you're in engineering class, because people give you funny looks when you say "transit."
98. You will go to lots of public meetings about bus route changes, etc.
99. You will talk the UTA people's ears off with your ideas.
100. At one of these meetings, someone may ask you if you are an engineer, even though you are still at this time a music major.
101. You will go to enough of these meetings that you will remember which kind of cookies you like.
102. You will change your major from Music Composition to Civil Engineering.
103. This will lead to some interesting interviews with your potential graduate committee.
104. Things will become smoother when you and one of your professors realize you both ride the same bus.
105. Especially because it's the 831.
106. You will take a transportation class.
107. You will finally feel at home.
108. You will fulfill the bus riding requirements of said class several times over.
109. You will not suggest any of your ideas for the term project, however, because you will quickly realize that your ideas are more technical than your other team members could ever want.
110. You will still enjoy the term project more than you should.
111. And more than anyone else did.
112. You will carry a crossword puzzle book around in your backpack.
113. You will write music on the bus or train.
114. People will stare at you for doing this and ask you questions. This will lead to positive conversations.
115. You will also do your Multivariablecalculus homework on the bus.
116. This will also lead to stares, but the ensuing conversations will not be nearly so positive.
117. You will get hit on.
118. You will learn how to get a bus driver to see you, even when you're wearing black and it's dark out.
119. You will develop a technique for pulling the cord.
120. And for boarding and alighting.
121. You will develop an algorithm for where you sit.
122. And you will apply it every single time you get on the bus.
123. You will learn to recognize the make of the bus by how it smells when it consumes fuel.
124. You will sometimes be the only person on the bus.
125. You will have surprisingly insightful conversations with the bus drivers, quite a few of whom have college degrees.
126. People will point out to you that, in social situations, all the stories you tell involve the bus.
127. You will wonder what's wrong with this.
128. You will become known as the "bus guy."
129. After many successful incidents at parties of telling bus stories to appreciative audiences, you will start a blog.
130. But you will go with the title "bus ninja" instead of "bus guy."
131. You will be surprised at how many people actually read your blog.
132. People you don't even know will come up to you and tell you your blog is funny.
133. You will learn how to check the stats on your blog.
134. You will check the stats more often than you post.
135. You will learn that long-winded posts attract few readers.
136. You will write long-winded posts anyway. Because you want to.
137. You will start planning exactly when and how often to post to attract maximum readership.
138. You will learn that you can't dress too fabulously at the Transit Center, or men will hit on you.
139. When a bus pulls into a different bay than usual at the Transit Center, you will suddenly look up and wonder what happened.
140. You will start planning out exactly where to cross the street so as to use the traffic lights to your maximum advantage.
141. You will want to catch the bus earlier than it runs.
142. You will want to catch the bus later than it runs.
143. When you can't sleep at night, you will wait until 3:30 in the morning, get up, read your scriptures, then catch the first bus to the gym at 4:30 in the morning, work out, catch the bus to BYU, then collapse on a bench for a couple of hours before work in the hopes of getting SOME sleep.
144. Once when you do this, you will run into your roommate, who will ask you what you're doing. When you ask him the same thing, he will say he is on his way to Wal-Mart to buy a window filter. You will call it a draw.
145. You will sing opera under your breath on the bus.
146. But only loud enough so that people will look around, not so that they can tell it's you.
147. You will, from time to time, ride the 862, just to have some time alone.
148. You will count how many people get on and off the bus.
149. You will estimate, based on previous times you have ridden that particular route, how many people have already gotten on and off the bus, so as to have relatively accurate numbers for the entire trip.
150. You will defend the honor of your transit system when others malign it.
151. You will take up the eating of CLIF (r) bars for breakfast, because this can be done on the way to the bus stop.
152. Because you have so many blog post ideas, you will start putting them in a Word (r) document so you can copy and paste on into your blog every morning or so.
153. You will daydream. A lot.
154. You may, in fact, go slightly crazy.
155. You'll only talk to yourself sometimes.
156. You will feel a cold rage toward people who smoke at bus stops.
157. When you're waiting at a bus stop and people stare at you as they drive past, you'll stare right back.
158. You will sometimes take a chair with you. This is fun when there isn't a bench at the bus stop, but inconvenient when the bus is full.
159. You will become very philosophical.
160. You will look at all the cars around you and wonder, "Why are we here?" Not as in "what is the purpose of life?" but as in "why aren't we even on the freeway yet?"
161. When in the car with other people, you will inform them how on time the buses you pass are. This will never get old.
162. You will slowly discover the history of UTA, piece by piece.
163. You will look up other cities' transit companies to see how they compare.
164. You will dream of traveling to Europe. For the transit.
165. You will go to Spain, and your favorite part of the trip may well be the bus system.
166. You will, actually, not dream about the bus very often.
167. But when you do, you will wake up thinking something like, "Gosh, that was a stupid dream. They could never rename the 833 the 433 because it never leaves Utah County!"
168. You will never tell anyone that you thought that.
169. Out loud.
170. You will eventually realize that everyone is as interested in SOMETHING as you are in mass transit, and you will call them on it when they make fun of you.
171. You will memorize the schedule, then it will change, then you will have to tease out the old and new schedules bumping around in your head.
172. You will occasionally check the schedule just to make sure, but not while anyone's looking.
173. You will run into other people that ride the bus a lot. You will become instant friends.
174. And have conversations that make the people around you uncomfortable.
175. This may cause you a small amount of fiendish glee.
176. People will email or text you to tell you that they're in another city riding the public transportation system.
177. You will compliment them.
178. You will be touched that they thought of you.
179. But not really surprised.
180. You will go into a fit of apoplexy when BYU announces the cancellation of the EdPass.
181. You will probably be cranky for days.
182. Then you will write angry letters.
183. Even though you know the futility of arguing in favor of mass transit around here, ever.
184. You will tell people that it's okay that you know as much about the bus as you do, because your knowledge helps humanity.
185. You will develop a substantial distaste for parking.
186. You will feel superior when you go to downtown Salt Lake and you don't have to park.
187. You will feel especially superior when you get home from General Conference before other people.
188. Even though it means you got up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the 10:00 session.
189. When UTA puts new buses into service, you will plan your schedule around taking a trip on at least one of them as soon as possible.
190. People you haven't seen in years will ask you, "You're still studying music, right?"
191. You will never get tired of recounting your life story. Because of the looks on people's faces.
192. You will eat licorice indiscriminately as you blog.
193. You will switch to baby carrots.
194. Both choices will alarm your wife.
195. You will sometimes take textbooks from classes you took years ago on the bus with you, because they might hold your attention for a while.
196. Unfortunately, you'll get bored with them about 1/14 of the way through your trip.
197. You will see people using iPads on the bus, and you will envy them.
198. But not enough to buy one. I prefer to eat.
199. Other people will blog about their encounters with you.
200. Sometimes this is a preemptive measure to make sure you don't blog about them first.
201. People will check your blog that are from other countries.
202. And using operating systems you've never heard of.
203. And sometimes leave comments. This is cool.
204. You will learn about the "butt thing," which is, since you asked, putting your pass in your back pocket and bumping your butt on the detector as you get off.
205. You will sometimes see professors do the butt thing.
206. And miss.
207. You will check rideuta.com more often than you check your email.
208. You will also put it on your navigation bar on your Firefox (r).
209. You will sometimes have conversations (read: listen to lectures) with people who are completely politically, morally, and religiously, or all three, opposed to you. And you'll just sit there and listen, because you don't want to get in an argument on the bus.
210. Sometimes you will listen to lectures from people who are actually batty. And you'll just listen to them, too, because you have no idea what else to do.
211. Sometimes, people will be genuinely interested in what you have to say. And then you'll have NO idea what to do.
212. You'll start memorizing in what order the storefronts on State Street come.
213. Forward and backward.
214. You will, occasionally, see some pretty serious PDA. And you and the other people around you will unconsciously bond because of your mutual disgust.
215. You will either arrive at parties really early or really late.
216. You will arrive at your mission reunion an hour-and-a-half late.
217. But you will still beat people who drove.
218. And you will mock them mercilessly.
219. You will, from time to time, get out your phone to check the time to make sure the bus is on time.
220. But you will always pretend to be texting, so the bus driver doesn't know that you're conscious of the hour.
221. You will hate seven-a.m. finals even more than the average person.
222. People will post transit-related articles on your Facebook wall.
223. People will ask you when FrontRunner will be done.
224. You will answer evasively. Because you don't know, either.
225. Sometimes a bus change will happen without your advance knowledge of it. This will completely discombobulate you.
226. You might see someone get arrested.
227. When waiting at a TRAX station, you will see someone standing in front of the yellow line. You will resist the urge to sock him.
228. You may pass up to three TRAX trains on a busy night, because, hey, your connection's not coming for a while anyway.
229. You may spend the night at the Sandy TRAX station (I've never done this, but people have, and lived).
230. You may end up calling your friends' relatives for rides when you get stranded in a different county.
231. You will be more prone to notice grammatical errors on billboards.
232. You will slip and fall on the ice at least once a winter.
233. You will try to resist the urge to correct the Spanish signs on the bus with a sharpie (r).
234. You will sometimes walk out the door on your way to school without a writing implement, paper, or textbooks. Too bad.
235. You will sometimes make the onerous trip back home, only to forget to bring said forgotten items with you again. Fail.
236. You will negotiate with a bus driver about what color and size your cell phone is because you don't remember what brand it is.
237. You will thereafter always check for your phone when you ride the bus in gym shorts.
238. You will ride the bus wearing gym shorts long after it is climactically feasible, because you don't want to waste valuable time at the gym changing.
239. You will plan your gym routine down to the minute to take advantage of all 44 minutes you get there.
240. You will leave your gym shorts at the bank.
241. Doodling, for you, may consist of drawing potential bus routes on Google (r) maps that you printed out.
242. You will check UTA's construction updates weekly.
243. Every now and then, you will end up on a street corner you have never seen before, waiting for a bus about which you have no idea when it will come, thinking, "What on earth am I doing?"
244. You will sometimes spend an entire Saturday without getting on the bus even once. You will need to reexamine your life at such times.
245. You will get really good at balancing your homework in your lap with one hand while you write on it with the other.
246. You will get really good at not letting your homework impinge on your neighbor's personal space.
247. You will never miss your stop because you're engrossed in your math homework. Math is just not that interesting.
248. As you are making a list of 300 things, you will notice which numbers correspond to bus routes. 248 is the last one this list will contain.
249. When you meet people, you will try to explain to them what your blog is about. You won't really do it justice.
250. Neither will explaining your transit-oriented lifestyle.
251. People will sometimes think you are funny when you are dead serious.
252. You'll go with it because you like the attention.
253. You'll point out buses and trains on TV shows and movies.
254. Your wife will elbow you in the gut when you do this.
255. Sometimes, when you miss the bus, you will have to call a friend or one of your parents to make yourself feel better.
256. To pass the time, you will learn both parts of Clapping Music and practice them by hitting your thighs with the palms of your respective hands.
257. You will do this softly, so no one stares at you.
258. Every once in a great while, you will do your Sight Singing homework on the bus. You will do this VERY softly.
259. You will hear cell phone conversations, the like of which you never supposed was possible.
260. Where else in Provo could you meet a girl that sleeps with a different man every night?
261. You will carry a Book of Mormon with you to keep such girls at bay. It totally kills their interest.
262. The fact that you ride the bus everywhere doesn't really make you all that attractive, anyway.
263. You will learn to avoid, if possible, waiting at bus stops with anyone who is very drunk at all.
264. You may, when stranded, enter a grocery store and buy an overpriced drink, which you consume slowly to pass the time.
265. Sometimes people share stuff they bought with you.
266. Or other things, which you should accept, but not put in your mouth.
267. You learn to politely refuse people who offer you questionable-looking eats.
268. You will be more in touch with the weather than most people you know.
269. You will acquire a sizable bus schedule collection, which is just another reason for people to hate on you.
270. You will strive to keep your schedule collection in numerical order, but it's hard.
271. You will occasionally travel without your schedule collection, which is a pretty good way of making sure you miss the bus.
272. Once in a blue moon, the bus will, in fact, break down. You'll get over it.
273. Or the bus will get in a wreck. This hasn't happened to me, but I don't imagine it's pleasant.
274. Or the bus will go by early. Must . . . control . . . fist . . . of death . . .
275. You will not burn with a cold rage at people who buy a pizza and take it home on the bus. But you will still heartily resent them.
276. You will carry an open pot full of jello on the bus, which will make the bus driver uneasy.
277. Despite your assurances that what you are carrying is, in fact, liquid, he will still be uneasy.
278. You will catch the bus at a different time than you normally do, just to see if as many people ride it as the one you usually take.
279. At the beginning of the semester, you will be very good about catching the bus nice and early, so you can be sure to get to class on time.
280. This will deteriorate as the semester wanes.
281. If you make it to class at all.
282. Just kidding, professors on my Master's committee.
283. You will try to schedule voice lessons for fifteen minutes after the hour, so you can catch the bus that gets to BYU at 4 after.
284. You may walk into a bookstore and read a whole newsmagazine before the next bus comes.
285. On cold days, you may sing opera out loud at the bus stop, because people have their car windows rolled up.
286. But you will shut up quickly when you realize someone is walking up behind you.
287. You will use terms such as "headway" and "interline," and people will say that you just made them up.
288. You will occasionally slink out of class early to catch a bus that comes at 50 after.
289. You will also pray that the classes you TA get out early enough for you to not wait 28 minutes for a bus that comes every half-hour.
290. You will occasionally cross the street when you shouldn't because the bus is about to come.
291. But you will very scrupulously check for rogue automobiles before doing so.
292. You will feel bad for bus drivers when you realize that you've come and gone from school and they're still on the same run.
293. You will praise others on their bus-riding technique.
294. Sometimes you will ride the bus with your friends.
295. You will have a hard time not bombarding them with uninteresting information during the ride.
296. But they will be happy if you let them pull the cord.
297. You will feel a small sense of loss if someone beats you to the cord pull.
298. You will write a list of three hundred things for your three hundredth blog post.
299. It will take you three days, and you will question the intelligence of such a course of action several times.
300. But then you will finish. And then you will go to bed.

So long!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

YEAH, I DID

Last night, after the opera got over, I embarked on what I thought was a pretty straightforward mission: change clothes.

I fetched the clothes and headed to the bathroom nearest my locker, only to be informed that I could not go in because it was being cleaned. That's fine, I thought, I'll just pop up the stairs to the B-wing.

The B-wing was locked. Grr.

So I went up one more flight of stairs to the A-wing bathroom on the fourth floor. Three custodians were standing in front if it with their cleaning cart. I realized it was time to take matters into my own hands. Without giving them the chance to speak, I declared, "I'm not getting anything dirty; I'm just going to change clothes!" I didn't wait for a response, though one of them did say as I retreated into the back, "We'll stand guard for you!"

I successfully changed clothes.

Then I had to put my concert clothes back in my locker. I walked to the E-wing elevator, since my locker is in the E-wing two floors down. I pushed the down button. The elevator was at 1. It moved up to 2. And stayed there. In exasperation, I walked to the stairs at the end of the E-wing hallway and took them to the second floor. As I walked past the elevator again on the way to my locker, it said 4.

Having successfully stashed my clothes for the night, I proceeded to walk down the F-wing hallway, in the hopes of exiting out the third floor door (it's the closest one to the bus stop). When I got to the top of the stairs, there was caution tape blocking the way. Anyone who was nearby at that moment would have heard me loudly soliloquize about the stupidity of putting caution tape at the TOP of the stairs instead of the bottom.

By now, I was worried about missing the bus. I walked briskly down the F-wing hallway to the main staircase and out the front door. As I was screaming down the sidewalk to the bus stop (which is also blocked because they're reconstructing one of the entryways to the Wilkinson Center), the other pianist called my name and asked if I wanted a ride. Sure, why not. While she and her husband both mentioned that it would deprive me of a blogging opportunity, it might be good for me. They were willing to go all the way to Orem, so I said it was okay.

As I was getting out of the car, they both assured me it was not necessary to blog about the experience. I assured them I would not.

I lied.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (37)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

Entering the right turning lane is not a race. It's just entering the right turning lane.

Seriously. Just because you see us changing lanes in front of you, you have no need to feel impelled to edge us out by quickly entering the turn lane before we do. You could maybe wait for us to change lanes, then calmly change lanes behind us. Once you were on the freeway, you could speed past us as blithely as you liked. We wouldn't care. But now, we're annoyed at you. Believe me, it's better to have people like you.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, June 6, 2011

JIFFY WILD SHIRTLESS

"What does this mean?" you might ask.

As anyone who blogs knows, at least half the fun of blogging is checking your stats. One thing I frequently check is the list of things people have searched for and found my blog. The other day, while performing said routine check, I found this:

Intrigued, I googled "jiffy wild shirtless" to see if my blog really came up. Sure enough, it did. I can only wonder why the person googling this clicked on the link to my blog. Turns out Jiffy Wild is actually a person, who apparently doesn't wear shirts sometimes. How 'bout that.

Anyway, shortly after I googled the aforementioned search phrase, my wife got on the computer and, seeing said phrase still in the search bar, turned around and said, "Honey, what the heck?"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

223: THE ROUTE THAT JUST WON'T DIE

When I first met the 223, I rode it on a Saturday morning from the University of Utah down into Sugar House. At that time, the 223 ran every 30-60 minutes on weekdays and every 60 minutes on Saturdays, which is fairly typical for less-important routes in Salt Lake County. I was the only person when I rode it, and I saw it go by about five more times while I was at my friend's house, empty each time. As far as I can tell, I was the only person to ride the 223 that morning, and I'm not even a regular rider!

After a while, UTA started cutting back the 223. First they cut the weekday schedule way back (so that there were no buses between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Weird.) Then they got rid of Saturday service altogether. It seems like every time UTA proposes service cuts, the 223 has something to do with it.

Then, a few months ago, when UTA published their initial proposals for route adjustments to go along with the opening of the two new TRAX lines this August (yay!), the 223 didn't appear at all. It was proposed that the 223 be completely eliminated, except for the southern end, which would be covered by the 228 (making the 228 exactly the same as the old 14 ever was; not that you care). I didn't really plan on lamenting its passing, seeing as how I didn't figure it was doing much good.

But somewhere along the line, between the initial and final proposals, the 223 came back from the dead. The final proposal shows that the shadowy corpse of the 223 will run every 120 minutes on weekdays. That's one bus every two hours! That means that one lonely vehicle will slowly, morbidly retrace its solitary way up and down the route all day. Each stop will get serviced six, maybe seven times all day long.

Seriously, someone needs to shoot that thing. Put it out of its misery.

Friday, June 3, 2011

PROVO IS ALSO CHILL THIS TIME OF YEAR

After the student masses are gone, and before the EFY children arrive, BYU is very calm. It's quite relaxing, really. And while the invasion of the EFY children makes the northern end of BYU rather insufferable at times, the rest of Provo, including the bus, is mostly immune from the phenomenon and stays calm all summer.

The bus is always a little emptier this time of year, meaning more open seats, less stopping, and happier bus drivers. Everybody seems a little more relaxed, and hey, if someone is running to catch the bus, why not wait a second? We're a little ahead of schedule anyway.

I even saw Anal-Retentive crack a smile the other day. A real, genuine broad smile. Weird. But it just proves my point.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

PROVO IS PRETTY THIS TIME OF YEAR

Today as I sat on the bus, I couldn't help but think about how green everything I see is. Provo looks so much nicer when it's green. I know it will only last for two more weeks, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

HOW TO MANAGE A SMALL CHILD

The other day on the 830, I sat across from a woman with her maybe three-year-old son. Like most maybe-three-year-olds, he had an almost uncontrollable case of the wiggles. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.

As we made our way slowly but steadily toward BYU, I noticed how, even though the woman was reading or talking on the phone most of the time, she managed, without even looking, to always keep one hand on the little boy. No matter which way he wiggled, she was ready for him. Though he was free to do quite a lot of squirming, he didn't make it off the seat even once the whole seventeen-minute ride.

I thought, now THAT is how to manage a small child on the bus. Too many parents of wiggly children either do nothing, which is poor, or sit there yapping at them the whole time, which is worse. If you're going to bring wiggles onto the bus, make sure you manage them. That way your child will grow up a healthy member of society.