Wednesday, February 4, 2015

862TH POST: THE 862

I bet you all thought I had forgotten about this.

A long time ago in the next county south from where I currently sit, there were many different bus routes that aimlessly snaked through Orem, providing excellent coverage but little utility. I couldn't even begin to describe them to you, since I've only seen a map of those routes once, and I didn't think to commit it to memory.


Then, around about 2000, when bus service in Utah County underwent its first rebirth, local service in Orem was congealed into a few routes you could almost count on one hand: the 811 and 830 on University Parkway, the 850 on State Street, the 831 on the southern end, and the 861 and 862, the fabled "Orem West Side" and "Orem East Side" shuttles. Their job was to cover all the parts of Orem that didn't have a lot going on (with the exception of the former Word Perfect campus) and connect to those buses that did have a lot going on.

I know that the 861 came every 45 minutes and the 862 every 30; that the 861 went from the Transit Center to the Home Depot on 12th West and 16th North and the 862 did the other half; and that sometime between 2000 and 2003 they were consolidated into one 862 that did the whole loop in both directions every half-hour. I know it was before 2003 because I saw the 862 once before my mission, pulling into the Transit Center with a sign that said "Counterclockwise." I thought at the time that counterclockwise was such a delightful direction for a bus to travel.

I was a bit disappointed, therefore, when I moved to Provo and found out that the bottom part of the loop had been taken off. I later understood that this reduced the number of buses needed to run the route from 4 to 3. For a while it came every 45 minutes on Saturdays, then every 60, then every 90, then every 120 . . . at the time of this writing it's back to 60, but in a few months I may look back and chuckle at my naïveté.

Back when BYU was a thing, the 862 was kind of the runt of the pack, and I've certainly made fun of it plenty of times on this blog (since I started writing, the record for "most people on the 862 at one time" is still seven, though I do remember times with more than that during the gas prices crisis of 2008). Now, however, it seems to be one of the better buses in Utah County . . . not because it's doing any better.

The main changes to the 862 in 2012 were straightening out both "legs." Shockingly, the 862 did not and still does not connect with FrontRunner and is currently one of only two routes in the whole county to do so. The couple of times I have ridden it since 2012, it seems to still be its usual unassuming self; always a few people, never very many.

Prediction? Oh, it's probably not going anywhere. If the ax ever did fall on Utah County again, there are about five other routes in line ahead of the 862. It will probably just keep on being its usual unassuming self for the foreseeable future.