Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Despite technically being the closest route to where I live, the 213 is mostly useless to me, since I don't attend the University of Utah nor often visit Union Park; even if I did, I literally couldn't return home after 6:00 p.m. on a weekday (5:00 p.m. on a Saturday), so I don't often find myself doing it. But occasionally, I do take the 213 for, shall we say, research purposes . . .

If I take the 213 to work, I have to transfer somewhere at the U; nowhere is completely convenient, but one of the more interesting ways to do it is to switch to the 2 at the U Hospital. I confess that the off-peak commute perversely fascinates me

(don't worry if you didn't understand that; it's not that important, and explaining it wouldn't help)

and I'm always interested to see how the 2 in the "wrong" direction is doing in the mornings, so I've done it a few times since moving to Sugar House. As I mentioned in the post that arguably set me on the path to marriage, I'm very conscious of when to pull the cord, but I've realized that when I make this particular trip I have to suppress my usually trustworthy cord-pulling instincts. You see, one day I got it wrong.

I pulled the cord too early. When I err in cord pulling, it's usually on the too-early side.

Unlike most times that I pull the cord too early, however, I betrayed weakness this time, allowing the word "shoot" to softly escape my lips as I remembered that we still had to pass the stop at Primary Children's Hospital before getting to University Hospital.

(The word really was "shoot." I don't say the other word all the time)

As he could only be expected to, the bus driver stopped at Primary Children's and magnanimously waited for someone to exit the bus. And as can usually be expected, no one actually needed the bus stop for Primary Children's.

(That's not anything against Primary Children's as a medical institution; it's just that the bus stop is in an awkward spot and it's actually easier to use the Medical Center TRAX Station or the U Hospital bus stop. Just throwing that out there.)

It being decent early and I being fatigued, I decided not to try to explain from the very back of the bus; the bus driver figured it out pretty quickly, and magnanimously continued on to the University Hospital stop.

I was willing to forget about it after that, except that at this juncture one of my fellow passengers turned to me and said, snippily:


at which point I became extremely annoyed at her cheek at pointing out a minor error that is committed by many and that, given the speeds at which buses have to enter the loop at the U Hospital, cost everyone on the bus at most three seconds. I briefly considered several harsher things to say, but finally decided on


which sounds quite meek until you remember that I have no poker face;

No, no, I said I have no poker face

Q: How do you wake up Lady Gaga from her nap?
I'm pretty sure that my annoyance was writ large, and that my attempt at an even tone of voice came off a touch menacing. In any case, she hasn't made eye contact with me since.

Granted, I don't take the 213 that often.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Dear stupid Provo driver:

By all means, do keep honking at the train gate. Perhaps if you keep honking, the gate will come up sooner. Because it clearly depends on how much you honk.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Today on my bus ride home, I was perusing CityLab, like I do, when I came across a couple of articles about the San Francisco area

(where I was, recently, on business; holy mother of cypress, what traffic. The freeway was stopped for, like, 50 miles outside of the city. Traffic was backed up for at least half a mile at a light in the middle of the vineyards. Why? Why? I would go nuts. Even if I had to ride a really crowded train, the train would be moving . . .)

and I remembered that we don't have it so bad, in Utah. Not so bad.

"Any idiot could run a transit system better than UTA," I hear around here from time to time, as the speaker smugly waits for me, or the rest of their audience, to express appreciation for their groundbreaking epiphany. Maybe. Except these idiots, apparently. Turns out, transit-for-profit is harder than it looks. I don't think it's impossible--I've toyed with the concept myself, when no one else is around to judge me; but I doubt even my cushiest imaginings would attract many techie-bros, and it certainly wouldn't cover as much territory as UTA does with subsidy. And anyway, why should we talk about transit fending for itself economically when roads, bridges, and freeways are all subsidized by tax money? Let them charge drivers a daily toll for their usage, and we'll just see how well transit does . . .

UTA likes to brag that the FrontLines program came in $300,000,000 under budget, to which many respond, "Oh, congratulaaaaaaaations! Way to inflate your budget and come in under!" The intelligence of six-year-olds is referenced for comparative purposes. The budget may well have been padded, and while there are a few things I wish UTA could have done with that money they didn't spend (double-track all of FrontRunner tops the list, but there are oodles more things I can think of), it could be a lot worse. A lot worse. "The public, of course, wasn't pleased," states the article, with more restraint than I've ever had in my entire life. The fact is, even with padded budgets, a lot of public works projects cost a lot more than originally planned, and take much longer than originally scheduled. You may not agree with much of what UTA has done over the last 10 years, but you should be very encouraged that the service that was added this past August was paid for within the existing budget, and no service was cut elsewhere to pay for it.

We have a long way to go before we have a transit system that meets all our needs. But we don't have it so bad, here in Utah.

(I'm still gonna bug y'all about that night service though)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The other day when the bus didn't come for a while (there's nothing inherently unusual about this) I was mulling over the deep things of life, like how the 220 is uphill of me and the 209 is downhill; how I have known this since I moved over a year ago, and yet seem to have a hard time using it to my advantage. Surely, I thought to myself, I could engineer my life so that I catch the 209 in the morning and the 220 in the afternoon, even though I often do the reverse.

And then I realized that your grandpa could be right--if he took transit. It is possible to walk uphill both ways.