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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ride and learn (continued)

RT Rider: Learn the meaning of Transitarian. Or just travel with a rookie commuter as he explores the ins and outs of relying on Sacramento Regional Transit to get around.
That's my motto. It could also be: I walk so you can ride.

At least that's what I kept telling myself as I walked home tonight.

Back in June, when I explored how to get from 21st and Q streets in midtown and arrive before 7 p.m. at Watt and Whitney avenues in Arden Arcade, I was told to take the train toward Sunrise/Folsom and get off at Watt. I could then take the No. 80 bus. I even used that route a couple of times and it worked fine.

But when I checked the other day it now gave me a different route: The No. 62 bus downtown to 10 and L streets, a short walk to light rail at Cathedral Square and then out to the end of the line at Watt, where I catch the No. 84 bus for the short hop to Whitney. The new route takes 15 minutes less time overall. I took the route to my appointment. It worked fine.

If I had just left well enough alone everything would have been fine. But, silly me, I noticed that, according to the schedule, I could use the same route and cut at least 10 minutes off my trip home. The key was transferring from the No. 84 to the No. 82 at Watt and Whitney. The No. 84 is scheduled to arrive at 6:31 p.m. and the No. 82 is scheduled to arrive at 6:35 p.m.

So, today I was late getting out of the office and missed my regular train home. As I was considering what to do while I waited for the next train connecting with the No. 82 bus, it occurred to me I could take the new route and catch up with the same bus I would have been on, thus leaving later but arriving home at the same time.

I know better. I have blogged before about what happens when relying on a train-bus connection that has only a three-minute cushion. A bus-bus connection with just four minutes leeway will be just as unreliable. But why am I here if not to prove the point.

The No. 62 bus to the train and the train to the No. 84 bus worked like a charm. But the No. 84 arrived three minutes late at Watt and Whitney and the No. 82 arrived one minute early, erasing the four-minute cushion. I was getting off the No. 84 on one side of Watt as the No. 82 was turning off Watt onto Whitney on the other side of the street.

So I hoofed it home -- 1.5829 miles according to Now, it wasn't a total waste of time. Besides the Transitarian Diet benefits of the evening stroll, I still managed to arrive home 10 minutes sooner than I would have arrived if I had waited at work for the next train-bus combination.

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