Tuesday, August 26, 2014

45TH SOUTH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOU (PART 3)

Today while I was at work commutergirl called me to ask me to pick up sundry groceries for our dinner this evening and I, being the gallant husband that I am, eagerly agreed.

All went well until I made my way back to the bus stop to go home. It wasn't raining when I left the grocery store, but by the time I had walked across the parking lot to the bus stop on 45th drops had begun to fall. Within a few minutes the 45 had shown up, but was stopped at the light at 9th East.

As I blandly contemplated the 45 waiting at the light, the rain began to intensify. And in the less-than-two-minutes that it took for the light to change the rain had gotten so thick as to completely both soak and exasperate me, to the point where I was silently begging the bus to run the light and just pick me up (silently, because it wouldn't have helped, as the bus driver couldn't hear me, and also anybody who could have heard me wouldn't have understood).

And I thought to myself, get your shots in while you can, 45th, because I'm moving next week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CAN'T CATCH A BREAK

Yesterday I caught the 45 for the first time again.  When I got down to 45th, I was confronted by a whole row of sprinklers watering the sidewalk in front of the bus stop, which made my soul want to leave my body from sheer annoyance, but I stood it, barely.  The bus showed up and I got on.

Today I caught the 45 for the second time again.  When I got to 45th, the sprinklers were not on.  But it was raining.  The bus showed up and I got on.  The driver said, "Boy, yesterday it was the sprinklers, now it's coming from the sky!"

"I just can't catch a break!" I said.

We chuckled, and I went and sat down.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

842TH POST: THE 842

The 842 is a quiet route


that wends its way through no particularly interesting parts of Orem and ends at Riverwoods.  Unlike the 862, which apparently has picked up some business since FrontRunner South happened, the 842 seems to always just pick up a few.  However, the routing has not changed and the schedule has stayed almost the same since it started, which suggests that it's at least better than the 833 and 836.

I say almost stayed the same--the infamous February 2013 change day meant that there would no longer be a good connection between FrontRunner and the 842 without the bus coming more often.  Unfortunately, the 842 comes every sixty minutes.

On the pair of occasions when I have caught the 842, I have gathered that this pattern is probably true: FrontRunner pulls in and, at the right time of day, people pile onto the 830 and 831 (soon to be 841).  The buses leave.

Then nothing happens for about 10 minutes.

Finally, quietly, inconspicuously, the 842 pulls in.  Up to 5 people get off.  Up to 5 people get on.  The bus immediately slips back out of the station and no one is the wiser.

The main reason anyone rides the 842, as far as I can tell, is that the 862 does not connect with FrontRunner directly, so people wishing to go from FrontRunner to north Orem find the 842 useful.  The 850 connects with FrontRunner on both ends and also serves north Orem, but it takes a long time from either end of the line.  There are people who are willing to put up with a long transfer time at Orem station and just happen to need the bus at a time when the 842 is running, so they take the 842.  But at any other time you have to transfer from the 830 to the 862 or catch the 850 anyway, so I can see why the 842 hasn't really caught on yet.

The future?  Certainly brighter than for the 833 and 836, though if anything happens to those routes it will be the 842 that sits at the bottom of the pile.  I can't say that service will increase on the 842 any time soon; likely it will linger, pale and ghostlike, until some other change in the Orem transit market necessitates a change to all the routes around it--in which case it will probably be changed or cut.

But I don't, actually, know everything.

FIRE 'EM ALL

Back last year when it was especially cool to hate on UTA, I was standing waiting for the 39 at Meadowbrook, I couldn't help but hearing one of my dear fellow passengers regaling those who were polite enough to listen about how bus and train drivers never wait for each other and leave their customers out in the cold waiting for the next one.

(Sir, you are waiting for a bus that is tied for "comes most often" in the entire UTA system.  Please try to die less easily)

I decided that I already had enough stress in my life and didn't need to hear this now.  When he yelled, "They should all be fired!" I got up and walked all the way back to the 41 stop

thiiiiiiiiis far
to enjoy the rest of my wait in relative peace and quiet.

Then the 39 came.  After we all got on, when the driver was preparing to pull out of the station, a TRAX train pulled in.  Instead of pulling out of the station, the driver

LOOPED ALL THE WAY BACK AROUND

like thiiiiiiiiiis
to pick up everybody that had just gotten off the train.

I hope that man wrote it in his journal that night.

INNER MONOLOGUE

The other day I was chilling on the 200

(that's what I've chosen to call the time we spend waiting at 21st South each morning)

when an individual sitting in the seat behind me was so insulted by what was going on that she got up from her seat and asked me:

"Does the driver know the speed limit on this road is 35?"

(Please excuse me for a moment while I tap into the collective hive mind of all UTA bus drivers.)

"I'm sure she does."

"Then why are we going TEN MILES AN HOUR?"

(First of all, we're probably going quite a bit faster than ten miles per hour when we're going--ten miles per hour feels excruciatingly slow on a bus, and I have watched the speedometer on a '13 bus a couple of times, which is a big number on a display instead of a dial; the bus is going 10 miles an hour before everyone on the bus is even aware that it's moving.  I can understand your desire to exaggerate the situation to lend credence to your point, but your perceptions as stated are, unfortunately, inaccurate.  Second, have you not noticed that we are ON A BUS?  The bus had to stop to pick you up; it had to stop to pick me up; it has to stop to pick up all these other nice people.  Move to 27th West if you want to ride a bus that doesn't stop except for you.)

"I don't know."

I said the last part with enough bile, I think, to convince her that it would be a good idea not to ask me any further asinine questions.  Which is much better than what would have happened had I actually unleashed my internal monologue on her.

THE NEW, I MEAN OLD, IMPROVED, I MEAN RESTORED, 45

Come Monday I will be trying out yet another way to get to work--this one involving the

NEW IMPROVED 45

by which I mean the

NEW OLD IMPROVED RESTORED 45

In August 2011, when the Red and Green Lines opened (and blessed be that day, for the record), the 45 was changed from running every 15 minutes all day long to every 30 minutes during rush hour and every 60 minutes during midday, and from running until midnight to quitting at 8:30 p.m.  The 228 was extended into the Murray North TRAX Station to double the 45's routing, but even the combination of the 45 and 228 did not come as often or run as late as the original 45.  commutergirl and I moved to Salt Lake City on August 6, 2011, a date that will be forever engraved on my memory since it was the day before the Red and Green Lines opened.  I interpreted the changes on 45th South to be merely the latest in a long string of service reductions in places I've just moved to or service improvements in places I've just moved out of.

Did I mention that we're moving next month?  Far away from the 45.

Friday, August 15, 2014

838TH POST: THE 838


The 838 is a very short route.  Much like this post.

NEVER BEEN SO PROUD

So, lately, Baby, who is still around

Yes, that baby!
 

has taken up the habit of saying a few words here and there, like "Yes!" and "Okay," and, at least once, "Whyyyyyyy?"

But a couple of weeks ago, he did me proud. I was picking him up from my parents at Provo Station and they remarked that he had been pointing at all the buses going by and saying, "Bus. Bus."

And it was true.  On the train back to Salt Lake he kept saying "Bus.  On da bus."  And I would say, "Yes, we're on a TRAIN!" and he would say "On da bus."  During the last couple of weeks cars, trains, even elevators have been "Da bus."

I've never been so proud.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

836TH POST: THE 836


There are as many pictures in this post as I have ever seen people on the 836 at one time.  Not that I've spent hours and hours watching, mind you, but I've been to Provo Station a fair number of times since the 836 came into existence in late 2012, and, as excited as I am to be able to say "Provo Station" in a sentence, having waited years to do so, I've still never seen an 836 that made me happy.

As far as I have been able to gather from my observations, conversations, and general perspicacity, the 836 was created to fill in a gap that was created by the realignment of routes 832 and 833 in conjunction with the opening of Provo Station; later it was expanded to fill a gap created when the 831 changed last August.  None of these portions-of-routes that the 836 has acquired were ever noted for being particularly happening back in the day.  I used to ride the 831 in the evenings down from Orem on a fairly regular basis, and I would keep track (of course I would) of how many people got on and off between University Parkway and University Avenue.  It was never, not once ever, more than three, even when BYU was a thing (not that BYU people would be traveling from Grandview to campus at 8:30 p.m., but you get the point), and I used to wish that the 831 could be split up so that we could have more direct service to the busy parts of the route and stop running the unbusy parts so late into the evening.  This is sort of what happened last year with the 831 and 836, though not exactly how I would have envisioned it--and the 836 has performed accordingly.

I was at Provo Station on a Saturday once, and, having recently got off a FrontRunner train, was angered by the paucity of connecting buses.  It would be another hour before there was an 821 or 832; the 850 would not bless us with its presence for another twenty minutes.  But there was an 836 faithfully waiting to carry nobody away from the station--and it would be back in a half hour!  I am comforted that, starting next week, the 832 (revised) and 821 will start running every hour on Saturdays again, and that the 836 and 833 have apparently been combined to run with one bus (up until now it has taken two buses to run both routes; if you look at the new schedules for the 833 and 836, they interlock almost perfectly).  But I don't see a bright future for the 836, to put it mildly.  Utah County's bright future of transit probably actually involves getting rid of it altogether, to be very honest.

Sorry to be a downer.  In my quest to be a happy shiny transit blogging spreader of joy, I do from time to time experience negative emotions about things.  In partial restitution for the negativity I have let slip tonight, let me share with you the most happy frenetic snarky indie rock violin pop acoustic synthetic Japanese American song you will ever hear in your life.  When it's over, you won't know what just happened, but you will probably be smiling.  Good night.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A JULY MEDITATION

July is recently behind us--July, the month we love in Utah because it has TWO days off.  One to celebrate the sacrifice of our pioneer forebears (well, they're my forebears, at least); another to recognize the bold experiment in equitable government that cost many lives to implement but has produced many happy generations of citizens since.  Both involve parades, community events, the consumption of somewhat excessive amounts of moderately unhealthy food (I'm hedging here), and, hopefully, a little remembering.

Only one of them involves transit.

This past Pioneer Day we decided we were going to the parade.  The Spanish Fork parade, that is--showing up to a parade a half-hour before and watching from my cousin's front lawn sounded more fun than showing up hours before and jostling for position with other people we didn't know but probably wouldn't even like that much if we did, all while convincing Baby that we really were having a good time, despite his resonant protestations to the contrary.  Trust me, the Spanish Fork parade was quite enough for him!

commutergirl assumed that we would be driving down to Utah County, since we generally do that when we are visiting my family on a holiday with no transit service, until I mentioned that FrontRunner would be running Saturday service, at which point she looked at me like I were slightly crazy (I'm hedging here).

FrontRunner is running on Pioneer Day?

She was surprised by this, as you may have gathered, because, for the past two years, there has been no transit service whatsoever on the Fourth of July along the Wasatch Front.  None.  Which brings me to my next point.

Can we please have some service next Fourth of July?

PLEASE?

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE???????????????

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE???????????????////?????

Please understand.  I am UTA's biggest fan.  I have stood by UTA through thick and thin, through asinine  Tribune articles and late trains, through unfortunate pedestrian incidents and buses only coming every 90 minutes on Saturdays.  I have blogged through it all and I have remained astonishingly positive and supportive.

I don't like Provo, either.  But it still exists.  It stung a little bit that the first Fourth of July that FrontRunner was running down south was also the first Fourth of July that no service was running.  I mean, have you seen the traffic in Provo on the Fourth of July?

Of course, it's not just Provo, either.  Two years ago commutergirl and I went to the Sugarhouse Arts Festival on the bus.  We did not go see the fireworks at Sugarhouse park, but they happened.  Lots of other people went to see them.  The point is, a lot of stuff is going on, and a lot of people would take transit to them if they knew they had the option.

It is not as a idle request aimed at a vaguely hated government agency, nor as a specious attempt to aggrandize myself by attempting to find weaknesses in others that I offer up this plea.  It is simply the earnest desire sprung from the deep heart of a loving little boy

(I never used that particular phrase before because up until last year I had forgotten exactly what an earnest desire sprung from the deep heart of a loving little boy felt like)

that I offer to UTA and to the community at large.  Let's have some transit next July 4th.  It would make me so very happy--it would honestly make my year.  And it would make a lot of other people happy as well.

(Not hedging)