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

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Games of chance, dragons and bus passes

I heard the sound of tires locked in a skid before I saw the blue sedan fishtail and swerve into the curb. There was no mistaking the sound of the collision with something solid, something unyielding. The car bounced back into the traffic lane and came to a stop.

A young man, maybe in late teens or early 20s, hopped out of the car. Clearly agitated but apparently unhurt, he walked around the car inspecting the damage.

It's like playing a game of chance. Get in the car and spin the wheel. That game of chance is probably the No. 1 reason why I don't like driving.

I've been doing all together too much driving. The wife is still getting a feel for how much she can do during her chemotherapy treatment. This week she worked from home two days, but on three days I drove her to Rancho Cordova, drove home, drove back to pick her up and drove home again.

That pretty much explains why I really wanted to figure out a way to get to Exposition Boulevard and Tribute Road at 9 a.m. without driving. Unfortunately, as far as Sacramento Regional Transit service goes, the district map might as well say "Here Be Dragons." Buses just don't cross the Crosstown Freeway to service the office and commercial area that has been developing for the past two decades.

But Google Transit's addition of "walking" directions when traversing the realm of dragons has made "making do" with RT's limited service a little easier or perhaps more tolerable.

To get to Exposition and Tribute by 9 a.m., I took the No. 82 to American River College, where I transfered to the No. 1. The No. 1 dropped me off at the Watt/Interstate 80 light rail station. I road the train to the Royal Oaks Station. From there it was a 1 mile hike.

Google says the walk from Arden and Royal Oaks to Exposition and Tribute takes 16 minutes. It took 20 minutes for me, but I arrived exactly at 9 a.m.

While I was out, the wife had driven to the Roseville Road light rail station, parked the car and taken the train downtown. She got a ride home, which left the car for me to use.

The walk back to the train and train back to the car were uneventful. And then while driving home I was reminded why I really, really don't want to be driving.

I've been struggling with whether to buy a monthly pass or just pay cash. July was the last month I was able to get a discount pass from The Bee. Now, I'll have to pay the full $85, but I'm not riding regularly.

Today, I bought a $5 all-day pass. The full fare for my trip -- bus to bus to train and back by train -- would have been $6.25. For a monthly pass to be worthwhile, I'd need to take 17 trips like that.

Buy the pass and waste money? Don't buy the pass and worry about having the correct change?

I'm leaning toward getting the pass. I need to get out of the house (not counting driving the wife around) and having the pass will encourage me to do that.

Of course, if I could get a job . . .


The Derek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Derek said...

I wish I had google transit when I worked at the Costco there. for 2 years I assumed there was no way to take the bus there, since according to RT, no stops were within ".4 miles of my destination." Combined with a bike, I could have easily used the royal oaks stop to get to and from work. Heck, the train was still running when I got off work. So thanks to RT's lame website and Google being just a little too slow, I forked over a good heap of dough for gas, when I really didn't need to.

When I drove over there once for something else a couple months ago and saw the station right there, I literally stood there for a good minute, adding up tank after tank of gas. "My truck could have been paid off way sooner" was what went through my head...

Is it obvious im still a little steemed? haha

Anonymous said...

Don't know if anyone remembers this,but from 1997 to 2005 Expo Boulevard between Cap City and 160(and Royal Oaks)was served by the defunct route 12(eliminated due to underproductivity,surprise)once an hour on weekdays...