A woman and man are seated immediately behind the driver on either side of the bus. The three are chatting as I board and take my customary seat in the rear.
No one else is on bus.
During the school year, the No. 82 bus that departs American River College at 7:19 a.m. would be full of Mira Loma High School students when I board. They get off at Eastern and Edison and then the students from the Winterstein Adult Center and Sacramento State fill the bus. It can be a crowded, noisy bus -- exciting in a transitarian way.
The bus rumbles past stop after stop on this summer Friday morning. No one is waiting. When we turn onto Watt, we're following close behind a No. 84 bus. At each stop, it sweeps up the Watt riders, leaving nothing behind for us.
Not until we get to Watt and El Camino do we pick up another rider. I recognize him as a regular rider. He shops at Wal-Mart and then returns home. He's carrying a bag of items from Wal-Mart as he boards..
We must wait to catch up with our schedule. The driver and the two passengers in front continue their conversation.
Now is the time when people should try taking Regional Transit to work. In today's Bee, Stuart Leavenworth has a commentary in which he encourages the governor to do more to encourage people to do their part to fight global warming. "Hey, governor! State needs anti-warming pitchman," the headline declares. But it's a bit too far fetched to imagine The Evil Transitator taking up the cause of public transit.
Who speaks for riders of Regional Transit? I have asked the question before. The Sacramento region has an organization that speaks for disabled riders. The bicycle riders have more than one organization making sure their special needs are met. But I can find no group that represents the people who ride Sacramento Regional Transit buses and light rail.
By the time the No. 82 bus turns onto Fair Oaks on its way to Sacramento State, the bus has at least one rider in every seat. The crowd encourages the driver, who adds an extra syllable as he enthusiastically announces "Fair Oaks and Ca-dil-lac-a." He's a cheerful driver. Sometimes he whistles as he drives.