There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Friday, February 2, 2007

A Regional Transit diary: Day 1

I've decided to start a second blog in order to write about my latest self-improvement project.

I've decided to leave my car at home and use RT to get around. I have a bus stop less than 50 yards from my front porch and my employer offers half-price monthly passes. The gas saved by parking one of the family cars should more than cover the monthly pass. And I'll have all that commute time to spend catching up on my reading.

Why do this?

My New Year's resolution was to walk every day, and I've been doing it every week day and most weekend days. Since there are four Starbucks within a half-hour walk from my office, I've got the entire midtown grid to wander about.

With my walking resolution success it occurred to me that I didn't need to drive. My son is now in high school, and I no longer have to drop everything and ferry him around. I also have been wanting to do more reading, but finding I'm unable to set the time aside. Since my workday runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., I don't have to compete with the morning crush of commuters.

Here's what Day 1 looked like:

8:30 a.m. leave the house.
8:40 a.m. bus arrives (scheduled 8:39 a.m.)
9:22 a.m. arrived at light rail station.
9:35 a.m. boarded train.
9:43 a.m. arrived at 23rd Street station.
9:50 a.m. reach my office desk.

That's an hour and 20 minutes. I can drive to work in less than a half-hour if there isn't any traffic. So using transit has to be about something other than time.

The trip home started at 6:15 p.m. when I left my desk and ended at my doorstep at 7:39 p.m. If I had left work 15 minutes later, I would have had a shorter wait for the bus, but I'm the sort of person who frets if he can't wait around. I love the new requirement that you get to the airport two hours before your flight.

I"m looking forward to the challenge of focusing on the benefits of riding transit and letting go of the concept that time is money and every second that isn't productive is somehow wasted.

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