Saturday, June 28, 2014

831TH POST: THE 831

The 831 was my bus for longer than any other bus had been my bus.  I took it here, I took it there; I took it everywhere it went, which, back then was 9th East, BYU, Provo College, and BYU.  It was a short, six-minute hop from the Provo Library to the Wilkinson Center (it could be a less-than-one minute hop to the Tanner Building if we hit all the lights right).  I have wandered my way through Grandview on my way back and forth to Orem uncountable times (sometimes four in one day, leading me to think I needed a new hobby).

Of course, when I first moved to Provo, the 831 wasn't my bus; it went down 7th East and I lived eastward of 9th East.  Then, when I moved near 7th East, the 831 switched to 9th East.  I wasn't super torn up about it, because I had the 830, but it took a long time for the 831 and I to become friends.

My first encounter with the Anal-Retentive Bus Driver--the one where he grabbed my shoulder and yanked me backwards to tell me I was holding my pass at the wrong angle--happened on the 831.  In case you're wondering why I don't get along with him, that's why.

And then, of course, came the epoch of my life in which I took the 831 every day.  For a long time I wondered about its viability as a bus route, until I came to the realization that I was literally catching it in the place where it was the emptiest--turns out it used to transport quite a quantity of BYU students up and down 9th East, and quite a few people from all over to UVU, just not very many people except me from the Library to BYU and back.  The first time I got on the 831 at Wal-Mart during rush hour and saw that it was standing room only I just about dropped my groceries--good thing I didn't, since I had to stand with them until we got past the student housing on 1430 South.

The 831 used to always be so empty through Grandview in the evenings--one night I got on to do some late-evening shopping at Wal-Mart and ended up chatting with the bus driver to keep her awake.  I was the only passenger on the bus the entire time.  She thanked me when I got off.  I'm glad I could do my part.

Then the BYU pass stopped being a thing, and the 831 was busy near UVU, but not so much near BYU anymore.  Then FrontRunner happened, and the 831 became way too popular for its own good at UVU, to the point where UTA is planning to split the route in two this coming August.  At the same time, the 831 stopped visiting BYU campus proper altogether, though it does now go through student bus paradise (Old Mill and Carriage Cove) instead of the 830, which results in the bus being weirdly full all the way through Grandview even though no one is getting on and off.  This appears to be true even toward the end of the night when the old 831 was all but dead.

The two things that have remained the same about the 831 even through all the changes are that it never seems to be able to go to the Transit Center and that it never seems to go very far in a straight line.  This will probably always be true as long as the 830 and 850 remain the workhorses of Utah County--the 831 has to be there to fill in the gaps, and frankly, the gaps don't go very far in a straight line, either.  But quietly, unassumingly, the 831 has always been there to take you down the road somewhat less traveled

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

830TH POST: THE 830

Here is where it starts getting interesting.

The 830 I knew and loved (most of the time) was after the East Bay days but before the FrontRunner days; back when the bus ran through BYU campus, but after it stopped going all the way out to 9th East before pulling into campus.  The 830 as I knew it stopped almost four blocks away from where I used to live; the current 830 stops less than a block from there today.  The 830 runs earlier and later than it used to, though it certainly doesn't carry as many people around BYU as it once did.

I remember once taking the 830 with a friend at about 1:15 in the afternoon, back in my pre-mission days when the bus passes were free.  I was expecting a fairly empty bus, in congruence with my experience on the 820 and 822, which were quiet at that time of day.  I was wrong.  Even at that traditionally off-peak hour, nearly all the seats were taken by happy BYU students.  I backed off my righteous indignation (that I had, even back then) that the 830 came so often and the 822 didn't, because I recognized that the 830 was the superior bus by far, at least at that time of day.  Other friends told me stories bout the 830 being so full that one more person literally could not squeeze on.

Then there was the time, in between semesters, when I got on the 830 one evening and was the only person between the Transit Center and 700 North, at which point I got off and there were no passengers on the bus.  Lest the driver question his purpose in life, I thanked him for driving that night even though I was the only one using the bus.

How's it doing these days? Fine, as far as I can tell. I haven't ridden it at too many crazy times lately, but the times I've ridden it since FrontRunner opened it certainly hasn't lacked for interesting people. The real question for the future of the 830 is whether BRT in Provo and Orem will


get off the ground--if so, the 830 will become the coolest route ever.  If not, it's okay; I'll still take it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Dear stupid Provo driver:

I would guess that, as far as you're concerned, buses are nothing but slow, blocky impediments to your high-powered, fast-paced life. If this is true, then of course you would always have to roar past the bus as fast as possible in order to get to whatever awesome thing you're going to do.  Especially when State Street is getting narrowed down to just one lane in front of you.  I can understand how it would be extremely detrimental to your well-being if a bus beat you to the merge.

But let me share with you something about buses: they stop.  And it's a good thing, too; otherwise my ilk could never get on or off of them. And at this particular location, they pretty much always stop, because 33rd and State is a reasonably good place for my ilk to get on or off the bus.

The end result of which is that you floored your gas pedal to roar around a bus that ended up just quietly pulling over to the side.  I hope your decreased gas mileage didn't throw off the general awesomeness of your morning.


Monday, June 9, 2014


I'm still not quite sure how he did it.

He got on the bus and stood by the back door, even though there were plenty of open seats (I admit I judged him a little bit for that)--then, because we were on a ski bus, he registered that the ski racks were rattling and walked toward them.

I thought at this juncture about pointing out the futility of investigating the rattling ski racks, or doing anything to try to fix them, because they were born to rattle, destined to rattle, and who were people like he and I to stop them from rattling?  Fortunately, I was feeling antisocial enough that day not to indulge this particular urge.

I say fortunately because he walked up to the rattling ski gate, opened it and . . .

. . . adjusted something? welded something? changed the gravitational constant of the universe?  I have no idea . . .

. . . but the rattling stopped.  He shut the gate and resumed his stoic posture in front of the back door.  And I sat in wondrous peace for the remainder of my ride.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Here's one way to do it.

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It did help, for the record.  Route 228, bus #11023.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


As seems to happen every so often, the kindly elves that construct our roads for no charge have decided to redo a portion of State Street again; which in this case meant that both directions of travel were restricted to a single lane, and this in the vicinity of the I-80 interchange, where there is never traffic congestion; no, never., even though this is really my intellectual property--isn't it? What did that license agreement say, again?

But, you are saying to yourself.  But, BUSNINJA, why do you care?  You weren't driving a car down State Street.

You are correct.  I was not driving.  And if everyone else hadn't been driving there would have been no traffic jam on State Street this morning.

Monday, June 2, 2014


The other day I rode the 3 eastbound twice without riding it westbound.

I felt very tricky.

I was also 11.1% of the passengers I saw on the 3 that day.  Which should tell you something about the 3 while I was riding it.