City Bus Lessons

I rode the bus today for the first time from our new house.  It’s funny how something as simple as riding the bus can feel like an adventure.  The bus stop is about half a block from our house and as usual I was running late so I stood there anxiously, convinced I had missed it.  Of course, as it turns out the bus was also running a little late so I got on with no trouble, handed over my crisp $1 bill, and rode the 15-minute trip into town.

The best part about riding the bus is the change in perspective.  I was able to stare out the window at the scenery without worrying about trying to drive or give directions.  Walking to the bus stop gave me a chance to check out my neighbor’s houses in detail and wave to the ones who were out working on their lawns or cars or gardens.  I was able to listen to cicadas and feel the light afternoon breeze.

Riding the bus also renewed my appreciation for all the good things in my life.  Most of my fellow bus passengers appeared to be dealing with many challenges, ranging from poor health to limited education to drug and alcohol addictions.  I felt a little out of place but also very humble.  My money worries suddenly seemed very insignificant; I don’t have to worry about where I’ll be sleeping tonight or how I will feed my family.

I’m looking forward to becoming a regular rider although I also hope to do more bicycling.  There’s something about getting out of my car that immediately makes me feel more connected with the world, more involved in the community, and more alive.  Thank you, city bus.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    cinco said,

    August 13, 2008 @ 10:35 am

    Huzzah, good for you! Where did you go? Did you have to transfer? Do B-ton busses have a bike rack on the front so that you can use both?

    I can’t say I’ve seen many obvious drug addicts on the bus lately, but as a frequent rider I have learned to mostly ignore my fellow riders. I was annoyed this morning by a man who kept staring at me, but that’s usually the worst behavior I see.

  2. 2

    Andy said,

    August 13, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    Amazing isn’t how we all wanted a car (we being Americans) and then we become “enlightened” when we realize that cars are a major part of the problem. I wanted a nice new car for a few years, and then it struck me that I would rather be a crazy cyclist instead. Once I sold my car, I felt much better and new I had made a good choice since I would need to bike, walk, take the bus, and carshare when I need to. Since selling the car, I’ve acquired some crazy leg muscles on my commute to work, I feel much happier from all the exercise, and I spend much less money. Now that I live 4 miles from work (and it is uphill both ways!) I take the bus occasionally, but usually just when I need to make trips during the day. I biked 95 miles on Sunday with a group of amazing cyclists, and although I only kept up with them for the first half, it was great just to be outside for most of a day of exercise. When I moved to my new apartment and when I bought a bed, I just rented the carshare truck and it cost about $20 each time. It would have cost $50 to have the bed delivered! Yay for transportation alternatives :)

  3. 3

    Maggie said,

    August 14, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

    My bike ride to work involves riding the bus for ten minutes, then walking about one block. No transfers. There are bike racks on the buses, which I’d like to try out soon. I’m probably exaggerating a bit on the drug-abuse front but a lot of folks on the bus really look worn out and haggard and like they have been living extremely hard. Makes me feel like I have no room for complaint, which is probably good.

    I just sold my car but Will kept his so I’m not really car-free (I’m shooting for “car-lite”). I haven’t quite psyched myself up for being a crazy cyclist yet but hopefully I can work up to that state. For now, I’m enjoying the bus and the short strolls on either side of my bus ride. I did learn the hard way that if I am taking the bus back from work and I want to stop at the grocery store, I have to pay another $1 to get back on even though I’m headed in the same direction. So in the future I plan to walk from downtown to the grocery store (it’s only about a mile) and then catch the bus home (which is probably only a mile and a half but lugging groceries is not as much fun).

    Andy, what is your carshare like? I need to find some good resources on how to start a carshare since I think it would be popular in Bloomington but there isn’t one yet.

  4. 4

    Student Doctor Green said,

    August 14, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

    Part of me is freaked out by riding the bus and part of me LOVES it and got addicted to it when my car was in the shop for a week or so. It’s the time thing that makes it not work for me. I have to be able to get between hospitals quickly.

  5. 5

    Maggie said,

    August 15, 2008 @ 9:03 am

    Indianapolis recently (a few years ago?) put in a monorail system downtown to help move doctors (and maybe some patients?) quickly between the various hospitals. They determined that doctors were spending ridiculous amounts of time moving their cars and finding parking spaces. So you tell those folks in Texas they ought to look into it! :)

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