Wednesday, April 4, 2012

500TH POST SPECIAL: THE 500 (LIVEBLOG)


I heard a rumor that the 500 used to have standing loads.  Today I’m the only one on it at Central.  Nice to have some time to myself.
I wonder if the bus driver will give me trouble at the end of the line if I try to stay on.  Maybe I should just walk back down to City Creek and catch the bus there.  I’m not sure.
This driver seems relaxed and confident—sometimes when I take the 500 I’m afraid we’re going to get into a wreck on 200 South.
And we’re stopped at a light.  This happens a lot.
I’m doing a term project about traffic on 200 South.
I hate how there’s a pedestrian crossing between 4th and 5th west, right across the TRAX tracks.  It freaks me out.  I wish it were not there . . .
And nobody got on at the Catholic center.  Which tells you something about the 500, as almost every other route ever that stops there picks somebody up.
TRAX delay updates coming over the radio.  Hopefully by the time I’ve ridden the 500 all the way around, it will be cleared up, whatever it is, and I can go home in peace.
And they’ve left the radio on after finishing their announcement . . . *cracklecracklecrackle*  Oh good, they finally turned it off.
And we’re stopped at another light.  Let’s see if I remember to mention that every time.
*swerve* there’s someone at the stop – but not for us.  Chap didn’t even look up.
When the announcements are coming on on this bus, there’s a high pitched beeping at the beginning that sounds kind of like someone pulled the cord.  Which is tripping me out because I’m the only passenger.  Still.  We’re at Main St.
And we’re stopped at another light.
Ah, here’s some people.  We’re up to three passengers now.  Everybody make room.
People sat right in front of me.  Blocking my view.  Sitting on a ’99 makes you feel like you’re at the bottom of a bucket anyway.
I wonder if these other people are going to the Capitol also, or if they’re just trying to get somewhere in the Free Fare Zone.  The 500 doesn’t have  a lot of stops to itself, most of them are just the Free Fare Zone stops.
Curious to see if they’re going to get rid of the Free Fare Zone.  I keep hearing hints about it on the news, but I haven’t seen anything UTA-official.
ON a ’99 you can feel every. Single. Bump. In the road. Ever.
We’re up to five of us now.  Bring on the people.
Hello, Harmons.  Hello, City Creek.  Nice to see you both again.  Hello, social hall museum.
Whoa.  Seven people.  This is as many people as I’ve ever seen on the 862 at one time.  Of course, we’re in downtown Salt Lake, not residential Orem.
Gee, it takes forever to merge back into traffic on State Street.
And we gotta merge all the way across.  Bus coming through!
10 minutes in.
And we’re stopped at a light.
I come through this part of downtown on the 200 all the time.  Inbound.  That gets a little confusing, that the 200 to Central and the 500 to Central stop on opposite sides of the street.  I never know which side to wait on when I’m coming back from lunch.  This is, of course, because I’m too lazy to look it up beforehand.  I still usually make it back on time . . .
North Temple has lots of well-dressed people waiting for the bus.  They’re waiting for the bus that goes a lot further than the Capitol.
And  we’re going up the hill!  Be prepared for your surroundings to get ritzier by the minute.
And we’re stopped at a light.
People’s houses have great big stairways up to them.  I’m sure that’s fun in the dead of winter.
Looks like it will be 7 passengers for the outbound trip.  UTA’s trip average, the last time I saw data, was 17.  Of course, many trips are more than 17 minutes from end to end . . .
Someone’s trying to get on at the back and the driver’s not having it.  She got on at the front.  Eight.
Looks like it might be just a little bit expensive to live up here.
More hill! Yay!
Now we’re looking down at the Capitol building.  And the rest of the Salt Lake Valley.
*beep beep* that must mean we’re inbound.  And we’re going downhill, which also probably means that.
And here we are at the main entrance itself.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen the Capitol building up close.  It looks Capitoley.  It has a round dome on the top and lions in front.
This is the part where the driver might try to kick me off.  But he looks pretty unconcerned.  I guess I don’t really look like a terrorist.  Though if I were one, maybe kicking me off at the Capitol wouldn’t be the best thing ever.  Not that it matters, of course, because I’m not one.
Two more people.  They’re just coming in droves now.
I wonder if the driver thinks I’m evaluating him, what with my laptop and my constant typing at all.  I hope I’m not stressing him out.  I’m trying to send calming vibes his way.
Here’s someone else.  We’re up to five people to start the inbound trip.  Everybody’s got one minute left before we’re supposed to head back down.  Hurry, masses of people I know are waiting to take the 500!
The blinkers on a ’99 blink about twice a second.  I’ve timed it with the bus’s clock.  While we were waiting at timepoints.  Much like we are now.
And we’re off.  Sorry, masses of people.
Holy loud cell phone ringtone.
Maybe someday I’ll actually go inside the Capitol.  It could be fun; I don’t know.
I’m sure the Capitol looks more striking when the grass is greenish in front of it, instead of brownish.  It’s almost that time of year again.
And we’re stopped at a light.
Maybe I should save this document.  Just in case.
The intersection we were just at was no right-turn-on-red!  I didn’t know anyone did that around here.  I guess they do it in American Fork, but that’s because they’re at an intersection at the top of a bridge over the FrontRunner tracks.  Oh, who knows why they do what they do.
And we’re stopped at a light.  Blinkers, at quarter-note equals 120.
When cars pull up next to you and are blasting their radio, it seems like you know too much about them.  Particularly if you’re listening to a long string of cars passing you and they’re each playing different music.  It’s like a window into all these strangers’ lives, via their musical choices.
Lots of nicely-dressed people on North Temple again.  Again, going to faraway places like Ogden or Tooele or Provo or Orem or Payson.  Not elsewhere in Salt Lake.
I just saw a 6 turn into a 519.  No, I’m not surprised.  I see it all the time.
Lots of people at the bus stops.  None want the 500 . . .
Hello, Eagle Gate.  I think I forgot to say hi to you on the way up.  So, hello.
Hello, City Creek.
Hello, food court.
Smells like meat cooking.  Mmm.
Hey, a passenger!  That makes six!
When people are coming out of the parking lot at City Creek, they’re coming up from the depths.  They have to not come back out on the surface very fast, or it really freaks out people driving down State Street.  Or me, at least.  I don’t usually drive.
And we’re stopped at a light.
Police car lights!  Right in front of a bus stop.
Don’t even think about turning right right in front of us.  It’ll hurt . . .
No, we’re not the 200.  500.  It’s okay, the sign is a little funky on the front of this bus.
Seven.
And we’re stopped at a light.
I’ve just gone through a lot of downtown,  but I’m calm and peaceful.  I might not be if I had to drive it.
Bumpity bumpity bump bump bump rattle rattle squeak rattle squeak groan groan
Here we are at another stop where everyone wants anything but us.
And we’re stopped at a light.
Who’s honking?  Honking is dumb.
Well, we won’t be picking up any more passengers, because we’re behind a 205, which now goes to all the same places we do.  First.
Unless they’re letting passengers off and we’re not.  We’re first now.  We cruisin’.
No, seriously, it’s been three green lights in a row.
And we’re stopped at a light.  I spoke too soon.  In fact, I may have jinxed us.  Whoops.
Hello, TRAX trains going in both directions at once.  Nice to see you.
I can hear beeping, but it’s from a gate that’s opening.  I’m pretty sure.
Hello, Gateway.  My mind was on other things when I passed you before.  But hello.
Next stop, Central.
And we’re stopped at a light.
I remember the day when I figured out that TRAX’s overhead catenary system goes under the wires.  It’s never ceased to fascinate me, before or since.
And we’re stopped at a light.  That happens when TRAX trains get to the intersection the same time you do.
I have a song stuck in my head.  But I probably shouldn’t quote it here.
Whee!  Around the corner we go!
Now I’ve gotta walk my laptop back to work.  That’s the price you pay.
Rattle rattle squeak shake groan shudder
*save*

No comments:

Post a Comment