Friday, December 21, 2012

IE & SO

Naturally, when I graduated, I wanted to start flooding the air around your head with witty blog posts about things that have happened to me on the bus.  But, given that I am in the middle of central Illinois right now, and far away from a bus stop, and it's cold outside, and my brain has gone right past sleep debt and into sleep bankruptcy, and I can't remember any funny stories off the top of my head, I've decided instead to write up a little bit on the philosophy behind this blog.  Hence the new tabs at the top of the screen.  Feel free to read, ask questions, argue cantankerously, etc.  If it bores you, don't worry too much about it.

Witty blog posts should resume early next year sometime.  Until then, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THINGS I WILL AND WON'T MISS ABOUT BYU

For better or worse, BYU has been a major part of my life for 8 of the last 9-and-a-half years.  I have had many good experiences, and some experiences that made my soul want to escape from my body.  In order to deal with the shock of leaving BYU so suddenly after all this time, I have compiled a few of the things I will, and won't, miss about BYU.  That way I can refer to it when I feel the void in my life that school has occupied for so long.  Hopefully you also enjoy it.

WILL.  The Fine Arts Building.  The pianos everywhere.  The huge Christmas trees in the lobby.  The nerds everywhere.  Giving people directions and watching their eyes bulge when they realize they have to go up stairs, then back down stairs just to stay on the same floor.  Giving people extremely specific directions to walk around the balcony and stay on the same floor, then watching them immediately take the stairs.  Maybe I'm a jerk; such things amuse me.  The sound of heavenly choir music wafting throughout the building in the afternoons.  The sound of a saxophone quartet playing "I Feel Pretty" as you walk down the hall.  BYU's Fine Arts Building is its own fascinating, blog-worthy microcosm of the world at large.  I spent way too much time in the Fine Arts Building not to miss it at least a little bit.

WON'T.  The Math Building.  Some people have fond memories of the Math Building, I'm sure; I see it as a squat, dim, dank, poorly ventilated monument to the deliberate oppression and confusion of students.  I don't plan on philosophizing about mathematics for the remainder of my career, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't plan on doing it in a place without windows.

WILL.  The beautiful people.  It is a widely acknowledged fact that BYU has the most beautiful people.  If you disagree, you probably haven't been there and seen it.  BYU and its younger siblings are the only universities I know of where students are incentivized to take care of their appearance.  And it shows: you have a campus full of well put-together, clean-cut, fashionably dressed, fit people that astonishes visitors (one guest speaker, after her remarks were concluded, stopped and said: "I just have to say, you are all so BEAUTIFUL!  I've never seen so many beautiful people before!").  It sure doesn't hurt that those are the people you have to see every day.

WON'T.  Shaving.  Now, I'm not planning on getting all beardy all of a sudden (except right now, on vacation; commutergirl gave me permission).  But my facial hair grows fast, and I could never get away with not shaving.  At least now the Testing Center is not as strict as it used to be; I used to have to shave in the morning, go to class, come back home, shave again, then go take my test with a bleeding face because by 7:00 p.m. the Testing Center wouldn't believe that I had already shaved.  I'm sorry I got blood on the scantrons.  I won't miss shaving every day.

WILL.  The question on the end-of-course evaluations about how much time spent in class was productive to your learning.  For whatever reason, answering this question always gave me such a feeling of power.  Haha!  Only 20% of my time in this class was productive!  0% of my time was productive!  Take that!

WILL.  The question on the end-of-course evaluation about professors appropriately incorporating spiritual insights into their teaching.  I won't miss this question, per se, but rather the effects of it.  Some professors are genuinely good at bringing spiritual insights into their teaching; some bring it up once all semester or find extremely random and awkward ways to bring it up; some find extremely random ways to bring it up and incorporate it as part of their teaching style.  It was at best uplifting, at worst amusing, and always made my day a little brighter.

WON'T.  The discounted transit pass.  Did I say I won't miss the discounted transit pass?  Haha!  I meant to say I won't miss the LACK of a discounted transit pass.  I count the decision to discontinue the BYU Ed pass as the single stupidest thing BYU has done during my lengthy studenthood.  You have a campus in the middle of a residential neighborhood, miles from the freeway, with no road wider than two lanes on a side, and you think the answer is FREE PARKING?  Imbeciles.  Many of my friends have posited, and I agree with them, that these poor decisions are probably the responsibility of just one or two administrators who need to either retire or perish.  I'm okay with either one, but I wish they'd be about it quickly, so the rest of us can get on with our lives.

WILL.  The traffic lab.  The only people on campus who understand me . . .

Monday, December 17, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #1

#1 To see the future now

FrontRunner is the future.  Trains are the future.  Transit is the future!  Why do I say this?

In an opinion piece written to the Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month, two consultants who worked on the FrontRunner South project said this:

". . .the real beneficiaries of FrontRunner South will be those who follow us. In 30 years, the Wasatch Front population is projected to increase by more than 1.3 million people.

"A rail transit line is permanent infrastructure that can accommodate dramatic ridership growth at modest cost. Unlike highways that must regularly be widened and rebuilt to boost capacity, rail transit can meet higher demand by adding more cars and increasing train frequency. Our children and grandchildren will enjoy the fruits of today's hard work and investment."

 What does this mean?  It means that a train line can double or triple its capacity without significant infrastructure investment, unlike a freeway, which must be remade periodically to meet growing traffic demands.  It means that twice or three times the amount of people can be transported to and through downtown Salt Lake City, or downtown anywhere else, without materially increasing the number of parking spaces.  It means businesses like, oh, Adobe, can establish major centers (the current building is supposed to be the first of seven) near train stations without clogging the roads of nearby freeways and neighborhoods and filling the air with noise and smog.

Utah has weathered the recession very well.  We've made some dramatic gains in the past few years where others are simply trying to cut their losses.  There's no reason we can't continue to grow and develop for years to come.  As we grow and develop for years to come, there will come a point where we simply run out of room for more cars.  The people who would rather die than not take their cars to work will die, rather than not take their cars to work, but everyone else will have to find other ways to get to work, or school, or dinner, or whatever.  And that's when transit will really get cooking.  It's cooking now, but you haven't seen the half of it yet.  As transit becomes a more viable option for more people, it will move out of the fringe of our society and into the mainstream.  It will better and better serve the communities it connects.  And I'm excited to be there when it happens.

And you can see the beginning of it all today, if you ride FrontRunner.

See you there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #2

#2: To remember the past

Trains are not new.  Not by a long shot.  There was a time when trains shaped America, connected it, and transported all its people.  Trains brought the trappings of civilization to my ancestors in the west.  They transported some of my ancestors to the west!

In my family history is the story of a young man returning to Utah from his mission in Europe.  When he got home, he complained to his mother about how boring the train ride across the Great Plains was.  "Mile after mile, for three straight days, everything the same!'

"I know, dear," his mother said.  "I walked the whole way . . ."

More recently, there was a time when streetcars adorned every street in downtown Salt Lake City.  There was a time when the best basketball players at Spanish Fork High School were from Salem, because the people from Salem had to catch the train to school early in the morning, and so had time to practice before school.  There was a time when everyone took trains!

Also of historical interest, some route numbers shown on this map (1, 2, 3, 18, 19, 20, 23) persisted until the 2007 redesign.  I suddenly noticed that one day and was newly fascinated by the map for longer than I care to admit here.
One of my colleagues, contemplating this map, said, "doesn't that seem a bit excessive?"  Do you really need a streetcar down South Temple, and 1st, and 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th, and 5th South?  Well, it depends on your development pattern.  There was a time when plenty of people took streetcars down all these streets, because there were places to go.

You can read elsewhere about America's awkward transition from streetcars to buses (and get wildly different takes on the matter).  Whatever your opinion, I think we can all agree that cars have reigned supreme around here for many decades now, even if that reign is becoming harder and harder to maintain.  For a long time, when we talked about trains, we talked about them in the past, wistfully imagining what it would be like to get anywhere you wanted all the time on transit.

Now, we can remember the trains of the past when we ride the train.  And I'm very grateful for that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

FRONTRUNNER WAS LATE!

In related news, you're not dead!  Please move on!



P.S. I WILL finish the top ten list soon, but it's finals week.  Sorry.  Don't hate.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #3

#3:  To pass cars

If you haven't seen this video yet, you really, really should.



I like everything about this video, but I especially like the part where the bus is passing cars in traffic.  That doesn't happen on the bus here most places, because the bus doesn't have its own lane.  But FrontRunner has its own track.  And I guarantee that when traffic is bad on the freeway, or the weather is bad, or some other reason that makes driving an absolute nuisance happens, people will look up from their driver's seats and feel a strong compunction as the train flies past them.  Which it will.

(since you asked)


Even if you don't have to go anywhere, you may still enjoy watching the daily commute during rush hour.  When you're not in it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #4

#4 For the Scenery

I grant you that the view on either side of Central (North or South) is liable to tickle your eyeballs.  But there are some lovely places FrontRunner North passes through, and I'm sure the Narrows and other areas on FrontRunner South will be quite nice in the spring.  My favorite part of the view, though, even in the places where it's not a feast for the eyes, is that it will not be of the tail lights in front of me, nor of repetitive green signs telling me where to go and not to go.

I know which view I prefer


I would suggest, if you're interested in the view, that you sit up top, or at least on the ends of the car.  My experience with FrontRunner North has borne out that the view is better the higher you are.

So, sit back, let the countryside fly by, and enjoy the view.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #5

#5 To Take a Nap

The napability of FrontRunner is scientifically proven.  If it's not, then I obviously missed my calling for my master's research.  Oh, well.

There are times of day when FrontRunner is pretty busy (one of those times will doubtless be the free-ride day on Dec. 8; you probably won't be able to take a nap that day . . .).  But there have been times during the middle of the day when I got on and it was so quiet and calm, and the train was going along so smooth . . .


. . . and the next thing I knew, it was Ogden!

Monday, November 26, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #6

#6: To park your bike.

harkavagrant.com

As our velocipedestrienne friend above could tell you, riding a bike can be a very dangerous thing.  It would be far better to just put your bike on the train and take the train.  And faster.  You might still need to ride your bike somewhere after you get off the train, because FrontRunner doesn't quite go everywhere, but you wouldn't mind, because FrontRunner has a car with nice places to park your bike.  You don't have to hold it the whole time, hoping against hope that the train won't have to brake suddenly, which would send you toppling over your bike.  Instead it will just send you toppling out of your seat, which is still not as bad as toppling over your bike.


Even if you don't have a bad attitude about life and knock people over with your velocipede, you might still be riding a bike while you desperately need to check your email for something and go to the bathroom really bad.  You'd sure be glad to see that FrontRunner train pulling up.

IT COULD HAPPEN

Friday, November 23, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #7

#7: To Get One Last Ride In before the End of the World

As we all know, the world ends several times a year, depending on who you ask.






Now, I get my philosophy on the end of the world from Matthew 24:36, in which Jesus says "but that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

All the same, if you've any designs to ride FrontRunner at all, you might want to do it before December 21st.

Monday, November 19, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #8

#8: To Go to the Bathroom.

What's this, you say?  Go to the bathroom on FrontRunner?  I mean, of course, go to the bathroom on FrontRunner IN the bathroom that is on FrontRunner.  I hope that was clear.

And yes, there is actually a bathroom in the southernmost car on each FrontRunner train.  I tried it out once.  It's not the Hilton, but it's not bad.  I found it much more accommodating than an airplane bathroom, for example.

No, I said it's NOT the Hilton
As with checking your email, it is somewhat likely that, in most situations in your life, there will be other bathrooms available besides the FrontRunner one, but, in those few cases when the closest bathroom is on FrontRunner, and you really, really need that bathroom, you'll be awfully glad it's there (eight commas!).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #9

#9 To Check Your Email

Yes, it's true, you can check your email, or Facebook, or anything else you want to check online, on FrontRunner.  WiFi comes included in your ticket price!  If you're one of the few yokels that doesn't have a data plan on your phone yet, there are times and places when FrontRunner is the closest publicly accessible internet.

Even if you do actually have to go somewhere, you can get online on FrontRunner and make your trip more productive/enjoyable/funny/whatever.  commutergirl likes to bring her Kindle Fire (R) along with her on trips to Ogden.  Now she can play puzzle games or watch YouTube videos instead of worrying about the fact that the "Check Transmission" light has come on AGAIN . . .

So, next time you ride FrontRunner, whether you're going somewhere or not, check your email, or whatever.  Tell them I sent you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

TOP TEN REASONS TO RIDE FRONTRUNNER EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T TECHNICALLY HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE, #10

#10  Because Trains are Wicked Cool

So, I originally planned on doing this for the actual ten days before FrontRunner opens, but at the rate I've been posting lately, I've decided I'd better get started now (3 more weeks of class, 3 more weeks of class, 3 more weeks of class . . .)  Also, this is post #599, and I won't be able to put my brilliant idea for the 600th post extravaganza into effect until next year, so I'll do this instead.

Whenever I get around to it, the fact remains that, while most people who use FrontRunner, or will use it, use it to travel from one place to another, there are other reasons that someone might want to ride it, even if they don't have to go anywhere (this sentence contains, as of the end of this parenthetical statement, eight commas).  Which brings me to today's topic:

#10  Because Trains are Wicked Cool
It's worth saying twice, because, honestly, they are.  Throughout my ninja experience, I've observed examples of people who think trains are awesome, even if they find the idea of riding a bus absolutely unconscionable, and say so while on the train (sorry; only three commas).   I've talked to people on both sides of the Point of the Mountain who are excited about traveling to the other side.  Pretty much every time I bring up the fact that trains will soon go to the Airport, BYU students get excited.

What's more, trains are wicked cool for economic development.  Salt Lake has a pretty good bus system, if I do say so myself, but I've never heard of anyone building a hospital, or apartments, or the only major regional shopping center to open in the United States in 2012 (all those terms are defined somewhere), or a billion dollars worth of development in Sugar House so that it could be close to a bus line.  Trains are pretty permanent, compared to buses.  And they move a lot more people.  Trains are good for the economy.

Trains are mostly immune to traffic.  Trains are mostly immune to weather.  Even when FrontRunner takes slightly longer than driving I-15 (when conditions are good on I-15), you have all that time to use on other things instead of driving.  And when the weather's bad, and it's rush hour, FrontRunner might be three or five or even fifteen minutes behind, but not forty-five minutes or an hour and a half (I have been an hour and a half late to engagements in Salt Lake before due to the weather; on one of these occasions, we gave up and took TRAX from 4500 South, which was only about three minutes behind).  And it's so much more relaxing to watch the scenery go by out a window than to spend the whole time making sure you're not too close to the tail lights in front of you.  Just sayin'.

So, yeah, even if you don't technically have to go anywhere, you should still definitely take FrontRunner for a spin.  Trains are wicked cool.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

BE THERE

So, two of my Facebook friends already tagged me in posts about this, so I thought I better get with it:


That's right, you can ride FrontRunner for free Dec. 8!  It does not matter to me that it's a reading day before finals in my last semester of grad school and that I will be going crazy having eight million things to do.  I have to have my priorities, you know.

Anyway, I'm giddy excited.

This is a line of people waiting to get on as the FrontRunner train pulls in.
See you there.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I BORE MY TESTIMONY ABOUT FRONTRUNNER YESTERDAY

Okay, okay, it wasn't actually about FrontRunner.  But it included FrontRunner.  It was a fine testimony, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

THE SHORT VERSION

So, if you've been looking carefully lately, you might have noticed that the number font on some of the bus stop signs around Provo is changing.  Look closely.  It's a subtle change.

I fully recognize that no one else, including probably the person who is changing the signs, notices this.

If you didn't notice the numbers, you might notice that suddenly some of the signs have a lot more text on them than they did before, and they say "FrontRunner."

I fully recognize that no one else actually reads the text on the signs, either.

This is, of course, because all the bus routes are changing in Utah County next month; while FrontRunner is not open yet (oh, you'll all hear more about that, you can be sure . . .), if I were the person who had to change all the signs, I'd want to get a head start on it, too.

It appears that, rather than naming the routes, the signs will now be more descriptive of where the bus is going.  The 831, for example, used to say:

PROVO WEST SIDE SHUTTLE

Now it says:

Orem FrontRunner 
Grandview, 7 Peaks/
Provo FrontRunner 
Connector

which is nice and all, but if it's all right with everyone, I think I'll just stick with "The 831" for now.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

DO YOU KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T?

This morning, on the way to school, I was pondering the deep things in life, like:

All these people that are mad about the expresses in Utah County not going to Salt Lake anymore--how do they know it will take longer on FrontRunner?  Do they have the schedules yet?  'Cuz I don't.

I have it on good authority that FrontRunner South will be about an hour each way from end to end.  Express buses are somewhat more, about 1:20 to 1:30 from Provo to Salt Lake.  I know part of the consternation here is because people will have to transfer to TRAX to get to their downtown workplaces, but you guys know that takes less than ten minutes, right?  No,  you don't, 'cuz you don't take TRAX.  I think it will still come out faster.  I'll get back to you on it.

Another thing:  I don't take the 801 to Provo often, but every time I have, it's been late.  We hit traffic at about 1300 South and marinate in it all the way to University Parkway in Orem.  I've been late enough to miss my connection the last two times--since my connection was the 833, which only comes once an hour, this ended up being quite inconvenient.  And making me quite cross.  FrontRunner does experience delays, but not often on the order of fifteen minutes or more.  Even if the trip is slightly longer on the schedule, I think FrontRunner will make up for it in increased reliability (meaning, in this case, both better on-time performance and better consistency).  Being able to make your connections is a valuable, valuable thing; even if you're only making a connection to your car, it's still comforting to arrive in town when the schedule says you will.

I know that direct express bus service to downtown Salt Lake is convenient for people that work right there, but it's not convenient for everybody.  Here's an example: one day I was trying to get to Provo from Central Station.  The Provo expresses don't stop at Central, so I got on the 200 and caught it to 300 West 100 South.  I waited for the 801 for a while, then we went all the way through downtown before we got on the freeway.  A full half-hour after I had left Central, I looked down from the viaduct on 400 South at the station platform and thought, man, if only FrontRunner just kept going.  After we got on the freeway, as previously mentioned, we hit traffic all the way down to Provo, AND I missed my connection.  It took me over three hours to get where I was going.  Blah.

FrontRunner also runs all day and goes both directions, neither of which the expresses do.  As bad as the commute is on transit, the reverse commute is much, much worse.  And going back and forth between Provo and Salt Lake in the middle of the day on the 811 is possible, but it kind of becomes the focal point of your day (5 more Mondays 'til I graduate, 5 more Mondays 'til I graduate, 5 more Mondays 'til I graduate . . .)

So, all y'all that are mad about FrontRunner taking longer--since you know how it's going to be, could you share it with me?  I'd like to look at the FrontRunner schedule so I can get excited about it.  Thanks.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PARKENRIDERS

They are an interesting lot.

Twice this week there was water of some sort falling from the sky when I went to catch the bus at 6:01 a.m.  There is no shelter on either side of the street anywhere I catch the bus near my house.  I stood out in the rain/snow like a good busninja until the bus came, which usually isn't long, because I have


EXPERT TIMING

Contrast that with the people who got on at the American Fork FrontRunner Station Park'n'Ride the same day, an hour later.  I should note that there is a decent-sized shelter there, but hardly anybody was waiting at it.  Instead, as the 817 pulled through the bus lane, a number of people were observed to jump out of their cars and dash over to the bus.  Heaven forbid they should wait in the rain.

I thought, you silly parkenriders.  I guess ninja status comes at a price.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ANNUAL LETTER TO BYU FRESHMEN FROM WARM PLACES

Dear BYU freshmen from warm places:

Yes, it snowed today.  Allow me to gently suggest that not everyone is as excited/distraught/generally overreactive as you toward the fact that it snowed today.

No, you can't do anything about it.  If you whine and complain about it all winter, it still won't go away until it durn well pleases.  I know this comes as a shock.

Actually, you can do a few things about it:

-   Wear warm clothing.  I mean, more than a hoodie.  Wear gloves.  Don't wear shorts.
-   Wear waterproof shoes.
-   Wear shoes with actual traction on them.
-   When you're driving, brake sooner than you are used to doing.
-   If you're driving down 9th East in Provo and you see three cars that have lost control and run up onto the sidewalk, be more careful.
-   When you're driving behind someone from Utah (or somewhere else that gets cold), and they take a while to brake, don't tailgate them.  And don't honk at them.  And don't try to swerve around them.  Doing any of these things will make you Dear Stupid Provo Driver.
-   Try not to sign up for evening classes fall semester.  Evening classes fall semester just get darker and colder.  Evening classes winter semester, on the other hand, get warmer and brighter.
-   If you've been out in the cold for a while, some hot chocolate really hits the spot.  Consume in moderation.

Yes, the snow and such will be around until about next April.  No, there's not really anything you can do about that either, except maybe go home for Christmas.  Just realize that Christmas is at the beginning, not the end, of winter.

You may want to avoid complaining about winter too much in the presence of people from places like Minnesota, or Alaska.  Because they will make fun of you, and you won't know why.

*Ahem* if you don't like walking in the snow, remember, BYU has excellent bus service that nobody takes.  Buses are warm . . . you don't have to walk in the cold . . . just saying.

Oh, and keep your chin up.  Plenty of other people from warmer places have managed to survive, thrive, and even come back for more Utah winters.  You can do it!

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

219 (UPDATE)

So today I was going past the same hotel in American Fork, and the sign now said:

TIME: 1:99 AM

Keep trying, friends; keep trying.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SORRY LADIES

Yesterday morning, I got on the 200 to go to work, as I so often do.  Everything seemed normal as the bus pulled up and opened the door.  Until I got on and . . .

I'm pretty sure I accidentally got on the Frauenpowerbus.


Images of the Frauenpowerbahn in Schwerin, Germany.  I could not find bigger pictures.

See, usually when you get on the 200 inbound before about 7:00 a.m., you get a lot of construction workers, groundskeepers, custodians, and the like; for whatever reason, the crowd tends to be mostly male.  Except yesterday, when I got on the bus, I was the only man.  And I remained the only man on the bus for over twenty blocks.  Not that other people didn't get on after me, mind you; they were just all women.

And I was like,



SORRY LADIES


didn't mean to mess up your bus.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

WATCH THAT TOP STEP

This morning I was getting on a TRAX train at 6:12 a.m.  It was a Blue Line train.  I tripped on the top step. It was 6:12 a.m.

After steadying myself, I looked up and an older man was smiling indulgently at me.

He seemed genuinely surprised that I didn't smile back.  I guess I just wasn't feeling it.  It was 6:12 a.m.

Monday, October 15, 2012

219

The other day, as we were heading into the American Fork FrontRunner Station, I saw a sign on the hotel next to the old Park-'n'-Ride.  It was flashing

TIME 2:19

which was odd, since it was 7:00 AM.  Unless I was somehow almost five hours off . . .

Then it changed to

TEMP. 219°

and I thought, wow, a jacket was obviously overkill.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

THE BIG DAY: FEARLESS PREDICTIONS

I usually save my fearless predictions for the end of the year, but since The Big Day is happening before the end of the year, and I finished my homework at 8:00 tonight, I'm going to take the liberty of doing it now.  Since UTA released information on their final service plan for December today, I think I can do so with reasonably good authority.

As I've mentioned previously, every route in Utah County is going to change in December, and several new ones are going to pop out of the snow.  Like daisies.  That's where I'll focus my fearless predictions for now.


In the following predictions, I am going to use some very technical jargon for how full I think the bus is going to be.  Definitions follow:

  • Empty:  Nobody on the bus at all.  Or maybe one or two people, but never more than five.  Likely candidate for swift cancellation.
  • Quiet:  More than five to about half the seats full.  Meaning you don't have to share.  Not enough people on the bus for any kind of social interaction to be warranted.
  • Pleasant:  Half-full to full.  Not crowded, but you don't feel like a social outcast on an empty bus, either.  You can still find a seat, and probably have a choice of several.
  • Full:  All the seats are full; maybe a few people are standing, but not so many that it's awkward to walk around them.  But you won't get a seat if you get on too late.  The bus begins to be slowed down by the number of stops it has to make, and the number of people getting on and off.
  • Slammed:  More than 125% full (Level of Service E or F, for you nerds out there); uncomfortable to ride, well behind schedule due to sheer passenger volume.  Almost impossible to get off because you have to wade through a sea of bodies standing in front of the back door.  Likely candidate for additional service.
Like I said, very technical.  So here goes:

805.  Seeing as how this is going to be a combination of the current 805 and 808, both of which are reasonably full, this bus is going to be busy.  It's going to run more times than either bus did before, but that sometimes attracts more riders, because there are more convenient options for when to catch the bus.  There's definitely a lot of people in the south end of the county wanting to go to UVU, and I think a growing number will want to connect to FrontRunner for their northerly transportation needs.
Prediction: Pleasant, evolving to Full over the next couple of years.

806.  I don't really know much about the 806.  Really not my neck of the woods.  But the fact that the 806 is getting split up into the 806 and 809 seems to indicate that this area has promise.  Or future promise.  In any case, I think that connecting to FrontRunner instead of just downtown Salt Lake offers so many more options for our friends on the wrong side of the lake that ridership will grow considerably on the 806 and 809.  But not at first.  It might take a while.
Prediction: Pleasant.

807.  This route is taking on some other duties besides just being a commuter express now; it takes in a greater swath of local-type destinations, like the Timpanogos LDS Temple, Adobe, and IM Flash.  It's going to run both directions, instead of just north in the morning and south in the afternoon.  No, it's not going to run all day, but I still think people are going to use it for more than just work in the morning.
Prediction: Full.

809.  See comments for 806--I really have no idea how much current 806 ridership comes from Eagle Mountain.  I think the possibilities for the 809 are similar to the 806; I think things will get cooking eventually.  But people didn't move to Eagle Mountain in the first place because they loved transit.
Prediction: Quiet.

811.  The 811 keeps shrinking!  It used to stretch as far south as Spanish Fork and as far north as downtown Salt Lake.  Now it's going to go from UVU to Sandy, and I bet it shrinks again when the Draper line opens.  I predict that ridership on the 811 will decrease considerably, because, hey, why take all day on the 811 when you can take FrontRunner?  A lot of people who currently take the 811 in the middle of the day are UVU students, whose pass is good for FrontRunner.  The only people who would still take the 811 are those who happen to live close to State Street in Lehi, which is not a major constituency of the route in my experience.  But some people will still need to take local service, and the 811 will still be the only bus in the county that runs on Sundays.
Prediction: Pleasant.

821.  Finally.  Finally.  The bus will come every hour to Payson, all day long.  I have lived with the 2-hour weekday midday frequency on the 822 for years; I have dreamed of this day for most of those years.  This will make this bus much more usable for our South-county friends who previously had to camp out to catch a bus in the middle of the day.  Connecting to FrontRunner will also probably encourage new ridership, and make the route much more connected to Provo in general; you won't have to go through BYU to get everywhere else in town.  The old 822 served the BYU market well, but this 821 serves all the markets better.
Prediction: Full.

822.  Well, the bus will still go to BYU, a few times a day.  UVU commuters will be torn: do I drive to an 805 stop and get there faster, or do I catch the 822 that comes closer to my house, but takes forever?  The 822 will also be the only bus serving southeast Provo; it's a bummer for those people, but I think some of them will still use the limited 822 service to get around.  Between BYU and UVU, I think this route has a decent chance of succeeding.
Prediction: Full.

830.  Where do I start?  This route is the workhorse, the backbone, the lifeblood of transit in Utah County.  It's going to connect to FrontRunner on both ends.  It's going to go nearly everywhere you want to go.  It comes every 15 minutes.  It's already one of the busiest buses in the entire UTA system, without FrontRunner.  And it's the single fastest way to UVU from the Orem FrontRunner Station.  It's going to be insane.  They're going to need an 830X to run people to UVU and back.
Prediction: Slammed.

831.  The 831 is like that quiet, unassuming person you don't really think of as a contender at first.  It goes through BYU backwards, and it's going to start going through UVU backwards again.  It skips all the important roads in town; it makes lots of crazy turns and doubles back on itself twice.  And yet, it manages to turn in decently good numbers and avoid service cuts all the time.  Adding a FrontRunner connection and 7 Peaks Boulevard is only going to increase ridership.  I also predict that people, sick of cramming onto an 830 to get to UVU, will try the 831, especially since the 831 will stop right in front of the library, institute, etc. and the 830 will only stop at the entrance to campus.  I think the 831 will stick around for a long time.
Prediction: Pleasant/Full.

832.  The 832 used to be a heavyweight route; I used to avoid it at all costs near BYU because it was so full.  Then the BYU market collapsed, and the 832 has not borne the recession well.  The new 832 will pick up some old 833 riders around the Provo Temple, but it's giving up 300 South and 7 Peaks to the 831, and Riverwoods to the 834 and 842.  I think the 832 will stick around for a long time too, but it's definitely not a big deal anymore.
Prediction: Quiet.

833.  I like this new 833.  It connects a whole side of Provo that had abysmal or no service before.  It is new, so it will take a while to catch on, but it's more of a city route than the others I've said that about, it will run all day, and it will connect to pretty much every other route in Provo/Orem, so I think it has a good chance of succeeding.
Prediction: Quiet/Pleasant.

834.  I like this new 834.  It also provides service to a new area of Provo; one that will probably not attract many residents, but will attract workers at the many offices over that way.  It's also a much faster connection from South Provo to Riverwoods than the current 832.
Prediction: Pleasant.

836.  This route seems to mainly exist to take people to FrontRunner and back.  It will only run a few trips a day, so it might not capture as many riders as it could if it ran all day, but the trip to the FrontRunner station is short enough that I think we'll see a few people even on day one.  Whether it grows from there, or gets subsumed back into another route in a few years, is anyone's guess.
Prediction: Quiet.

842.  I like that this route goes down Geneva.  I like that it goes down 800 North.  I like that it goes to Riverwoods.  But we are talking about Orem here.  This route could go either way.  It could revitalize transit in North Orem, or it could fall into somber step beside the 862.  I think some people will prefer this route to the 834 to get to Riverwoods from FrontRunner; I'm not sure if people that live over that way would want to catch this bus to get to FrontRunner to go somewhere else.  For now, I'll play it safe.
Prediction: Quiet.

850.  This route isn't changing all that much, except that it will be going into the FrontRunner station in American Fork, and it will be back on Main Street in Lehi.  The 850 is already a highly successful route; I don't think the changes are going to drive people away, and they will probably attract more people.  As long as it's on time.
Prediction: Full.

853.  I'm going to go out on a complete limb here and say that Adobe and IM Flash employees are going to salivate at the chance to commute from elsewhere on FrontRunner and cram onto this bus to get to work.  Eventually people have to get sick of that freeway!
Prediction: Full.

862.  Oh, 862, 862.  What are we going to do with you?  The 862 has never been a spectacular performer at the best of times.  I'm genuinely surprised when I see more than about two people on it.  I don't see ridership growing too much on the 862 (no FrontRunner connection); in fact, it may lose ridership due to competition with the 842.  When gas prices went up a couple years ago, even the 862 had more people on it, though.  It could grow, but I'm not holding my breath.
Prediction: Quiet.

I haven't written a post that long in ages.  That felt so good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TRANSIT HOLE

I was chatting with one of my friends about buses yesterday (translation: he asked me a question about buses and then listened patiently while I ranted for a while), and the subject came up, as it so often does these days, of the much-lamented cancelled BYU Ed-Pass.

After I had discoursed on it for a while, my friend said, "BYU has kind of dug itself into a transit hole, hasn't it?"

And I thought, my, isn't that a good way to put it.  A transit hole.  Good luck getting out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A NICE WISH

A while ago, I was waiting for who-knows-what bus at Central, and an elderly woman approached me.  "Can you help me?"

I'll bite.  "What do you need?"

"I don't see very well.  Can you tell me when the 517 gets here?"

Fair enough.  We both sat on the bench as several buses went by.  Finally, as the 517 swung in, I said, "Ma'am, this is the 517."

She got up and said, "Thank you.  I hope your bus comes soon."

As she got on the 517, I thought, isn't that a nice thing to wish someone.

Friday, October 5, 2012

CONFERENCE CONFERENCE CONFERENCE CONFERENCE CONFERENCE

It's conference time!

For those of you who are wondering what the big deal about Conference is, let me assure you, General Conference is a BIG DEAL.

Every six months, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints address the whole world via satellite broadcast.  In six two-hour sessions, they give short talks of 10-20 minutes each about Gospel topics, which are not coordinated with each other beforehand, but often end up seeming to follow certain trends together (and, honestly, which trend they seem to follow often depends on where you are in your life).  The experience unites Mormons all over the world, as the conference proceedings are translated into triple-digit languages and broadcast all over the world, to church meetinghouses and to homes via television and the internet.

During General Conference, thousands upon thousands of people from all over Utah, the United States, and the world converge on downtown Salt Lake City, mostly to attend conference, sometimes to protest it.  The Church pays for extra TRAX trains, which run free before and after each session of General Conference, to transfer the masses of the faithful and the protesters alike from downtown to their several destinations.  These trains tend to run mightily full, while others (we'll call them "less valiant," shall we?) fight their way up the freeway, through downtown, and into an unsightly parking garage, after which they have to walk farther to go to conference than did the people on the train.  I'm not judging them--Bible says not to--but I do think my way is more conducive to a peaceful Conference-going experience.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (21)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

I suppose that wherever it was you had to go was SO important, and you had to get there SO fast, that you couldn't be bothered to walk ALL THE WAY to the end of the platform at City Center.  You should consider yourself lucky I don't have my zucchini with me . . .

Here's the problem.  You were SO anxious to cross the tracks that you didn't even stop to look to see if the crosswalk would be open.  Which is why you had to wait for a Green Line train to stop at the platform, wait, and then pull out, all while the crosswalk was open a few feet north of you.  You could have crossed in front of the train while it was stopped at the station, but no, you were too good for that.

Oh, and once the train finally got out of the way, you crossed the street, and you couldn't get onto the sidewalk!  There's a fence down the side of the street!  You had to walk up to where the crosswalk was anyway, except that now you were walking in the street instead of on the platform.  SO inconvenient.  Because, guess what?

YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO CROSS THERE

Does that ever occur to you, ever?  Ever?

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Saturday, September 29, 2012

FOR SHAME

A lot has changed at BYU since 2003.

Fall 2003 was my first semester at BYU.  I know.  I'm old.  I swear I'm on my way out.

In Fall 2003, BYU handed out free UTA bus passes to anyone with an ID card.  The buses were always packed near BYU.  The 830 ran every 15 minutes; it ran full every 15 minutes.  UTA had to put two buses at once on the 822, 830, and 833, at least, at certain times of day to handle the sheer numbers of screaming college students getting on the bus.

Then, as you all probably already know, parking passes became free and bus passes began to cost.  It wasn't much; the cost of a subsidized bus pass topped out at $120/year, which was still an enormous savings.  Then, last year, BYU substantively stopped subsidizing the passes and ridership absolutely flatlined on the 831, 832, and 833 around campus.  As I thought it would.

Then, this week, I saw an article tagline in the [Weekly] Universe, BYU's student newspaper, that interested me.  I don't read the [Weekly] Universe anymore, out of principle, since it stopped being the Daily Universe.  But when I saw an article called "BYU Students Without Cars Find Other Ways to Get Around" (with the tagline on the front page: "There are plenty of alternatives") I decided to pick one up and see what there was to say about carless travel in Provo.

I was sorely disappointed.

The only "alternatives" it mentioned to driving your own car were walking and bumming rides.

Not a word about taking public transportation.  Not a single word.  Not UTA, not BYU's student shuttle, not even the four rental cars on campus that BYU implied would take the place of subsidized bus passes.  Not even bikes!

This article shows at best a complete lack of subject knowledge or research, probably due to being composed minutes before its deadline, and at worst a callous disregard for anything that isn't a car, with the clear message that if you don't have a car of your very own to drive absolutely everywhere, you're a second-class citizen.  It's probably closer to the first, but the fact is, this got published and people read it.  It should never have been published.

The last sentence of the article is a quote from a BYU student: "If my friends can't let me borrow their car, I can't go anywhere."

Y'ALL BLIND?

You can go anywhere you want in Provo without a car! (And even that's getting better in December.)  I've done it for six years now.  I've gone to work, gone shopping, gone on dates, gone home to visit my parents, gone to church, gone up to Salt Lake periodically just to clear my head for SIX YEARS now without a car.  I've walked faster than traffic after BYU football games.  I've gotten on a bus and arrived at the Wilk well before my friends who drove and left at the same time because they were looking for parking and I wasn't.  I've gone to General Conference without endlessly wandering through a parking garage beforehand and sitting in it for over an hour afterward.  I've never had a car of my very own, but I've done just fine.  And there are people sitting around in Provo moping that they can't do anything because they don't have a car of their own.

Shame on the person who wrote this.  Shame on the Universe for publishing it.  And shame on everyone who read it and believed it.

In two-and-a-half months, FrontRunner to Provo will open.  I will ride it joyfully every time I come to Provo.  The rest of you can sit in your smog.

Monday, September 24, 2012

PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL PICTURES

Recently I was at UVU long enough to take some pictures of the pedestrian tunnel. And I walked through it, too. It was so weird to realize I was on the other side of University Parkway. I did it several times.  I still couldn't get over it.  Anyway, here's the tunnel.

I'm standing at the bus stop.

Tunnel under the Parkway


Tunnel under College Drive.

The northbound bus stop is right around this corner!

If you get the chance, you should totally walk back and forth through the tunnel several times.  I enjoyed it . . .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

BITTERNESS

Last week:

Bustled out the door at 5:50 a.m. to catch the bus to the train to the bus to class.  Class begins at 7:30.  Bus is due at 7:32.  Bus arrives at 7:28.  I enter the classroom, panting, at 7:30 on the dot.  Teacher is not there.  Someone finds email saying, "Hi! I'm not going to be there!  Take this open-book quiz!"  Teacher shows up half-hour late.  I begin to question ever attending this class again.

This week:

Bustled out the door at 5:50 a.m. to catch the bus to the train to the bus to class.  Class begins at 7:30.  Bus is due at 7:32.  Bus arrives at 7:37.  I enter the classroom, panting, at 7:39.  Teacher is not only there, but has already handed out the quiz and is collecting it.

Bitterness.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

EXCESS PRODUCE

As you may know, commutergirl and I have a garden.

We also have a lot of zucchini.  I know, I know, we had it coming, planting TWO whole zucchini plants . . .

We've put the zucchini into bread, soup, and other dishes.  We've fried sliced zucchini as a side for dinner.  We've doorbell ditched people we know zucchini.  It still persists.

But now we've figured out something we can do with all the rest of our zucchini that are still sitting around.

We can cut it into four-inch pieces and chuck them at people who cross the tracks in the middle of the platform at City Center.

We have enough zucchini to do this for quite a while.  You've all been warned.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CONTEXTUALLY AUTUMN

Autumn is definitely on its way in.

Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt cold walking to the bus.  Today I also felt cold walking to the bus.  Especially wearing shorts.  Very cold on my legs.

Granted, it was quarter-to-six in the morning.

But even at that time of day it wasn't cold until yesterday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MOMENT OF SILENCE



Eleven years ago today, I sat in A. P. History class, when the teacher announced that the Twin Towers had been attacked.  I remember feeling shock, a loss.  I lived in Utah, about as far away from New York as you can get, both physically and culturally.  I didn't know any of these people, but I felt them, even from far away.  It was difficult to concentrate on anything that day.  I remember teachers abandoning their lesson plans, letting us listen to the radio during class, or telling us about the Kennedy assassination--another day when the whole nation's consciousness was wrenched together by tragedy.  I have heard that 9/11 and the Kennedy assassination are similar, in that everyone remembers exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.

I remember President Bush asking everyone to pray for those affected--I liked that.

I remember American flags popping up everywhere: in newspapers, magazines, storefronts, websites, homes, offices.



I remember all the patriotism everyone showed; how, for a while, it was good to be patriotic again.  I remember policemen and firefighters marching in our small, homespun parade and getting wild cheers and applause, because of the examples of bravery their counterparts had shown in the rescue efforts following the attacks.

Eleven years later, America is still a great place to live.  I hope we all remember this.



I know I said "moment of silence," and here I am, sharing a video.  Keep in mind that whenever there is silence around me, there is still music rushing through my brain at a frenetic rate.  This video is probably the best summary of how I felt, and feel about September 11, 2001.  It pairs footage from ABC's "Report from Ground Zero" with footage of Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in one of the world's best elegiac melodies ever written--the abstrusely titled "Adagio for Strings" by American composer Samuel Barber.  This performance of the Adagio was given on September 15, 2001, when the world was still reeling from the pain of a fresh wound.  You might need a moment of silence after you watch it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

UNEXPECTEDLY RIDING THE 831 AGAIN FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE

So, I actually walked through the pedestrian tunnel today.  I didn't have time to take any pictures, though, because I was literally getting off a bus on one side and getting on another on the other.

Last time I took the 811 down to Provo at this time, the bus was late, and the 831 had already left UVU.  This time, however, it was right on time, and I thought, if I hurry, I can just make it . . .

So I took the 831 from UVU to BYU today.  It was fuller than I remember it being at 2:30 in the past.  This is probably from UVU, and due to the fact that the 811 doesn't cover the same stops on University Avenue anymore.  A bunch of people got on at UVU, and proceeded to get off at a rate of one every few stops.  But then nobody got on going to BYU.  I mean nobody.  When we got to BYU, I was the only one to get off, and nobody got on.  Had there been cheap BYU passes involved, I think the bus would have been quite full.  At 2:30 p.m.! (a.k.a. not rush hour).  The 830 and 811 Northbound at UVU were certainly packed.  Oh, BYU, BYU . . .

I had forgotten how pretty the 831 route is.  It was quite relaxing, really.  I may have to do this again this semester.  I'm going to need a basis for comparison between this 831 and the new version coming in December, of course.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

THE PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL!!!

The pedestrian tunnel is open!

What?

The one at UVU!  At least, the part of it that goes under College Drive is open.  I know that much, because when everybody got off the bus today, they went through it.  But it looks like the other part is open, too.

This is a big deal (as I've mentioned before)--it means you no longer have to cross University Parkway to get places from the UVU bus stop.  Up to this point, the pedestrian environment at University Pkwy. and Sandhill Rd. has been quite inhospitable, and the addition of a sort-of continuous flow intersection doesn't help (CFI's are pretty good for cars, as far as I can tell, and have studied; they are a chore-and-a-half to cross on foot).  It also looks like you can enter 1200 South now from the west side of campus, which you couldn't before; among other things, this means that a bus could come from the west side of campus and stop near the roundabout without looping all the freaking way through campus, like the 862 does now, and the 831 is proposed to in December.

I doubt I'll have time to experience the pedestrian tunnel anytime soon, but if you're in the area, try it out.  Enjoy the feeling of not having to wait for cars!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DAMNED IF YOU DO . . .

Last December, something rather odd happened.

The 811, which has, for years, gone down State Street between 12300 South and the Sandy Civic Center TRAX Station at 10000/9800 South, stopping all up and down the road, stopped stopping at all the stops on State Street; now it only stops at 12300 South and at the TRAX Station.  All the old stops are still there, but now the 201 stops at them instead of the 811.  Which means, in case you got lost in the middle of all those times I said "stop" (Stop!) that now the 811 goes past a lot of bus stops without stopping at them.

This doesn't always work.

The other day, someone got on the 811 at 12300 South, which was perfectly legitimate.  But then he pulled the cord to try to get off at 10200 South.  Uh-oh.  The stop at 10200 South came and went.  The concerned passenger came forward and began to remonstrate with the driver.  "I needed that stop!"  "I don't stop there."  "Yes you do, there's a sign right there."  "I don't stop at that stop."  "Did you see the sign?"

Obviously, our friend is not a regular 811 rider, for which he may be excused.  It can be very confusing to see a bus stop sign go past, then be told that the bus you're on doesn't stop there.  And it can be annoying to walk further than you originally thought you had to.

Then, two days later, I was on the 811 rather late, after the 201 had stopped running.  Someone was waiting at a 201 stop, and the driver of the 811 stopped to let them on.  Someone behind me said, rather punctiliously, "That's not an 811 stop."  I told her it was a courtesy stop, since the 201 had already stopped running, and she was placated.  Damned if you do . . .

Hopefully, next year when the Draper TRAX extension opens, the 201 and the 811 will both stop at the 12300 South station, thus eliminating the need for one route to skip all the stops that the other route stops at, with its attendant inconvenience and confusion.  We'll see.  Until then, you've all been warned--don't mix up 201 stops and 811 stops!

Friday, August 31, 2012

RAIN

As I've mentioned before, I control the weather.

Today, as I was about to step out the door at work to go home, I noticed the parking lot was wet.  I waffled for a minute, then headed back to my beloved cubicle to fetch my umbrella.  I brought my umbrella to work the last time it rained, which was about a month ago, and it has been sitting there ever since, waiting for the next time it rained, which happened to be today.

I really didn't think I would need my umbrella, but I decided to take it anyway.

As soon as I stepped out the door, it started raining.  And it kept raining harder and harder as I made my way to the TRAX Station.  In fact, it rained all the way until I got on the Green Line, at which point it stopped abruptly.

Eventually I switched to the Red Line and got off at 39th.

As I was walking over to the 39 bus stop, it started raining again.  And winding.  And it kept raining harder and harder as I kept walking.  In fact, it rained all the way until I got on the 39, at which point it tapered off significantly.

The rain stayed tapered as I walked home; after I got home, commutergirl and I immediately decided to go to dinner.  I took the umbrella as we walked outside.  Commutergirl said something to the effect of, "it's not really raining that hard . . ." but I took the umbrella anyway.

As soon as we got out from under the awning of our apartment building, it started raining hard again.

If I stay outside all day tomorrow, we may be able to fill the reservoirs back up.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (20)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

I suppose I can forgive you, even though I don't wanna, for crossing the street at the wrong time.  Some crosswalk signals are longer than others, and sometimes the flashing hand means you have plenty of time, and sometimes it means you'd better get your rear in gear and get across that lonely stretch of asphalt as quick as the wind may carry you.  Just for future reference, though, if you only start crossing during green walking man times, you will never have the need to be carried by the wind across an urban crosswalk.

Now, when the light turned red and the cars started revving their engines and you didn't start hurrying, that was definitely a mistake.  And yes, it was stupid of the guy waiting at the light to honk at you and say mean things out his window at you.  I wholeheartedly agree with you that the fact that he is technically right does not give him the right to be rude to you.

but don't stand there arguing with him in the middle of the street while cars are coming at you from the other direction

The next time you feel a good, old-fashioned argue coming on, go home and post something blatantly false on a YouTube (R) comment string.  In a few hours, you'll have more people to argue with than you've ever had before.

xkcd.com.  Sorry for the swears, but they are contextually accurate . . .
Do that, and there might be a next time.  Argue with people in the middle of a busy street, and there might not be.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PURPLE

 So I go out of town for one week.  One week!  And I come back and the bus signs are purple.

The first bus I saw, I pointed out to commutergirl.  Look!  It's purple.

And then I saw another, and another, and another.  I didn't know our relationship was that fragile, UTA.  I leave for one week and you go changing colors on me.

Yesterday, I saw bus 10035, and the sign on the front was still blue.  I looked at it like "Hello, old friend.  Don't let them infect you!"

This morning, I was trying to catch the 200 at 6:04 a.m., and it was all dark out, and I was loopy, and the fact that it was purple just wasn't working for me.  I had to convince myself that the purple sign headed toward me was, in fact, on a bus.  I'm so used to seeing a blue sign.  Or a green sign.

Purple is going to take some getting used to.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

BEEN THERE FOR A WHILE

The bus stop I wait at every morning has been there for a while.






This is not, of course, what UTA bus stops look like now, nor do we generally call them "coaches" in polite conversation (these days, we tend to call them "buses").  Above the UTA stop, there is another one that says "SLCL Coach Stop" ("SLCL" referring, of course, to "Salt Lake City Lines," which dates back even earlier).

Recently, an instagram (R) of a similar-looking stop showed up on UTA's twitter.  I thought, huh, I have one of those pictures, too!  It's without the benefit of Instagram (R), but it's here for you.  Enjoy.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

TRANSIT MAP TO THE RESCUE

Those of you who most dedicatedly check this blog know that I haven't posted all week . . . I hope this has not caused you too much distress.  I am writing you today from a house in Dolores, CO, where I am contentedly sitting on my tush, doing nothing.  Well, blogging.  But blogging isn't a particularly physically or emotionally demanding enterprise.  At least not when you're writing about buses, and you're the busninja.  Anyway.

What are you doing in southwestern Colorado, you might ask?  What is there to do out there?  Well, plenty.  Hiking.  Rafting.  Fishing.  Cliff-dwelling ruins.  Very small rocks.  And, the Durango public transit system.


I did not actually ride the Durango transit system.


(I was with other people, and when I'm with other people, I try to exist on the same plane they do.  Which takes more effort than you might realize, if you don't already exist on a different plane than most people around you.)

But I did pick up a map, and I studied it quite carefully.  Which came in handy.

We were on our way back from a hike, and it became apparent that our dinner was not going to make itself; neither were we particularly willing to buy dinner on the same day as we had collectively spent $109-plus-tax on art.  The question was raised as to whether there was a Wal-Mart (R) in Durango or not.

Now, I knew there was a Wal-Mart (R) in Durango, because one of the buses I saw while we were in Durango had said "WALMART" on the front.  We had not seen the actual Wal-Mart (R) while we were in town earlier that day, however, so it became necessary to consult what little cartography our vehicle contained at the moment.

The tourist map did not have Wal-Mart (R) on it.  But the transit map did!  Points for me.

Once we established where Wal-Mart (R) was in Durango, it was then decided that Wal-Mart (R) was completely on the wrong side of town, and that we should look for another grocery establishment more congruent to our current trajectory through town.  Back to the transit map.

In the detailed list of stops (a luxury that Durango Transit, which runs five routes during the weekday rush, can afford; but UTA, which runs over a hundred during the same time, cannot) I found something called "North City Market," which, when we came upon it, looked very grocery-store-ish, so we pulled in.  We were initially nervous about what we were to find inside, as some grocery stores are better than others, but were comforted when we went in and saw that everything was made of Kroger (R).  A few minutes and a few groceries (and a very necessary trip to the restroom) later, we were happily again on our way.

Now, you may say that we could have seen the City Market without the transit map.  Sure.  Some of us are lucky.  But some of us know how to read a transit map.  And someday, that will make the difference between a happy vacation and a sad one.  Someday.