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, November 29, 2008

Back to the blog

OK. If I'm going to have a blog, I'm going to have to blog. Of course that's easier said than done, but still . . .

Part of the problem has been that I don't ride the bus as much as I did when I worked in midtown Sacramento. Now that I commute four days a week to Oakland, I take the same morning bus four days a week. On days I work and the kid gets off work at 8 p.m. at Safeway on Alhambra, I take the No. 30 bus out to Safeway and ride home with him. On days when the kid works a different shift or has the day off, the wife picks me up at the Amtrak station.

After 7 p.m., Sacramento Regional Transit is just not useful. I sympathize with the writer of the Nov. 25 letter "Light rail leaves Amtrak riders behind" and the writer of the Nov. 27 letter "Another poor light-rail link to Amtrak," but they miss the point. It's not that the light rail operator won't delay the scheduled departure to allow arriving Amtrak passengers to catch the train. It's that RT cuts costs by shortchanging non-commute riders. If light rail and the No. 30 bus continued at 15 minute intervals into the night, then the vagaries of Amtrak's arrival wouldn't matter.

In a pinch, RT could get me home after 7 p.m. or at least within a walkable distance. But that requires a level of transitarian dedication -- a faith-based commitment -- that I find just too hard to maintain after 7:30 p.m. on days that start with a 6:30 a.m. bus ride. If I can cheat and get home in a half-hour rather than an hour and a half, well I do it.

I suppose my guilt at not trying harder to make RT work for me is the biggest reason I've not been blogging.


Mattie said...

Don't feel guilty. RT doesn't work hard enough to make itself convenient, efficient and user-friendly. If it ran all over Sacramento 24/7 and you didn't use it, THEN you could feel guilty.

John said...

Thanks, Mattie. Making do with RT is just so frustrating. Add to that my long work days and chauffeuring the wife during her cancer treatment and I just don't have much enthusiasm for leaving the car at home. Maybe next March, when the wife's cancer treatment is over and she is back to working full time, I'll feel more like making that extra effort.

cindyn said...

I'm losing my enthusiasm for leaving the car at home too, and I'm not this week for several reasons, including a couple of trips to the airport. From driveway to desk, it took about 15 minutes to get to work downtown this morning. Contrast that to a 20-minute walk and at-least 20-minute bus ride in the a.m. Add more time for the p.m. commute due to late buses, etc. I do feel guilty too, so next week I'll be taking the bus again.

Mattie said...

I can tell you this with certainty: it's a lot easier to ride the bus and light rail during the summer. Cold, fog, rain and darkness all add up to a miserable experience. Don't worry about it if you feel like taking the car this time of year. You'll get your transitarian enthusiasm back when the weather is warmer and the days are longer.

John said...

Let's face it: For all but a very few very lucky midtown and east sac residents, riding RT is a struggle. Add dark and gloomy nights or chilled and black mornings and it becomes unbearable.

Add a fare hike in January and I wouldn't be surprise to see RT ridership take a big dive.