Friday, August 31, 2012


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:

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.  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.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 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


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


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.

Friday, August 17, 2012


So.  I went to the public hearing in South Jordan last night.  Based on the uproar that happened earlier this year when UTA changed the kind of buses the 347 used (see this post for an analogous, if temporary, situation), I was hoping to maybe see some decent suburban carnage about the 347 not going straight to downtown anymore.  I didn't see that.  Which may be for the best.

I did see a lot of planners, though.  I chatted amiably with them.  I asked them some questions.  I think I made them nervous.  Some of their comments toward me ranged from "So, are you here to find stuff to write about on your blog?" to "So YOU'RE the busninja . . . " to "Please be nice to the planners."  I would like to set this matter to rest once and for all.

Planners have a thankless job--they have to make tough calls based on considerations that are entirely out of their control, then defend those decisions to members of the public who are far snarkier, and somewhat less charming, than I am.  So be nice to them.  Because I heart them.  That is all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



People!  People!  People!  People!  People!

Don't drive around train gates!


Don't!  Don't!  Don't!  Don't!  Don't!  Don't!



I am tired of this!

Look at this!

Photo by Deseret News.  From UTA's Twitter account.

Do you know what this is?  This is someone dead!  Because they drove around a train gate!

You wouldn't try to drive your car across a freeway; why would you try to drive it around a train gate?



Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The first of several public hearings about the big day is tomorrow.  I meant to have these up earlier.  They're not awesome, but hopefully they can tide everyone over until the actual system maps come out.

I could not get my scanner to keep the pages straight.  What you're looking at is the best I could do tonight.

Also, I know these were made on the super cheesy, and therefore almost certainly have errors.  If you would . . . tactfully . . . let me know, I will endeavor to rectify them.  But no promises.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


In the midst of commutergirl's adventure getting Tori fixed (Tori's the car, in case you just happened upon this post and may have thought that Tori was a household pet) last week, she was informed that Tori's repairs would take several hours to satisfactorily complete, but not to worry . . .

we have a shuttle service that will take you anywhere you need to go.

Well, isn't that nice.  commutergirl said, "I'd like to go to the TRAX station."  There was one nearby, and she had some errands to run.

They looked at her like she was insane.  "But, we can take you wherever you need to go!"

"I want to go to the TRAX station."

"Where are you going?  Are you going downtown?  We can take you downtown!"

"I want to go to the TRAX station."  She was running errands around downtown, and we're pretty sure their shuttle service would not take her all over downtown for the next three hours.  It took them quite a bit of convincing, but eventually they went along with it.

So she ran her errands.  She arrived back at the TRAX station afterward, and called the dealership to tell them they could come pick her up now.  They said they would be a few minutes.

An hour later, she called them back again.  They again said they would be a few minutes.  This time they were only a few minutes.  But in the time she sat waiting under a tree at the TRAX station, the 516, which goes right past the dealership, had come and gone twice.

And we're the crazy ones. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Tomorrow I will make a longer than usual bus trip.  Longer than usual, for me, is about three hours.

I am going to a bachelor party!  Who knows what will happen.  I've always said Mormons don't need alcohol . . .

Tomorrow I am going to take the 801 all the way from downtown Salt Lake to the Timp Transit Center.  Then I am going to take the 833 all the way.  ALL the way.  I can just imagine my friends texting me: "Where are you?"  "I'm in Orem.  I'll be about 40 minutes."  Their heads will explode, because they have no concept of it taking me 40 minutes to get from the Transit Center to my friend's house in Provo.

In a few months, this trip will be so much shorter.  I'll get off FrontRunner in Orem, then catch the 833 in a straight line directly to my friend's house.  It's seriously going to take less than half as long.

All I can say is, somebody else better get married next year.  'Cause I may make this trip again next year just to feel the difference.

Monday, August 6, 2012


As you all know, we have a car.  It's cute.  It's used.  Some things are broken on it.  So commutergirl took it to the dealership last Saturday to give it some TLC.  Among other things, we needed a new clicker and extra key.  Hence, the dealership.

Commutergirl, technologically savvy girl that she is, made an online appointment with the dealership beforehand.  She showed up at the time she had said she would show up.  She never did find any actual place to show up at.  No front desk, no receptionist, no signs indicating the removed presence of a front desk, or receptionist, or fish tank, or anything else associated with arriving at a dealership and knowing what the bucket you're doing.  She finally resorted to accosting employees in the hall and asking them for directions.  They mainly gave her directions to other employees, who gave her directions to other employees, etc.

Finally she did get someone to give her some actual directions; the sensation was much like administering cool, clear water to a parched throat that has been out in the wilderness for many hours.  She even, after several hours, and several mysterious "miscellaneous" and "service" charges, managed to get out of there with what she wanted to have done done.  Much frustrated, but feeling oddly triumphant, she set out for home, to recount the dreary tale to my attentive ears.  A bad experience, but over soon enough, right?

The next day she got an email from the dealers:

"We're sorry we missed you yesterday . . ."

which sparked a wrathful outcry from her such that I heard it all the way across the apartment.  Not that our apartment is that big, mind you, but still: wrath.

My question is: if you're smart enough to correctly interpret an online signup, and you're smart enough to send someone an email about it the next day, are you also smart enough to manifest some sort of corporeal presence in our four-dimensional world?  Because you might as well have been in another dimension for all the trouble my wife went to to not find you.

And people try to tell me UTA gives them the runaround . . .

Friday, August 3, 2012


For a significant part of my adult life, the 831 has been a significant part of my life.  Back in the day, I used to take it six times a day.  No joke.

With the whole to-do over BYU and UTA not being friends anymore, I worried about the 831, as BYU was an important part of the route.  I figured it might get packaged off into other routes, or just cut off at the library or something, not serving BYU at all.

Well, at least in proposal, all you eight-thirty-wunners can rejoice.  The 831 is back, and it's more twisty-turny and goes more random places than ever before.  I'm going to have to ride it from end to end one of these days.

And when I do, I will write a post that more or less says:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I wish I were writing a post about today being the Big Day, but, unfortunately, the big day is still 131 days away.  Actually, I don't wish today were the Big Day, because, as good as the big day is going to be, it is also going to come at the very end of my last semester of grad school, which I don't need to describe in detail to you for you to understand that I need the next 131 days to emotionally prepare myself for it.

I'm conflicted
By the Big Day, of course, I mean December 10, 2012, when FrontRunner to Provo will begin service.  An alert reader advised me that the changes were up on, so naturally I had to spend the next four hours or so checking them out.  I have a few thoughts to offer right now; I'm sure I will have more later.

1.  No route in Utah County is the same.  Not a one.  This is to be expected; if FrontRunner were to open without any changes to the bus routes, a total of . . . zero routes would connect to it in Provo and Orem.  But these changes are more than just little diversions off the main roads to pull into FrontRunner stations.  Whole areas of the county have been rethought.  The express trips to Salt Lake are gone, of course, with vestigial 805, 806, and 807 connecting to FrontRunner instead of downtown.  A few areas that used to get service and then had it cut seem to be getting it back.  BYU and the Transit Center are not nearly as busy without the expresses, and with fewer local routes beginning and ending there (a current problem at the Transit Center).  We saw this coming for BYU.  I don't think I need to beat that dead horse anymore.

2.  The future Green Line.  Route 550 is going to be TRAX for a few months until the Airport line is done.  It's going to run every fifteen minutes, and stop on North Temple near the TRAX stations.  Trains hold a lot more than buses.  I wonder if this bus is suddenly going to become very full at certain times of day.  In my experience, the 517 and the 218 are the two buses that clear out the most people when they pull through Central; both of them let lots of people off on North Temple.  I'll be curious to see how it works out.  And very happy, of course, when the Airport line actually opens.  Huzzah!

3.  Rose Park v2.0.  When you put the 506, 510, and 512 on a piece of paper together, they look quite nice; it really is quite an elegant solution to the problem of how to distribute people to TRAX and to downtown at the same time from this area.  (I may put the picture up in another post.)  I figured things were going to change in this neck of the woods when TRAX opened.  If you have ever ridden the 519 or the 520 the wrong way (especially if it wasn't on purpose!), you know how long it can take to get in and out of this neighborhood.  It's amazing what you can come up with when you don't have to spend, like, 15 minutes out of every trip just looping through downtown.

4.  Go to a public hearing.  If you have thoughts or suggestions about the many changes that are happening in conjunction with the Big Day, GO TO A PUBLIC HEARING.  There are two in Salt Lake and three in Utah County.  As one who has been to many, many UTA public hearings, I can tell you that it's worth your time to go.  If you don't understand something, you can ask questions about it.  If you don't like something, you can put it on the official record.  If enough people want something to change, it will change.  But it won't change if you don't go.  I'm going to try to at least hit one of the Utah County hearings, so if you see me, say hi!