Thursday, October 23, 2014


The other day on my way to work the 220 that I was on got passed by the one behind it. I wasn't thrilled, but it happens sometimes. I decided to let it go and move on with my day, which was probably good, since my whole day was still in front of me.

Then, on the way home from work, the 209 didn't come and didn't come and didn't come and didn't come some more and then finally it came and I was a little exasperated, but I got on. But the bus only got further and further behind and--sure enough--when we got to 21st South the 209 behind us blew right past us.

My thought process during that particular 209 ride could only be adequately described by the following musical excerpt:

Schnittke Concerto Grosso No. 1

(Wikipedia describes the music of Schnittke as extroverted, which is sort of like saying that boxing is a sport where the combatants hit each other with feather dusters. The excerpt I'm thinking of is until about 4:30, unless the power of Schnittke compels you to listen further.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014


It started out innocently enough. Baby needed to go to the park, and we were out of milk.

Everything had gone smoothly and more than smoothly--Baby had tired himself out enough that he finally lay down in the grass and sucked on his fingers while looking at me with his huge blue eyes as if to say "Okay, daddy, I'm done here; can we go?"

(This is, of course, why we take our children to parks--to tire them out with minimal exertion on our own part. I never understood this as a child.)

I administered a puréed vegetable packet without event, and we continued on to the next phase of our Saturday adventure--buying milk. Baby behaved himself quite well in the store, and even graciously accepted the cashier's offer of a sticker.

(I've been trying to coach Baby on being more gracious to his fans--often he just stares at them, snubs them by looking away. He's getting better at politely accepting strangers' admiration.)

Then we got back to the bus stop, and I realized--Baby. Stroller. Two gallons of milk. I only have two hands.

One of my fellow bus-for-waiters at the stop realized my predicament at about the same time, and asked if she could carry something onto the bus for me. It was my turn to be gracious to a kind stranger; I was helped by the fact that I actually couldn't carry everything.

The 209 was a ski bus.

I guess I cut a rather pathetic figure standing in the aisle holding a toddler and two gallons of milk with a stroller at my feet, because two gentlemen got up and offered me their seats. Although I only took one seat, they both remained standing. One of them assured me, "It's okay. I have kids."

I managed to get off the bus holding the stroller, the milk, and Baby, but tapping off was out of the question. Sorry. After we got off the bus, I managed to set down the milk, the stroller, and Baby, but he took off running down the sidewalk before I could get the stroller unfolded. As I caught him, a man pleasantly yelled out his car window,


to which I gave a polite but lame comeback, since I am really bad at comebacks on the fly. I strapped Baby in, stuck the milk in the bottom of the stroller, and proceeded to push the whole mélange up the hill, which was good exercise. Then we got home and I got to coax Baby down the stairs while holding both milk gallons in my other hand, which made my hand want to reach up and strangle me, except that it couldn't because it was still holding the gallons of milk. It made sense at the time.

I may be the busninja, but sometimes even I go in over my head a little. When that happens, it's nice that everyone is nice about it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


UTA has had sick bags on their buses and trains for a while now, so I can't honestly say why this hasn't bugged me before, and does now . . .

. . . but it really bugged me the other day.

I was on FrontRunner, standing because I was only going from Murray to Salt Lake Central, when, suddenly, I noticed the sign

and my brain started shouting


and it will probably always do that from now on.

(Pero por si acaso, si alguna vez necesitan una traducción al idioma celestial, estoy disponible y presto para ayudar)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

850TH POST: THE 850

Any hand-drawn map of the 850 must of necessity be somewhat diagrammatic

since depicting every turn in the road would require a level of detail few artfully crude sketchers are willing to invest time and emotional energy in. The 850 has always been long and, even though it mostly follows straight lines, can take a significant amount of time to get anywhere.

The 850 has changed a bit over the years. It was shortened from East Bay back to downtown Provo, then lengthened back to the Provo FrontRunner station when FrontRunner opened in late 2012. The routing was changed near the Transit Center at the same time so that the bus wouldn't have to make the horrifying left turn from State Street onto University Parkway going south.

(that particular left turn by itself used to occupy about half my time commuting on the 850 in the mornings)

Once UTA decided that the F868 would be a real thing for always, the special trips to UTDC/the Mt. Timpanogos Temple were removed; UTA made multiple attempts at bringing bus service into the heart of Lehi on Main Street, 300 West, 100 East, and 200 North; all eventually were retracted and the bus now just runs down State Street with the 811 before taking a slightly different path into the Lehi FrontRunner station.

(Yeah, let's not talk about how it went to the American Fork station for a few months.)

The 850 always did pretty good business, even in the pre-train days, and held its own with the BYU routes during the pre-non-BYU days; but having a FrontRunner connection on both ends seems to have done wonders for the ridership. When I lived in Orem I used to catch the 850 in downtown Provo to get home, and it would be mostly empty at the southern end; but now it gets a whole group of people at Provo station in addition to the people getting on in town, which at times makes the bus quite crowded.

(Yes, the empty socialist bus that no one wants. That bus.)

The one thing I want from the 850 that it doesn't give me is a connection from North Orem to the Orem FrontRunner Station. Currently the only direct connection is the 842, which, well . . . the 850 and 862 both require a transfer to the 830, which is okay until the 15-minute service stops, and, well . . . then it's better to just catch the 850 all the way to Lehi. And more scenic.

But even at that I think the 850 is a very good bus, and I hope it sticks around to serve us for a good long time.