Sunday, May 04, 2008

BUS STORY # 82 (Milestone)

May is a marker of sorts. I began riding the bus two years ago this month. I wrote my first bus story three months later. You can read the story of how it all began here.

As my earliest stories reflect, I was a naïf in a foreign land. Now it’s just another part of my workweek.

I haven’t kept records, but I figure I take the bus to and from work about 60 percent of the time. The other 40 percent I carpool with my wife, or I drive because work or personal business requires a transportation schedule the bus cannot meet.

Early on, I experienced regret on those days I took the car. Or, rather, on those days I couldn’t take the bus. That’s the way it feels.

I like letting the bus driver assume the stress of driving. There are other reasons I like taking the bus, too: the reading I get in, the virtuous feeling I get for “doing the right thing,” the money I save on gas (up from $2.40 to $2.88 per day and rising). And, of course, the people I meet, the stories they tell, and all the other bus stories I watch play out.

Time remains the biggest expense. It still takes twice the time to get back and forth by bus. The good news is that, for whatever reasons, the bus schedules have been remarkably dependable since 2008 began. Please, everyone, join me in knocking on wood!

There’s been a proposal at work to allow us to work from home on those days we have no meetings scheduled. Working from home would save me two or three hours of commuting time a day. It would also decrease the opportunities for collecting bus stories.

The greatest selling point for this proposal is the purported fact that letting folks work at home saves the employer money. I have no idea how that works. No word on how well employers are buying how it also saves the environment from those commuting carbon emissions.

On weekends, bus service is restricted, and so I take the car (with rare exceptions: see bus stories 40 and 46). This choice is driven entirely by time. On Saturday mornings, I have a round of chores which takes me about two hours. By my calculations with a number of bus schedules in front of me, it would take six hours to get those same chores done using the bus – provided both the bus and I could stay on schedule.

Friday and Saturday evenings, the buses quit running too early to make going out by bus possible. The Rapid Ride summer schedule is the exception – but I am limited to the Rapid Ride route, and I have to drive to the Park and Ride.

It’s noteworthy that my wish list doesn’t contain a pollution-free car or working at home, but rather buses that run earlier, later, and more often than they do now. Now that I think about it, that’s another marker of sorts.

And now, a word from ABQ RIDE


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