Friday, July 29, 2011


As those of you who ride the bus/talk to me know, the first two digits of a UTA bus's serial number are the year it was placed in service. This makes it easy to tell how old the bus you're getting on is getting.

When I first started using UTA, in 2003, the oldest buses in Utah County were '90's. Over the intervening years, I've seen the '90's, '92's, '93's, '95's, '96's, and '97's also go away (though I see a few '97's lingering in Salt Lake). So now the oldest buses in regular circulation in Provo are the '99's.

It might be time for them to go.

Consider that:
MAYBE HE SHOULD JUST YELL happened on a '99
MAYBE I SHOULD JUST YELL happened on a '99
The bus that broke down in DUCKS IN A ROW was a '99
BEEP BEEP happened on a '99
Three of the four aforementioned posts happened within 48 hours of each other

Don't get me wrong, I've had many pleasant experiences on '99's. All I'm saying is, maybe their time is at hand.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I wait for the 850 every day in front of a used car lot. I am fully aware of the irony of this.

Since it is the 850 I am waiting for, I usually have ample time to contemplate my surroundings, including this sign:

Click to enlarge

Now, while this sign is one of the favorite parts of my surroundings, I can't help but wonder if its fundamental premise is flawed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It should, by now, be no secret to you, oh dedicated reader, that the new West Valley and Mid-Jordan TRAX lines will open on August 7, 2011. But did you know you can ride them before then?

Try to contain your excitement.

According to UTA's homepage, and their blog, on August 3rd, there will be several community celebrations at stations along the two new lines. The public can ride the new lines from about 9 am to 11 pm that day. Riders are asked to contribute a can of food as their fare (I assume this means only for the new lines; I doubt you can get on in Sandy and just give them a can of food, but I don't know for sure). Cans will go to the Utah Food Bank.

So, if you get the chance, next Wednesday, August 3rd, you can ride a cool new train to a place you couldn't ride it before. If you see me, be sure to say hi!

I'm so happy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011


Today's Pioneer Day, observed. Which means I can go as far as my feet will take me.

For those of you who are not familiar with Utahness, we get the 24th of July off as well as the 4th. Why? Because that's the day the Mormon pioneers, with Brigham Young as their leader, got to where they were going. We now call it "Salt Lake."

People who are not from Utah or have not lived here for many years have a hard time processing this holiday. This confuses me. You . . . don't want the day off?

(Actually, I have to be careful with this. My wife has to work today . . .)

UTA in Utah County also gets the day off today. There will be one 811 every two-and-a-half to three hours today, but I can't make plans around that--not plans that don't take all day, anyway.

So, I'm getting in touch with my pioneer roots today. I shall walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, and maybe I shall sing as I walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, aaaaaaaaaaand walk (those of you who know the song know what I mean), and I don't care if people with their windows down hear me, because I will be happy getting to where I'm going, and if they're not, that's their problem.

Friday, July 22, 2011


The next day after the other day mentioned in the three previous posts, I got on the 831 at BYU. I knew it was the 831 because it came at 11:56 a.m. No other bus comes at that time. I may have been the only one who knew for certain it was the 831, though, because the screens on the front and side of the bus that show the route number were kaput.

An older woman at the bus stop asked me if the approaching bus was the 830 Southbound. I told her it was the 831, which caused her some consternation. When the bus pulled in, the bus driver shouted "831! 831 Southbound!" I thought to myself, that's got to be annoying for him to have to shout that all the time because everyone except me doesn't have the schedule memorized.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


On the same other day as the bus broke down at the Transit Center, I got on the replacement bus to head back north to my place of residence. An interesting set of circumstances ensued as we approached my stop.

I don't catch the 850 very far from the Transit Center, so I'm often the first one off after we leave it. Therefore, I was the first person to pull the cord on the replacement bus all day. I feel special, but that's another story.

At the stop before mine, the bus driver precipitously swerved off the road to make the stop, as though she had just noticed that someone had pulled the cord. A little light comes on on the dash when someone pulls the cord, as well as an incisive little BEEP. Sometimes when the sun is shining (which it was) it looks like the little light is on even though it isn't. So it occasionally happens, as it did at this time, that the bus pulled off the road to let someone off, except that no one got off. Oh well. Moving on . . .

At the appropriate time, I gave the cord a smart tug to let the bus driver know that someone was actually getting off this time. The "Stop Requested" light (which the bus driver can't see) came on in the front of the bus, but there was no beep! So, unless the light on the dash obviously came on, there was no way for her to know to stop.

I decided to wait and see, as it can hurt the bus driver's feelings when you tell them that you pulled the cord. Some of them feel that you think they can't do their job when you tell them this. So we got to my stop, and the bus made no indication of stopping. So I did what I always do in this case. I shouted


Keep in mind that I TA for a Basic Vocal Skills class at BYU, and that if I want my voice to reverberate through a small concert space such as a city bus, I can. I think I startled the driver, as well as several passengers, who suddenly looked up in alarm. I conclude that the driver thought I had pulled the cord at the wrong time (leading her to pull off the road a stop early). She was annoyed with me, I think, because she shut the door on me as I was getting off. I forced it back open and got off. I decided she had all the way to Lehi and back several times to figure out that the problem was with the bus, not with me, so I didn't snap at her about it.

Just in case, I made sure that when I had to catch the bus again that day, it wasn't that particular one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


On the same other day as mentioned in this recent post, an 850 Southbound (not the one I was on) broke down at the Transit Center. So it was just sitting there. I was on my way to run an errand somewhere else, which I did. But it is a pretty strict law of bus travel that if your trip out involved the Transit Center, your trip back will involve it as well.

So here I was at the Transit Center again, and the same defunct 850 was sitting there. By now, however, there was a replacement bus pulled in next to it. This bus said "850 Northbound." I assumed, correctly (not that that's really saying all that much), that the replacement bus, rather than try to retrace the route an hour late, was just going to head north from the Transit Center at the time the broken-down bus would have gotten back there (does that make sense? If any of you were confused by that, I can clarify. I love comments).

While the two 850's were sitting there, the actual 850 Southbound pulled in and parked on the south side of the terminal. So now there were three 850's, two Southbound and one Northbound, sitting on the Southbound side. I didn't even have my phone with me, so I couldn't take a picture. But it would have made a lovely picture.

Now, there is only room for three buses on the Southbound side of the Transit Center. So, all the spots were being taken up by 850's for several minutes. During this several minutes, the 830 Southbound pulled in, innocent of any wrongdoing. I can only imagine what the 830 driver must have thought as he pulled in and saw there was no room for him:

850 . . . 850 . . . 850!!!
Is this some kind of cruel joke?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The other day, I was waiting for the 850. I waited for a good while. And another good while. Then the 850 came.

I got on the bus, as I often do, but this time something was different. On this particular day, the bus never actually stopped moving. It came close, but it never quite stopped. I can't fault the bus driver for this. Time was short. People have connections to make at the Transit Center. I am, by all appearances, young and fit and should be capable of negotiating a moving bus. In fact, not-quite-stopping is the normal technique for both picking up and dropping off passengers in many parts of the world.

However, someone forgot to warn me that this was going to happen. I was not expecting it. While I didn't fall over or anything (honestly, you would have had to have been looking right at me to know anything had happened at all), there was an awkward moment when I had one foot on the moving bus and one foot in the air, and as my body attempted to resolve the sudden disparity in our relative velocities, for a moment I feared for my continued verticality. Fortunately, I was able to grab a pole and right myself before I fell over completely, which, as buses are rather hard, angular things, would not be a very pleasant experience.

As it was, I regained my balance and my dignity, and the rest of the boarding experience was quite tranquil.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Those of you who avidly read this blog will know that recently, I found something I don't hate about Provo. I would not expect this to become a pattern.

Take, for example, this Daily Universe article:

The accusation of corruption against Mr. Turley saddens me. He has always been a voice for BYU students during the absurd debates on parking permits (he was the one, for instance, who suggested that discussion on the parking permits be tabled for a thousand years, to which Mrs. Richards replied, very patiently, "that seems a little excessive"). However, this accusation has been brewing for years, and there is a lot of evidence against him. If he is found guilty, I want him out of government.

So now we have Provo residents up in arms about Mr. Turley's behavior in office, and about guess what else? PARKING. And what happens next? Mr. Healey closed public comment right in the middle of the discussion. He said about it afterward:

The comments that were going to be made we had been hearing. That’s why I asked the question if we were going to hear anything different.

Let me get this straight, Mr. Healey. You keep hearing the same thing from citizens at the Municipal Council meeting. It seems like a number of citizens disagree (gasp!) with you. Could it be that this (gasp!) is the will of the people? Not that you were elected to represent them or anything.

Madam and Eve, by Stephen Francis & Rico.  Downloaded from

This kind of thing has happened before, where the Provo Municipal Council has treated the public comment periods as "Okay, can you stop whining, so we can do what we were going to do anyway?" I'm sorry to see it happening on the current council, even without the likes of Mr. Stewart and Mrs. Richards. Oh well, as they say in Perú:


Thursday, July 14, 2011


So, yesterday, I was reading this post on UTA's blog, and I came across the sentence:

The event is a part of the agency’s Mom Aboard campaign – a program for Utah bloggers.

I experienced some consternation upon reading this, because the sentence seems to imply that blogging is an activity restricted to Mormon mommies.


Now what am I going to do with myself?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The other day, as I was walking from an undisclosed bus stop to an undisclosed destination, I walked past an undisclosed BYU soccer field. There was a guy driving a little contraption that painted lines across it. Don't worry, he was being very judicious about where he put the lines.

I thought to myself, Self, we have never seen this before. Isn't this interesting.

I reflected on how, if I had been whizzing by in an automobile, I never would have seen the soccer-field-line-painting contraption. Maybe this is old news to some of you, but I didn't know how they did it . . . sometimes you see interesting things when you walk to where you're going.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Commutergirl requires me to disclaim that July's place of the month is not haute cuisine. That's okay, it's not a bad deal. And if you're going there on the bus, you're probably not planning to spend gobs of money anyway.

L'interieur du restaurant

Malawi's's slogan is Pizza with a Purpose. Every meal you purchase there goes toward providing meals to underprivileged African children. In addition to pizza, they make good-sized pasta dishes and salads. The prices are reasonable, so you can feel good about yourself and not spend too much = happy Americans.

Malawi's is in the Shops at Riverwoods, which is reached only by the 832. However, it's not far from the Transit Center, so you can transfer to the 832 from any number of other buses. Also, be prepared for the rich people who typically shop at Riverwoods to stare at you as they drive past the bus stop. If you hear a pop, it's their brain under the stress of the sudden realization that not only do buses actually exist, they also stop at Riverwoods.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Dear stupid Provo driver:

Um, how does this even happen?

Click to enlarge

Saturday, July 9, 2011


While I was at said water park trying not to look creepy, I decided to make a short trip to the restrooms. I thought to myself, I should go to the restroom, since I have the chance. Then I thought, Ooh, no, park restrooms. Dirty. Then I thought, Well, no, Provo's park restrooms are usually pretty clean.

Then I thought,
Wait, did I just find something I don't hate about Provo?

It's true. I don't love their park restrooms, but I don't hate them either. It may not sound like much to you, but it's a big step in the right direction.

Friday, July 8, 2011


The other day, I found myself in the middle of a somewhat lengthy bus transfer at a somewhat unofficial transfer point. Sometimes these sort of unofficial, on-the-fly transfers work well, and sometimes they are somewhat lengthy.

This particular transfer involved spending a few minutes at a park that was next to a water park. There was also nowhere to sit at this park that wasn't already taken by a family with laughing children. It's Provo . . .

So, I stood there for a while, observing the mechanics of the water park. Then it occurred to me that a twenty-something guy in sunglasses staring directly at a water park from outside is a definite recipe for creeperness.

I decided to break up the creeperness by looking in all different directions for short lengths of time. It seemed like it took a really long time before the bus came.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today is July 7th.

UTA is opening the West Valley and Mid-Jordan TRAX lines on August 7th.

You know what this means?

Of course you do, because you already read the title of this post.

One month and counting . . .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The 833 is a very circuitous bus. But it does, for a couple of stretches, go in a straight line for a while.

One day, as the 833 was going down 2230 North, the sun was blazing in on everyone that was sitting on the right-hand side of the bus. The interesting part of this story is that it took almost all the way down 2230 North for the people sitting in the sun to get annoyed enough with it to move over. Three people eventually did.

However, just after they all moved over, the bus went around a corner, and the sun was now shining on the LEFT side of the bus. Only two people moved back. I guess the third guy just gave up.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Saturday, July 2, 2011


The other day at the Transit Center, there was a fellow who seemed awfully sociable with everyone. I knew it would only be a matter of time before he got around to me.

Interestingly enough, he decided to converse with me from about thirty feet away. People, I swear I bathe and brush my teeth . . .

Him: Can I have some money to pay for the bus?
Me: I don't have any change.
Him: It's just two dollars.
Me: I don't have any change, I'm sorry.

Fortunately for him, someone gave him two dollars, and he was apparently successfully able to board the 811 a few minutes later. As he walked past me to get on the bus, I heard him say "Punk" under his breath. Sorry, dude, I didn't know I was going to need to give you money this morning, or I would have planned my finances better.

After he was gone, I reflected on the fact that his pants alone probably cost at least as much as my whole wardrobe (I know such things). Silly man. Buy cheaper pants and you can afford your bus fare every time!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Recently, a post called "Jiffy Wild Shirtless" has made it into the top ten most-read posts on this blog (look to your left). The fact that this post is in my top ten is at least as much a mystery as the fact that someone got to my blog in the first place by googling "jiffy wild shirtless."

If you look at the other post, you will notice that, for a while, googling "jiffy wild shirtless" did not bring up my blog at all. That was before all of you, dear readers, read my post about it. Try it now:

That's right. Googling "jiffy wild shirtless" brings up my blog FOUR times before actual Jiffy Wild stuff. I wonder how he feels about that. Oh, well. This post probably isn't going to help.