Friday, August 30, 2013

I FIGURED OUT WHERE THE HYBRIDS WENT

I don't frequent the bus stop at Central every day--only on the days I work.

"You don't have to practice every day.  Practice only on the days you eat." --Shinichi Suzuki

Lately I have noticed a lot of CNG's out there--my brain being what it is, I'm constantly going "Hey! CNG on the 220! CNG on the 520! Hey! CNG on the 3! CNG on the 509!"

I don't generally say it out loud.

But one thing I haven't seen lately is any hybrids ('10 hybrids, that is; the '02 hybrids are still there, lumbering about like great beasts).

I idly wondered about this on my way to work for a couple of weeks, until last Saturday I went down to Orem and found . . .

The hybrids.

New UTA Hybrid Bus
Picture from letsrideuta.com.  When this blog post was published back in the day, I wrote some snarky comments on Facebook about how UTA had put a picture of a Salt Lake bus on an article about the "Provo/Orem Shuttle" 830.  I guess I have to take them back now.

I saw an awful lot of hybrids parked at the Timp Garage on my way past, and I thought, is that where they have all gone?

I checked on my handy dandy app on Monday, and sure enough, they were all there.  On the 830.  On the 831.  On the 832.  On the 833.  On the 821.  On the 850.

My three-years-ago self would have been fascinated.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

AVENUES BISTRO ON THIRD

So we haven't had the internet for several days now, which is probably good for me, if not for my devoted fans who are surely experiencing withdrawals (or so I tell myself when I'm alone).  But we got it back today (right after I came up with a contingency plan, more on that later, maybe), so let's catch up.

First off, we ate at the Avenues Bistro on Third last Friday.  We took Baby.

Whoops, wrong baby
That's the one

I liked all the food, but my favorite was when they brought out the side of olives:


This picture was taken before all the olives had been consumed
That was enough to make me a fan for life.

The rest of the food was pretty good, too:

Melon gazpacho

Chicken!  Beans!  Succotash!  Bacon!

Quinoa burger

Self-explanatory
We tried to catch the 3, we really did.  We were all ready to catch it at Temple Square at 5:24 p.m., but there was a delay on TRAX, so commutergirl and Baby didn't get there in time, and that was the last 3 of the "night."  Yeah, I know.

Never fear: we caught the 209 instead and walked the arduous block-and-a-half up to 3rd Avenue.  And when we were done, we walked all the way back down and caught the 209 back to TRAX.  Baby took it well, which was good, since he was being carried or perambulated the entire distance and really had no reason to complain.

I like the Avenues.  I like that there is civilization there, but the dirt is close, if you know what I mean.  We were sitting at a table on the patio and there were plants and trees and flowers and DIRT close by; no vast stretches of pavement interspersed occasionally by expanses of sod.  Not that sod is ugly or a bad thing per se, but I much prefer actual vegetation, you know?

All the houses in the Avenues are so quirky and nice.  Maybe someday we'll get a house there.

(I'd like to invite you all to join me in a nice, hearty chuckle)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

COUGS, THE U IS KICKING YOUR TRASH

(Forgive me as I slip into the likely already-dated vernacular of my carefree college singlehood)


So, as you may have heard, today UTA and the U of U announced that they are still friends, and that if you buy a ticket to a U of U sporting event, you can ride bus, TRAX, and FrontRunner for free all day.  Frankly, I think it's a great idea for both parties.  The amount of traffic generated by a sporting event around here is truly astonishing, and the U is not exactly next to all the freeways in town (not that the freeways can even handle it).  The clear answer is to get people in and out of there on transit.

Which brings me to the subject of BYU.

Let me put it bluntly: BYU sucks at transit.  BYU is also far away from any freeway, with no streets around it that support the demand for automobiles that our society requires of it.  BYU creates a moderate traffic jam in a good part of Provo every day, but when there's a sporting event, most of the city shuts down.  I have walked around town faster than traffic on the day of a BYU football game.  BYU has a much greater proportion of its student body living close to campus than the U does, many of whom live in cramped apartments or overcrowded houses.  Most students live downhill from campus; most of those that live uphill live a greater distance away than the downhillers, and usually have to cross University Avenue (where one prominent crossing was removed a few years ago so that people would stop dying).  The situation is ideal for transit, and UTA service to BYU was excessively successful during the days of the Ed Pass.  The LDS Church, which reportedly owns BYU, provides  passes at a heavy discount to its office employees.  H. David Burton, former Presiding Bishop of the Church, currently sits on the UTA Board of Trustees.

But some administrators who have reserved parking spots behind the ASB decided that subsidizing transit passes "wasn't a good use of tithing money."  That sentence may sound bitter to you, but the part about tithing is true, according to one of my professors who also works for MAG.  Others of my professors and many students explained to the administration the feasibility of working the cost of a transit pass into a student fee--these proposals were consistently rejected with no logical explanation that I can divine.  "BYU can't charge the cost of a bus pass as a student fee because it is a private university."  Um, but you CAN raise the price of a student football ticket $20 in one year to pay for new seats in the stadium?

No, instead we got an email saying there would suddenly be no more BYU bus pass.  Instead, there would be four rental cars to meet students' transportation needs.  Because four rental cars would serve the 3,300 students who used the bus pass.  I admit that it was hard not to have at a tiny bit of  schadenfreude when nobody used the car-sharing cars, not because I had anything against Hertz, but because it was proving wrong the absurd idea that four cars could "replace" seven bus routes.

Things have not improved since then.  The 832, which used to be so full I avoided it whenever possible, is now down to once every two hours on Saturdays.  The 831 no longer visits BYU Campus proper at all.  The only real group of people who use the bus at BYU are a small group of commuters left over from the 817 who come down on FrontRunner in the mornings and fill up approximately one 830 in the morning and one in the afternoon.  It's pathetic.

As far as I can tell, UTA still stands with open arms toward BYU.

 

But BYU will not make friends with UTA until certain administrators who have reserved parking spots behind the ASB either retire or perish.  Either is fine.

Until then, cougs, the U is kicking your trash at transit.  Hard.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TIMEOUT (PART 2)

Yesterday I saw another individual who needed a timeout.

I was on the 228, and a man came running up, waving for the bus.  The bus driver didn't stop for him.

Apparently this was the one-hundred-fortieth bad thing to happen to this individual by 11:05 A.M. (it could have been; I won't judge), because he suddenly flipped.  He ran in front of the bus, grabbed the bike rack, apparently said a few choice words, banged on the window, ran off across the middle of the street (the light was green, but fortunately for this man there was no traffic), flipped off the driver, and stormed off down the sidewalk on the other side of the street.

(I'm not really sure where he was trying to catch the bus to.)

The bus driver remained absolutely unperturbed during the entire episode.  Which is kind of amazing to me, because I would not have.

Normally I'm a fan of the bus driver stopping for people who run up and wave, but I think in this case I would rather not have shared the bus with that particular individual.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TIMEOUT

Yesterday I got on the 220.  It's happened before.

As is good manners, I waited for people to get off before I got on.  A woman who was getting off asked the bus driver, "Is this up here State Street?" to which the bus driver said, "Yes."

The woman's tone of voice was calm enough, so I was unprepared for what happened next.  As she got off the bus, she wailed in utter despair:

IT TOOK AN HOUR!

IT WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO TAKE

[pause to think of a sufficiently dramatic number]

THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES!

(I'm not sure where she was coming from.  But an hour is kind of how the 220 rolls if you're catching it from the suburbs to downtown.  Just saying.)

After had gotten on the bus and sat down, one of the passengers remarked to everyone in particular, "She needs a timeout!"

I'm guessing that I didn't hear her first wail of the afternoon.

Monday, August 19, 2013

D-D-D-DRAPER

Let me start off by emphasizing that I'm not sorry I missed the Airport TRAX opening earlier this year.  I am not sorry, of course, because I was in the hospital waiting for Baby to make his dramatic appearance (why, oh why, did I ever have to put it that way?).  And while I looked at the pictures on Facebook from inside the dark hospital room late at night and said to myself, awww, those people look like they're having fun, I knew that the Airport line would still be there when we got out of the hospital, but Baby was only going to be born once . . .

Oh, did somebody say BAAAAAAAAAAAAAABY???
So anyway, it was the right place for me to be, and I wouldn't have been anywhere else for the world.  But it also meant that I HAD to be at the Draper opening, since it was the last one.  So I went.

I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get down there, nor exactly what the circumstances would be when I got there, so I left with what I thought would be plenty of time.  I was right: I got to Sandy Civic Center at 9:15 and had to stroll around for 45 minutes before I could actually get on a train to Draper.  Whatever.

At last the Draper train came and I got on it.  It was the first one, so not very many people were on it.  My back popped as I sat down, which event I had been waiting a couple of days for, so I said, "Mmmm, yeah."  It's probably a good thing I was the only one on the train car.

I walked around each of the stations.  I signed my name on the poster.  I had a commemorative Jones Soda, some shave ice, and my very first maple bacon donut (mmmm, yeah . . .).  I got a mini-poster of each of the new lines.  They'll look nice in a set of frames in my hallway someday.

Anyway, it was fun.  Y'all should go to the Sugarhouse opening this December, because it's probably going to be the last opening for a while . . .

Friday, August 16, 2013

THINGS TO DO ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK

So, the Transit Pirate totally beat me to it this week, but I have been meaning to make a post like this for a little while.  So, here goes.

 


I think I would go insane if I had to drive.  Just sayin'.