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

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Bus Transfers Work

I don't ride transit much. Technically I work from home. Then again, technically I'm also retired. None of that is by design. It just happened.

So this morning I decided to take the No. 82 bus that stops near my home to a Starbucks that has a nice working area. When you work from home any place with Wi-Fi can be your office.

The driver, a younger (I'm 62; it's all a matter of perspective) black women gave my senior pass a quick glance as I stepped into the bus and welcomed me aboard. Her uniform included shorts and knee-high black boots with rows of metal studs around the top and across the toes.

At that point in the driver's route I was only the second passenger. I settled in for my short ride, getting out my Nexus 7 tablet to read. I wasn't really paying much attention as the bus stopped and started, picking up and letting off riders.

When we stopped at Marconi several riders boarded. There was a delay after the last of the new riders took their seats. This isn't a timing stop, so the delay drew my attention. And then the driver asked, "Did anyone get on from the 25?" The woman across from me raised her hand and several riders behind me said, "Yes."

And I thought to myself, that's cool. Commuting on buses on routes that require a transfer can be incredibly frustrating. The 25 runs east-west on Marconi every half-hour. My bus crosses this stop on Watt every half-hour. A half-hour 25 to 82 trip could easily turn into an hour ordeal without that connection.

I don't know whether all drivers on the 82 wait for the 25 when they reach Watt, but I and everyone who got on from the 25 appreciated that the driver wanted to be sure no one was left behind.

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