Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

# 4 - northbound
Status: either 7 minutes late or 3 minutes early

Same situation as the day before, with the bus arriving before 4:26 and a group of people at the stop. Another crowded bus. Between the St. Catherine and Kentucky stops, a very large man pulled the cord and stood up while the bus was moving. He was near the front of the bus, but there were also people standing. He bumped into a few people, apologized profusely, and kept shuffling up towards the front door, while I was wondering why he didn't just wait. Almost there...Excuse me...I'm sorry... He thanked the bus driver and as he stepped off the bus said, Pray for me, you hear.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Morning
# 4 southbound, 7:31
Status: on time?

The driver was telling a passenger standing near him about the time he was shot. Pulled a gun on me...drove myself to the emergency room... Apparently, he still has a bullet in his leg and hopes to start jogging/running again next year.

Afternoon
#4 northbound
Status: either 7 minutes late or 3 minutes early

I planned to take the 4:26, but when I approached the stop at 4:23, a bus was pulling up. Because it was so crowded, I'm going to go with the assumption that it was the earlier bus running late.

The Proselytizer was on the bus. It took me awhile to figure out that the guy who often boarded in Old Louisville was the same guy I saw downtown yelling about Hell and Damnation. He's kind of meek looking, balding with glasses. On the bus, he was speaking shaky Spanish to a couple across the aisle from him. I caught words like Dios...Jesus...Cielo... The man and woman responded to him as native Spanish speakers, and the man would scribble something on a paper, but the Proselytizer didn't seem to be up for an actual conversation and didn't really know much Spanish beyond what he was saying. No comprendo.It made me really wish I knew more Spanish so that I could have turned around and told him what the man was saying.

I then heard him say to another man in English: Excuse me, sir, can I ask you a question? Which ended up being about whether the man knew Jesus was our savior, was he a Christian, etc. Meanwhile, the Proselytizer was sitting in an aisle seat with his feet out and with no one in the window seat on a crowded bus. I'm pretty sure Jesus wants you to share your seat. After the first guy, he asked a second man, and by this point, he actually let someone sit next to him.

I was sitting in front of him and kind of wanted him to ask me so I could tell him that I had not accepted Jesus into my heart, but perhaps, he only talks to men.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 4 minutes late

The rain had stopped, but it was chilly. I was crossing 2nd or 3rd Street when I saw a bus pull away from the stop. My phone said it was 4:24. I wasn't sure if the bus was 2 minutes early (and not waiting) or 11 minutes late. I decided I'd wait at the stop for 5 minutes after the scheduled arrival time and then start walking if a bus wasn't in sight. With one minute to go, the bus arrived.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 1 minute late

It was cold and raining in the morning, but since I had my good umbrella, I stood next to the covered benches. I had just seen the bus approaching from 5th Street when a woman came out from under the cover and said, The bus should be here soon, shouldn't it? I told her I could see it coming. She had a winter coat on but the hood was down. She carried a large faded book and a broom with a wooden handle and the straw bristles.

That's a nice umbrella you got there, she said. I said thank you.  

I can't hold one of them since I broke my elbow. I murmured in sympathy.

Then she said something about not walking again and falling off a bike and not doing something else. She was walking, so I'm not sure if she was the one she was talking about or not. Then she told me to have a nice day, and I said to do the same.

Everyone boarded the bus, including the broom woman, who got on last. As the bus pulled away from the stop, she said Beautiful day we're having and laughed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: On time?

Two female college students boarded around Breckinridge. A sampling of their conversation:
Girl 1: We're taking it slow...We went out again last night.

Girl 2: I really like him, and he likes me, but he has this crazy girlfriend...
Girl 1: If he has any friends, tell them to call me.

Girl 1: I work with that boy in the red backpack (crossing the street). He's a lifeguard.
Girl 2: He can save my life any day.
Girl 1: Look at the guy next to him! He's wearing shorts and flip-flops when it's freaking 35 degrees outside.
Girl 2: You should see how we dress in Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 10 minutes late

I reached the stop at 4:32; the bus was supposed to arrive at 4:30. Around 4:47, I started walking. I made it to the next stop and the bus arrived at 4:49. I considered waiting for the next bus (the on time one?), but the bus in front of you is better than the bus you don't see.

It was a game of musical chairs. There was a woman with a non-folded grocery cart blocking a seat. A man boarded with two sleeping bags and a bag tied to a smaller cart. A couple families with small children. The woman who runs the cafe in the library. At 4th & Oak, traffic was backed up going east. I wondered if the cars would be out of the intersection when our light turned green. They were, barely, but then a blue pick-up truck with a refrigerator and something else in the bed turned right (right into the intersection) from the left lane, blocking the bus and everyone else trying to go north. You did not just do that, the driver said. Traffic cleared quickly, but I really wanted her to honk the horn.

First day back on the bus this week after two days of biking to work. I had an appointment in the morning and it was raining. By afternoon, I really wished I had my bike, even though it was cold and windy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today's bus story is I rode my bicycle to work. The benefit of setting the clocks back is there's a little more light when I leave. I won't be doing this every day, but it's nice to have options.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

#4 - Industrial Center
Status: 2 minutes late

I overslept this morning, so when I left the house, my goal was to catch a 7:50-something bus. The bus (7:55) reached the stop when I was still at least half-a-block away from the intersection. Then I had a red light, and the bus pulled away while I was still standing at the opposite corner. I blame the NPR story on the World Series game -- the Cardinals' bullpen misunderstood the call to warm up a replacement pitcher, even though the pitchers' names don't sound anything alike. Well, I was sucked in enough that I stood by the door listening before heading out. And the could have cost me the walk sign.

I started walking down 4th Street and texted R. You might make it to work before me. He was still in bed when I left. He persisted in telling me through text and later by phone that I should have just turned around and gotten my bike. Except the bus would have arrived before I even got home, and I would have had to put all my stuff in a different bag, and I would have been even later to work. It was lighter outside, but I also need to get lights and reflectors for the bike -- no one's going to say they can't see me.

I stopped at Kentucky--the time was 8:08 and the bus was just turning onto 4th Street. It arrived a couple minutes later. Quiet ride, but the bus smelled a little sour.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 2-3 minutes late

I was the first person at the bus stop, but it looked like someone had just been there:
Insert your own story using these objects here.
A men's dress shirt, tie, pamphlet, Nueveo Testamento (interestingly enough, I have that same book) on the bench, an apple on the ground, and another shirt and a plastic bag behind the bench.

It was 7:34 when the bus pulled away, so a few minutes late, but there were about 9 people boarding, including a man with a bicycle. A student sat next to me at Oak Street and talked to his classmate across the aisle about anatomy and other science classes. I always forget what time the bus comes, so at 7:30 I yell "Oh shit" and run out the door...It's probably better that I think it comes at 7:30 instead of 7:36 because then I'd realize it at 7:37 and the bus would drive past me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

# 4 - Central Ave
Status:
on time

The bus arrived right on time and even waited a minute or two for some passengers coming from another bus. How come that never happens for me?

A man was at 3th & Kentucky, although at first I didn't see who was at the stop. I just knew someone was talking to the driver. He said where he needed to go. The driver said she wasn't going that far. The man said he'd go as far as she was going. The driver lowered the ramp and went to the seats to lift the row and pull out the seatbelt.

A man in a wheelchair (not an electric one) hauled himself onto the bus. He wore a winter cap and was missing a leg. And he wanted to talk. As the driver fastened the belt, went back to the front, and started driving, the man tried to tell her his story. My father passed last year...He was an assistant dean at Louisville and Michigan. State. University! Would send money to the son ($20 a day?!), but the man hadn't received anything since his father died. I lost my leg around the same time my father passed...It has to heal for a year before I can get a new one. Going to pull myself up.

In the afternoon I walked home and I saw the same man at 4th & York trying to push himself along with one leg. One of the small wheels in the front of the wheelchair was bent. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

# 18 westbound
Status: on time

Last time the bus was late so I built in more time today and the bus was just about on time. A few stops past mine, a woman stood at the corner holding a transfer ticket, but the actual bus stop sign was about half a length in front of her. The driver stopped at the sign, and when the woman boarded, he pointed out where the stop was.

Further on, a family of 6 boarded. The father carried a stroller, and the mother carried an infant boy. The other 3 members were boys about a year apart from each other, so maybe 5, 4, 3, 2, infant. All boys with closely cropped red hair. The mom sat them in the two front seats next to each other with the oldest holding the youngest and the mom standing in front of them. The young woman in the first set of front-facing seats offered the aisle seat, but the mom said she was fine. The dad stood across the aisle holding the stroller. In the row of three seats, one man sat with his legs spread out over the other 2 seats.

At least once, the oldest boy yelled, Momma, I can't hold him..he's gonna hit his head! And the mom replied, Yes, you can. You've held him before, but she stuck her arm out to put her hand between the infant's head and the side of the bus. The family got off at Broadway. Right before the bus stopped, the mom cried Why did you take your shoe off? The dad grabbed the stroller and got off, followed by the mom carrying the infant, and the other 3 boys, one of them carrying a sneaker in his hand.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

# 23 - eastbound
Status: approximately 4 minutes late

I was meeting M. at the coffee shop at 9 for the first time in a few weeks. I hadn't checked the TARC schedule but headed out around 8.30. It turns out I was right between 2 buses. It was sunny, with just a slight chill, so I started to walk east on Broadway. I hate just hanging around the bus stop waiting.

Two men stood at the corner of Broadway and Brook. One was smoking a cigarette and one was standing in the street in an orange vest taking money from a driver stopped at the light (I had stopped at the flashing orange because I didn't think I could cross in time). I thought he was selling the weekend newspaper. As the light changed, those cars took off and I stood waiting. The man looked over at me and called me Darling or Sweetie or something and asked if I could give money to Wayside Christian Ministries. I shook my head. I support WCM but I'm not giving cash on the street to a guy in a vest. I said I didn't have any cash. Which was technically true in that the money I did have on me was reserved for the coffee shop, and if you're going to sit in a coffee shop for 2+ hours, you need to buy some food and drink.

How much money do you have? he asked. That was a little presumptuous.
I said I had no extra cash -  I don't get paid until the end of the month.
He looked me up-and-down from shoes to head. You don't look poor.
I didn't say I was poor--I'm broke. There's a difference. Good thing he didn't comment on the laptop bag hanging on my other arm. Macbook was heavy.

The damn light would not change!Finally, I took off and checked the schedule at the next stop. Still time to walk. Another man yelled out Good morning to me and asked how I was. I said Good morning back and said fine. As I walked past, I think he said, Today's my birthday, but I wasn't sure.

I stopped around Shelby at that stop to wait the next few minutes. I had been home the entire week before with a sinus infection and had not planned on a brisk Saturday morning walk. At the designated arrival time, there was no sign of the bus approaching, so I started walking again. At Barret, just west of the intersection, the bus passed me. The stop was on the east side of the intersection.

I turned onto Barret and cut up a side street and just kept walking. It was a little over 2 miles and took about 40 minutes.
 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 3-4 minutes late

The bus was supposed to reach Hill Street at 4:42, but it was more like 4:46 when it pulled up. When I left work, I knew I wouldn't catch the 4:26 so decided to walk a bit--and I was right. I saw the bus drive by when I was cutting through a parking lot. At Hill Street, I took a photo of the former Old Louisville Coffeehouse, soon to be a new Yafa Cafe (!). Because there was a car at the red light in front of the bus, the bus could not pull into the right lane in front of the stop but opened the doors where it was. Two people got off and I got on. An older man wearing a baseball cap and with hair that went a little below his ears said, Well, hello there, young lady. He was talking politics with the even older man across the aisle who wear a newsboy cap and carried two bags from Dollar General (toilet paper and paper towels). The gist of it was they supported the protests on Wall Street and Louisville and didn't think Rick Perry would get the Republican nomination.

I was glad I hadn't taken the earlier bus since it was broken down at Oak Street and those passengers boarded our bus. I probably would have started walking. An older couple--she had a red-and-white cane and he had a wood-tipped one--boarded from the earlier bus. The man in the baseball cap offered his seat (also on that row was a young woman with a baby and a stroller that jutted into the aisle), but the couple chose to stand. We're not going that far, the woman said. At Kentucky Street (about 3 stops), they were still on the bus when the newsboy cap man got off, and they took his seat. At York Street, a woman with an electric wheelchair was waiting to board. Sitting on the footpad was a young girl. Pretty sure that's not what that's for. I got off the bus there and walked up to Broadway and then on home.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park?
Status: few minutes late

Two mornings in a row I have been at the northwest corner of 4th & Broadway when the southbound bus turned and stopped at the southwest corner. I have had a red light. The bus and I have both been running late. I can't really blame the bus for not hanging around when it's already late, but two mornings in a row?! I curse the timing of the lights at 4th & Broadway. I walked and made it to St. Catherine with a few minutes to spare. The woman in front of me spent my entire ride (plus more time, I'm sure) composing  a text in all caps on her phone. Needed help bringing her stuff back from the place she had just left.

Monday, September 26, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

The bus may have even been early because when we passed Breckinridge, the driver stopped and opened the doors. Guys, we're running 4 minutes early so we're going to have to wait here for a few. As we all remember from a previous post, the bus can be 3 minutes early but not 4 minutes early. The weather was nice, so I got off and started to walk. The bus passed me (that was not 4 minutes!), but it was still dropping off/picking up passengers at Broadway when I got there.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

# 4 - Southland
Status: 5 minutes late

The crosswalk gods were with me this morning as I made it to the stop at 7:30 with a minute to spare. The bus, however, did not make it until 7:36. Two northbound buses stopped across the street at the same time. Not a good sign.

After a few passengers got off at Brandeis, the driver opened the door again, faced the back of the bus, and made a waving motion. Is he telling me to get off here? I pulled out my earbud (the downside of listening to music on the bus), and it turns out he was asking a guy behind me to turn down his music. Someone else pulled the cord for Stansbury Park. Two vehicles were turning around on the street. Odd. Except they had to because following last night's rain, the street was flooded below the train crossing. There was a barrier, but not a sign warning approaching cars, so everyone was turning around in the street. Including the bus driver, who pulled into the parking lot, did a three-point turn and headed north. The cars that had turned around honked at the cars still going south, but no one knew what the honks meant based on the number of cars that didn't stop. Third Street was also blocked, so who knows where the bus went. Explains the late buses this morning and indicates maybe I should walk home this afternoon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

# 4 southbound
Status: 4 minutes late

Four minutes wasn't too bad considering it was pouring rain out. On my walk down 4th Street, I was almost hit with a huge wave as a car slammed into the standing water gathering out from the curb. I understand you can't necessarily avoid the water, but you can slow down. I decided that if I did get sprayed that hard, I was just going to turn around and go home.

I got off the bus at Brandeis and pushed the Walk button at the first crosswalk (north side of the street). When the light changed, I tried to avoid the puddle at the curb and stepped in front of the car stopped in the right lane. Just feet ahead of me, a silver Chrysler drove through her red light in the left lane. I stopped in shock and glared. The other passengers from that stop were in the south crosswalk (still had the WALK sign!). The driver stopped in the middle of the intersection. One of the pedestrians yelled at her. No one was hit, and the car kept going.

My feet stayed surprisingly dry in my new shoes which are somewhat thin, but my legs and jeans were soaked from mid-calf to my ankles.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

# 18 - Valley Station
Status: 8 minutes late

The bus was due to arrive at 2:22. At 2:25 one of the students standing at the stop commented that the bus should be there. Another student said, "Yesterday, it was so late, I saw 3 other buses go the other direction before it showed up." I almost said but didn't, "I can't afford to wait that long." I had an appointment at 3 and had already chosen the 2:22 instead of the 2:37 to build in time for delays. I texted R. that one day I was going to calculate how much time I lost waiting for late buses.

The bus that arrived was pretty crowded near the front, but there were seats in the back so I made my way down the aisle. For a few minutes, I thought the route had changed but then realized my view was just a little different in the sideways seat. I texted R again: What has a tree, a small dog, and 2 Mormons on it?   My bus. A woman had one of those tall fake (plastic/silk) plants with her on the bus--someone's doing some decorating! She got off a few stops later. The two young male Mormon missionaries were easy to spot because of their white shirts and ties. They got off at Oak/St. Catherine. The dog was a small white one with a purple vest on. I assume it was an assistance/emotional support animal of some kind, which had me daydreaming about having my cat Liberty labeled as an Emotional Support Animal. I think he would do well hanging out in my office with me.

At Broadway, a heavyset/large man got off the bus. A young woman on her cell phone was in the seat right behind the rear doors. That's nasty. Cover that up, she said. Pull your shirt down when you get up. Then she told the person on the other end of the phone conversation, This man got up and half his ass was hanging out. I don't want to see that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

# 4 - southbound
Status: 14 minutes late!

As I walked down 4th, I saw a northbound bus but not a southbound one. I wondered if I'd get there just in time. I arrived at 4th & Broadway at 7:47. Plenty of time for the 7:55 but too late for the 7:43.

More people showed up and eventually there were 8 of us or so. At 8, when the bus hadn't shown, I thought about walking. It's a 40 minute walk, and I could have caught a bus along the way (if it ever showed up), but I resisted. I had this fear of being halfway to the very next stop when the bus drove by. It was an irrational fear.

At 8:05, I checked the schedule and saw the next bus was scheduled for 8:07. Surely, at least one bus would show up- right? And at 8:07, there came two #4 buses heading east on Broadway then turning south on 4th. Most people boarded the first bus. One other guy and I jumped on the second, which didn't even really pull up to the curb. I was betting on the second bus being faster because the first one would stop more. This was based on the assumption that the first bus was the late bus and would have more passengers. We passed the first bus at the Broadway stop, and I felt secure in my decision. We still ended up making more stops than I anticipated but always stayed in front. As I started to cross the street at Brandeis, I saw the second bus stopped at Cardinal, so I did get a few minutes at least.

The afternoon bus was also late -- only 6 minutes.The time wasted standing at bus stops. At least I've started bringing my iPod again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: 2 minutes late

I arrived at 4th & Broadway at 7:09. The bus had been scheduled for 7:04. A man in an electric wheelchair who had reached the stop just before said hello and I said hello back. I saw a bus approaching on Broadway and decided to wait, just in case. It was a #23, so I walked down to Breckinridge.

The bus showed up at 7:22 and was relatively full -- at least, it had more passengers than the 7:34 usually has. The sports bra woman was at Oak Street. The last few times she's been wearing a Seniors Class of '08 sweatshirt and dark sweatpants under brown shorts. She was smoking a cigarette and drinking from a water bottle. A man in a ball cap boarded the bus, and the woman sang from the sidewalk "...America..."
As the bus pulled away, the man said, Well, that was a fun stop. A few people laughed.
The driver said, She's in a good mood today. 
Ball-cap: I could tell she was smiling. She was talking to a few friends who weren't there, though. 

New Albany: You can't get there from here

The I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge between Louisville and Indiana is closed. Indefinitely. This means more people will be on the I-65 bridge. All the detours basically take you to the same point. Metro Louisville and the mayor's office have released tips and recommendations for commuters. 

Know what the ultimate form of carpooling is? Public transit. How about using this as an opportunity (and a necessity) to ramp up TARC service? More frequent routes between Indiana and Kentucky? Special rates? Or at least mention it as an option. Oh wait, it was mentioned this morning. Sort of: "Another option -- public transit."


Here are some tips courtesy of Eric Brown about riding TARC:
Search by route if you know what bus is close to you
System map if you don't know which bus to take
Trip planner will route you from point A to B but can be a little quirky with addresses
The bus is $1.50. Exact change only.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

# 23 - Newburg
Status: 6 minutes late

I got to 4th & Broadway at 8:38 for the 8:45 bus to take me to Baxter Avenue. Only one person was at the stop when I got there, but then a handful of people showed up around the same time -- possibly coming from the bus that stopped at 5th. There was a very young male-female couple, maybe in their early 20s but possibly still in their teens. She sat on the bench with a juice drink and he smoked the stub of a brown cigarette. He handed her an ad for a club. It says Free for 30 and Over, she laughed. Bunch of old people there. He handed her the cigarette, which she held without smoking, and then he took it back. She picked something off his lip / out of his mouth.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 6 minutes late

An older man in a backwards baseball cap boarded at Oak Street and sat in the row of 3 seats. The driver, who already had already put the ramp down, told him he had to sit somewhere else. He moved across the aisle and sat down in those seats. How about here, ma'am? Can I sit here, ma'am? he asked a few times. I don't care where. You just can't sit here because there's a wheelchair, the driver answered (approximately). The wheelchair boarded and the driver secured the seat. As she returned to the driver's seat, the baseball-cap man stage whispered across the aisle, Mad at the world. 

Just after Breckenridge, the man stood near the front of the bus. Ma'am, I need to get off at York Street. Seriously? Just pull the cord. Another passenger did pull the cord. As the baseball-cap man exited the bus, he said, Thank you, ma'am. Ma'am, thank you. Then he said it two more times from the the sidewalk. The driver responded quietly with something along the lines of, Oh, Jesus. 


Who knew "manners" could be so obnoxious sometimes?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 30, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical District
Status: 10 minutes late

I decided to walk home part of the way (my Chicago blister was bothering me just enough that I wasn't sure how far I'd go) and catch a bus on 4th Street if the timing worked out. At Hill Street, it was 4:14 and I decided to grab the 4:16 or so. Except, two southbound buses had already passed and no northbound buses.

A woman sat on the bench with her elementary-aged son. She said, I thought it said 4:16 and checked the posted schedule again. At different points, we both stood in the right lane and peered down the street.

Finally, at 4:26 the bus appeared. It was full and carried two people in wheelchairs. The design of the bus is such that it meant 7 seats were lost. I wonder if that's standard for buses and if there's a way to fit wheelchairs without losing so many seats. When one man in wheelchair got off (at Ormsby?), another passenger pulled the seat down. He sat in one end seat and another guy sat at the other end. I grabbed the middle seat. The first guy had Wide Leg (aka Big Package) Syndrome. A crowd of people boarded at Oak. At a few stops, the driver said another bus was right behind her (and I don't know if she meant in view or that the scheduled bus should arrive soon), but people kept boarding, and she kept stopping. The man with the wide legs commented that the driver needed to stop letting people on. I said that the bus you know is better than the bus that's supposed to follow.

A crowd of people got off at Broadway, of course.

Public transportation survey results

See the results here.

From the press release at TARC:

  • Fifty-one percent of residents polled said they were satisfied with TARC's service.  
  • Those who were asked to suggest improvements were supportive of more bus routes, stops and shelters and of a light rail option.  
  • Twenty-three percent of those who make under $40,000 per year and were surveyed have utlized TARC in the last six months. Twelve percent of those who make $80,000 or more have used it during that time period. Wealthier families who were less likely to use TARC were more supportive of a light rail option.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

# 2 - Market Street
Status: 14 minutes late

We landed around 2:30 and had already decided that we would take the bus home if the flight wasn't late. The northbound bus was scheduled to arrive at 3:06. It would cost $1.50 for R. and nothing for me with my university ID. It seemed worth saving the approximately $20 for a cab since the bus wasn't too far off. In the past, the schedule hasn't even been close. We did consider asking one of the shuttles for the nearby hotels about riding with them as long as the shuttle wasn't full.

However, as we sat at the bus stop, there were no hotel shuttles and no bus for quite some time. There is also no schedule at the bus stop. It seems like the airport stop, if no place else, should have the schedule posted. It also seems like the airport bus should come more often than about every 90 minutes on the weekend and 70 minutes during the week.

The PDA link on the TARC page doesn't work on my BlackBerry--I'm not sure if it's a BB thing or something else. I was able to read the detour listings, which said the bus would end up at 4th & Broadway.

Finally, as I was just moments away from saying "Let's just get a cab" the bus arrived at 3:20. It was relatively full with UPS workers heading home. I sat near the front and R took a seat in the back. A group of women near me talked about work: I'm working Thanksgiving and Christmas. A few women boarded outside the State Fair. One carried a plate in a bag, another a plate wrapped with foil, and the third had a grocery cart filled with a small cooler, folding camping chairs, large soda bottles, a puzzle book, and three plates wrapped with aluminum foil. The first woman asked her what all the food was. It's for my little baby at home, the cart woman responded. The first woman asked the second, Did you see her take 3 plates? The first woman then commented to one of the UPS women, who she may or may not have already known, That motherfucker can eat, yes she can...

At one point, I moved back to sit next to R. A young man, possibly still a teenager, was talking on his cell phone. What happened? I'll call you back. When he disconnected, he said, I think my mother's dead...She had a heart attack yesterday.
 
The bus detoured all over the place -- we turned right on Eastern because I think Crittenden and Eastern are partially blocked because of water man work. We couldn't make a left turn on Eastern so turned right, went around the block, and then came up Shelby before turning left, then right, and coming up Preston. Eventually we made it on to 2nd Street, but much of Old Louisville was blocked off because of the Ironman race, which had runners going right through the neighborhood. At 2nd & Broadway I thought the bus was about to turn, so we got off and cut through a parking lot and darted across 3rd in between runners to get home. Fans and families were sitting on the curb in front of our building cheering on the runners. The bus went north on 2nd, so we could have gotten off at Chestnut, but it wouldn't have made that much of a difference.

We got home around 4 p.m. 90 minutes from the airport. It's about 6-7 miles from the airport to home (by car). In Chicago I rode two trains from Midway into the city, past the Loop, in about the same amount of time (from getting off the plane to getting to the door), which was about 12-13 miles by car.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

# 4 - Central Park
Status: 2-3 minutes late

I was at the northwest corner of 4th & Broadway at 7:30. The #4 (Southland Park?) turned right onto 4th. People boarded. The bus idled. The light changed, and I crossed the street. I was near the edge of the first TARC bench when the bus pulled off. Curses! Fortunately, the weather was nice and I was wearing practical shoes, so I kept walking south. I stopped at Kentucky Street for the next bus. It was supposed to arrive at the previous stop at 7:44 and I boarded at 7:47.

A man was sleeping on a bench near Central Park. A tattooed student took a photo with her iPhone while we were stopped at the light.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

This morning I drove. I had to get from downtown to Germantown/Schnitzelburg by 8 a.m. and then to work in Old Louisville. I knew how to get from point B to C, but to get from point A to B would have required getting up earlier (and it was difficult enough to get up) and probably two buses (4 and 27, most likely). When you have a car, it's easy to choose that instead of dealing with the extra hassle of scheduling.

However, it's also the first day of classes at the university so the number of cars and people is much larger than it's been since May. And I don't like to pay to park. And I don't have a university parking permit. Last week my free row of street parking became metered spots and I had to pay $6 for 2.5 hours of parking in the garage. Today I thought I'd park along a side street near the high school which had had spaces last week. Not this morning. I circled around a few streets. It took me less than ten minutes to drive from B to C and at least 10 minutes to then park, plus another 10 minutes to get from the car to the office.

I ended up a few blocks away from campus in a non-metered, non-permit-required space. Which is fine -- the weather is nice, and I could use the walk. But I do this again in 2 weeks and am strongly considering planning ahead for the bus this time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

# 18 - Eastbound
Status: ?

I was coming from my doctor and didn't know what time the bus would arrive (insert request for mobile app here). I must have just missed one because I ended up waiting for at least 10 minutes for the next one. While I was sitting on the bench, a young woman asked if I knew where the health department was. Another woman, with a cigarette, husky voice, and t-shirt about God, came up and said, "What do you need, hon?" and directed her to the place. Everything in that area is medical or health related. As the bus approached, the husky-voiced woman commented on the weather being hot and getting everything done so she could go inside for the rest of the day (it was just before 10 a.m.) But her grandson's having a birthday party at 5:30 and Gramma has to make an appearance. I said it wasn't as bad as it's been.

While on the bus, I saw a pregnant woman in pajama pants and a tank top at the corner by the Long John Silver's. She walked by as the bus was stopped, inhaled on a cigarette, and then threw it to the ground. Oh dear. The woman in front of me held a small mirror and applied eye shadow--pretty impressive on a bus.

A man in a Yosemite Sam t-shirt and an electric wheelchair boarded so the people in the front rows moved back. A man who smelled like urine sat next to me. He said something I couldn't understand so I kind of smiled and nodded. Then he asked if it rained "up here" last night or in the morning. The guy behind me said no. I said it had rained yesterday afternoon but not since then. The urine-smelling man said down where he was it rained so hard it pulled trees down. Then he reached his arm across my face and held on to the cord for a few minutes before pulling it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 2 minutes early

The bus was heading east on Broadway while I was stuck at the northwest corner. As soon as the other crosswalk hit 0, I started across and was able to meet the bus at the stop. He also idled for a few minutes, but you never know.  The back of the bus rattled whenever the bus was stopped. Traffic was a little heavier since school has finally started. When did school buses get the hoods that stick out again instead of the flat fronts?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

# 18 - Westbound
Status: few minutes late

A woman was standing with a young girl across the street (not at a stop) in the shade. The girl saw me and yelled "Hi!" across the street. I waved and yelled back. A few minutes before the bus was supposed to arrive, they crossed over to the stop and the sunny side of the street. The girl had a little doll that sang, "I'm a little teapot." She asked where the bus was. Her nana said it was on its way then commented to me that it should have been here already. A freight train passed on a side street and we all watched the graffitied cars of what looked like coal, wood chips, and other freight pass by.

When the bus arrived, it was semi-full. There was an empty row, but I let the woman and the girl have it and I stood at the back door. I thought the standing might be good for me, but I forgot how bumpy that ride is with the train tracks, turns, and poorly-kept roads. A man sprawled across two seats offered me a seat, but I said, "No thanks, I'm fine." Then the man behind him stood up and said he was getting off soon, so I sat down. A woman boarded with two pre-teen/teenaged girls and a young boy. One girl sat next to me, and the sprawler got up so the woman, the other girl, and the boy sat there. Across the aisle, two people sat in the aisle seats next to empty window seats.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Today I drove to work -- I was running late and decided it was easier to drive and park near campus rather than walk to the bus and wait. As much as I consider giving up the car completely, it is really nice to have the option of driving sometimes.

I was stopped at the light at 3rd & Broadway going south in the left lane when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A bare foot tapping against a sideview mirror. With painted toenails. A well-manicured hand with gold rings and a cigarette. A tanned and grey-haired and moustachioed man driving a semi-beat-up domestic mini-van. I hope that van was an automatic transmission. The part I was most amazed at was how did he get his foot up there and out the window? There was no way I could have gotten my leg up on the driver's side window--of course, I was wearing a pencil skirt, but even without that, I would need a lot more yoga classes.

I've seen passengers do that but never drivers. Especially such well-pedicured and manicured drivers. He ended up well in front of me for the rest of the trip south -- guess the foot that was in the car is a pretty heavy one.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I jinxed myself on Saturday. During a conversation I said that I hadn't been panhandled in awhile downtown. Not for cash or cigarettes. The closest thing was the Darling guy on the bus last week.

We thought maybe those coin boxes were actually working. I understand the premise of them, but I'm rarely asked for money directly -- it's usually Tarc money, a transfer ticket, or cigarettes (or a light). Sometimes, there's the My car broke down and I'm out of gas and I have to get back to Lexington and I need $8, but let me first assure you that I'm not one of those people who just asks for money. R. told someone once to try the travelers support office, and the guy said, "Yeah, um, maybe I'll try calling my friend again."

At the end of Derby weekend near 4th Street Live, a guy with a guitar asked us for money for the Greyhound. If you've been playing your guitar all weekend downtown in a bar area during a giant tourist weekend, and you can't make enough for bus fare to Cincinnati, then you should just sell your guitar.

In the morning, I'm walking to the bus stop and I'm about half a block from the intersection when a gaunt woman carrying a plastic bag crosses the street to approach me. Ma'am, she says, just as I walk under some trees and get sprayed with rain water dropping from the leaves. I tell her, Sorry, I need to catch the bus. And while I did have to wait at the light to cross, the bus arrived almost immediately after I arrived at the stop. In the afternoon, I'm walking home along the same block (only slightly north) when she crosses the street again to approach me and says Ma'am. I tell her, I can't help you.

I tend to feel guilty when I refuse someone, which is what I do every time. In this case, both times I didn't even wait for the question. If it was cigarette related, I couldn't help anyway. If it was TARC related, why are you still on the same block more than 7 hours later?  If it was just for money, first of all, I don't even have any cash -- not even loose change. Second of all, you're not supposed to give any out (that's what the point of the boxes is).


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 2 minutes early

Yesterday was the tale of two motorcycle vests. There was the older, mulleted man in the morning and a younger guy in the afternoon who boarded around Hill or so. His vest had metal studs instead of patches, and he wore a newsboy cap (is there another term for that), but with the vest, the cap made him look like a newsboy who would hit you in the knees with a tire iron if you didn't buy the paper.


This is a very cute advertisement (seen originally at Bus Stories). TARC doesn't have ads like that -- we get ones like "Son in jail? Call Waddell!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: 2 minutes late

I had my alarm set for 6:15, but then I hit snooze, then I moved it to 6:30, and then I turned it off. All to say I did not get up until just before 7. I was, however, out the door by 7:40 or so. Which meant I waited for the 7:55 in the humidity. I considered walking a few stops ahead, but I was sweaty just standing there. The bus's AC was so cold that my sunglasses fogged when I boarded. Only 3 other people were on the bus, and two of them got off at Breckinridge.

It was a hybrid bus that squeaked when moving forward but not when braking. An older man with a cane and a mullet boarded south of Oak. He wore baggy shorts, a stretched-out t-shirt, and a motorcycle vest with Route 66 and other patches on it. His hair wasn't even quite a mullet because it was spiky in the front--not business. His arms showed faded tattoos of eagles and other images.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 1 minute late

An older man with a braid and Hawaiian t-shirt sat next to me. I thought he might be a tourist even though he smelled vaguely of paint. Until around Kentucky St, when he said, "Hey darling, are you using your transfer ticket?" I replied I didn't have a transfer ticket (which is true, since I use my university id), but I didn't tell him that even if I did, I wouldn't give it to him. My name is not Darling, I wanted to say. You can say ma'am, miss, or Excuse me. Transfer tickets are hot commodities on the bus routes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time?

It was a game of musical chairs in the front seats of the afternoon bus. Baby Jane Bag Lady was in the sideways seats behind the driver. She had 7 bags in her cart and three bags next to her. In the front-facing seat right behind her was another woman with a shopping cart, but it barely had anything in it. I believe there's an untapped market for bus-friendly shopping carts. I was in the 2nd set of front-row facing seats on the non-drivers side and gave up my aisle seat at York, but the person stayed up front.

At St. Catherine, the bus started beeping. Then another beeping tone that was quieter and faster but happening at the same time. It stopped at Kentucky and then started again right before Broadway. If the bus broke down, I would just get off and walk, but with this weather, I would not enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 13 minutes late (approximately)

I left work in time to catch the 4:26 bus home. It did not matter, because the bus did not show. I had no phone (hence, no clock) so I had no idea when it was officially late, and I could not call or text R. to give him a heads up since he was planning on meeting me at the stop. A southbound bus approached as I reached the stop and another passed before a northbound bus showed up -- never a good indication. It was very hot outside and the covered shelters do not provide any protection against heat. It's like sitting in a dirty greenhouse with all that glass. And with the heat, it's not worth starting to walk--I'm also always afraid the bus will show up and pass me just as I'm halfway between two stops. Finally, a bus showed up -- it was even a hybrid bus and the AC was working! Immediately behind it was another bus. The 2nd bus passed us while the 3 people at the stop boarded the hybrid. I thought it would end up being another game of passing each other, but the 2nd bus stayed in front. Our bus idled at Cardinal for a minute -- really?! We caught up to the other one at 4th & Broadway.

Somewhere along the route, near Central Park, we almost rear-ended a pick-up truck. At least, that's what it seemed from my perspective. The truck was waiting to turn left when the traffic light turned yellow. I would have thought we were on the 4:26 bus (except for the idling earlier), because the driver was not going to lose any more time and decided to go through the light. But the truck hadn't turned yet, so there was a bit of maneuvering. I've been in scarier situations, but I still made a face of alarm.

Two young women boarded, one of them with a Mohawk. The Mohawk one paid and received a transfer, and then I swear she just handed the transfer to the next girl. I guess that works as long as they're not both using the same transfer at the same time.

Today, I have to go from campus to Germantown (technically, Schnitzelburg) and then from there to downtown. I plotted out the bus options yesterday. I would get to my appointment early and possibly have to wait up to 20 minutes for the first bus to go home depending on how long my session lasts (one bus there, 2 buses home). But after waiting around yesterday afternoon, I decided to drive today. The benefits of having a car when one needs it. If it were not 100+ degrees outside, I might be more willing to bus it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Making bus stops convenient for pedestrians?

Woman convicted of vehicular homicide (despite not having a car)
Raquel Nelson, 30, is opting for a new trial on charges relating to the 2010 death of her 4-year-old son, who died in a hit-and-run collision as the family tried to cross a Cobb County, Georgia, road.
Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide and other charges for not using a crosswalk. The convictions carried the possibility of jail time. At the sentencing Tuesday, Judge Kathryn Tanksley gave Nelson probation, community service and the chance to opt for a new trial.

I heard this story on NPR over the weekend and was flabbergasted that the mother had been charged. The drunk hit-and-run driver only served 6 months in jail. The radio story said the mother and her children had missed a bus and had to wait an hour for the next one. By the time they got home, the kids were hungry and tired, so instead of walking up 1/3 a mile to the intersection, crossing the street, then walking 1/3 a mile back to the apartment complex, they crossed directly from the stop.

Some advocates are calling for the county and the bus system to re-examine where bus stops are placed. And, of course, many are calling for the woman's conviction to be overturned.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

# 4 - Central Avenue
Status: Two minutes early

I was early at the the northwest corner of 4th and Broadway waiting (as always) for the light to change, when the southbound bus turned onto 4th. As soon as the Flashing Hand hit "1," I started crossing. Another passenger scurried in front of me. It was 7:29 when I boarded the 7:31. We waited one more minute and then continued.

The driver was Monday's driver who kind of looks like Cedric the Entertainer. He even wears a stylish newsboy cap. Approaching Cardinal, someone pulled the cord. Two people got off the bus. The bus started moving forward, someone pulled the cord, and the bus immediately stopped. The passenger said it was for the next stop and the driver said to get off here. Cardinal is the worst stop because it's not near a street corner.


I stayed on the bus and got off at the park exit, which is actually shadier and more direct now that Brandeis may or may not be a stop and my walking routes are being re-routed due to massive construction between the bus stop and the library.

What happened to the Brandeis stop? I sent an email through the General Comments link to TARC. Because this is the kind of thing I care about now. I'm also considering writing my metro councilperson about getting the timing of the lights changed at 4th & Broadway so that people have more time to cross north-south.

[Update] I received a response to my email last Thursday and learned the sign was missing. This morning's bus (which was a later one that I usually take) did stop at Brandeis and I saw a stop indicated there. Thanks, TARC!

Who gives a f*** about an Oxford bus?#

 From the Human Transit blog (newly added to my Google Reader), a piece about the bus system in Oxford, England:

In the "deregulated" ideology governing public transit in the UK outside London, the ideal bus line is a "commercial" one, consisting of two or more bus companies running on the same street competing for passengers.  Customers are supposed to feel empowered to choose between Joe's Buses and Jim's Buses, though in practice they're likely to feel frustrated when they hold a Joe's Buses monthly ticket and therefore have to let Jim's bus go by.  The idea that the customer might just want to get where she's going, and thus just wants to get on whatever bus comes first, never fit the ideology very well.In the "deregulated" ideology governing public transit in the UK outside London, the ideal bus line is a "commercial" one, consisting of two or more bus companies running on the same street competing for passengers.  Customers are supposed to feel empowered to choose between Joe's Buses and Jim's Buses, though in practice they're likely to feel frustrated when they hold a Joe's Buses monthly ticket and therefore have to let Jim's bus go by.  The idea that the customer might just want to get where she's going, and thus just wants to get on whatever bus comes first, never fit the ideology very well.

 Read all of it, and get some more links here.

 
# with apologies to Vampire Weekend

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

# 4 - Central Avenue
Status: On time

I guess I've been on hiatus. It wasn't planned, but it's been hot, the Internet has been out at home, and the bus rides have been relatively quiet. As long as the AC works, I'm happy with it.

This morning I left home just late enough that I missed the 7:31. This was not on purpose. I saw the bus at the corner from blocks away and it idled for a few minutes, but I knew there was no chance. I double-checked the time of the next bus on the schedule and then walked a few blocks south to Breckinridge. Even though it was supposedly in the 70s this morning, it was very humid.

I passed a man with one of those claw picker-uppers picking up garbage. He was north of the deck of playing cards scattered across the sidewalk in front of the Baptist church. A woman sitting at the Oak stop northbound appeared to be pulling her shirt on as our bus passed. She was wearing a sports bra but did not look like she had been running, walking, or doing anything other than loitering at a bus stop without her shirt on. If your shirt is off at 7:45 in the morning, where do you go from there? (I said this the other day about a small group of shirtless men outside the public library, but it works equally well here).

On Monday's bus, the driver stopped at Cardinal Boulevard and idled with the door opened. No one boarded and no one got off. Then he called back that he wasn't stopping at Brandeis (the next stop) so those people should get off at Cardinal. I decided to stay on and get off at the park stop but was slightly concerned he wouldn't stop there either. There was no construction or detour at Brandeis, and it's the most popular U of L stop on the #4, both north and southbound. The Cardinal stop is halfway between two lights so you either have to walk ahead to Brandeis anyway, backtrack, or dart across the street. The park stop has the world's longest red light.

There were no notices on the website, and the Monday afternoon bus stopped at the northbound stop. This morning's driver also stopped at Brandeis, so maybe the Monday driver was just finicky about something. The bus was so cold this morning that my sunglasses immediately fogged as I stepped down to the sidewalk.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: On time?

I was actually able to leave early this morning and was at the corner of 4th & Broadway (northwest) waiting for the late to change when I saw the southbound bus turn. I assumed I'd just be walking down 4th Street and catching the next bus later because there was no way I could cross Broadway. I waited for the Walk Man to turn into the Flashing Hand and count down. Meanwhile, a #23 westbound stopped at Broadway just as the light changed. I hobbled across the street (dealing with some back issues) following two people transferring from #23, and the #4 driver waited! So I got on the bus around 7:19.

Two women behind me were chatting.
# 1: You have to take some sort of test. I hope it's not a math test. I hate math....It probably is math; it's for an assembly job. You probably have to count forks...
# 2: My son is really good at math, but I don't like it.
#1: Mine too. I can count money and that's it. 

Across the aisle, I heard a man speak somewhat softly into his cell phone: Just pack your things and go. Leave.

At Breckinridge, a woman with two young girls boarded. The girls had matching outfits on (pink tops) and were about 2-3 and 4-5. The woman carried the younger one, and the other one stood next to her wiping her eyes from crying. The bus was stopped at the red light. As the light turned green, and the bus started to move, a white pick-up truck passed in the left lane and then turned right in front of the bus. I know someone who hit a bus that way--don't turn in front of the buses like that! It's one thing, although still iffy, if the light has been green and the bus is idling at the stop, but the light had just changed. I was told to toot my horn to let the bus driver know I'm turning, but how do I know the bus driver knows the same signal I do? I will just wait, thank you very much.

#2: ...a tuna sandwich. Or chicken salad sandwich.
#1: I've never made chicken salad. I like it, but I don't make it. What do you put in it? I saw this chicken salad with almonds and grapes...
#2: My sister likes grapes in hers; I don't.
#1: It's nasty.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

# 4- Central Park
Status: One minute late

A young man sitting under the bus shelter had music playing very loudly -- it's never music you like. I stood a few feet away from the shelter and could clearly hear every word and beat.

An older man walked by calling out Dollar for a bus ticket. I shook my head. He had already passed the shelter when a woman called out to him and he turned around. I thought he was trying to get a transfer ticket for $1, but he had a bus ticket (not a transfer) that he gave to the woman for $1.He gets $1; she saves 50 cents on her fare.
 
I come by this way every day, he said (although I have never seen this man at the stop before but schedules vary). They give me a ticket but I walk instead of taking the bus.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

# 4- Downtown/Medical Center
Status: on time

I was early so walked to the stop at Lee Street. The woman in the seat behind me listened to gospel music without headphones and sang along a little. At Hill Street, an older woman with shoulder-length gray hair boarded the bus. An African-American woman sitting in one of the front seats moved to the first seat facing the front. The woman boarded but continued standing at the front of the bus. The other woman and a younger white guy in polo shirt and slacks drinking water from a disposable plastic cup with lid and straw told her there was a seat available. The gray-haired woman said she didn't want to fall trying to sit down while the bus was moving. We won't let you fall, the other woman said.

The polo-shirt guy apologized to the African-American woman for not moving faster. He meant to give up his seat to the gray-haired woman. It's just one of those days, he said. This heat burns my brain.

The front seats became part of a game of musical chairs as a woman with a walker boarded and other people moved around. When I got off at Broadway, the polo-shirt guy was back in his original seat.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

# 4 - southbound
Status: On time?

R. waited at the stop with me and pointed out a man with an "Alize" tattoo on his arm for his kid. I heard this as Alley Zee and asked what that was, not that I had ever heard of Alizé either. Turns out, it's a liqueur. Although, according to Wikipedia it's also French for "trade winds" and the "premium economy offering of Air France." Alizé Comet is a French tennis player; Alizée is a French singer, and Alize (without the accent) is a common girl's name meaning Joy or Joyful. Anyway, at 7:30 this morning we went with the liqueur definition. How do you know it's his kid's name? I asked. Because it's on a list between Derik and David, he said. 

 The security guy/former police officer/talker was on the bus but it wasn't the driver he chats with, so he sat silently. The woman across the aisle from him in the front of the bus carried a walking stick -- not a cane, but what looked like a semi-carved wood walking stick. Or a long piece of scrap wood she used as a walking stick. She talked to the driver. I learned her grandmother had 22 children and her mother had 12. That she was working 9-1 and doing a snack and lunch but breakfast was earlier. That she had a patient who had a 20 hour and 15 minute surgery to remove his ear because he had cancer on his ear. They took skin from his leg to graft it on his ear. She asked the driver if he was an "evangelist." She said God heard her prayers and made her middle son a minister (and possibly her youngest son, too). Thank God, he's a merciful God, she said, for those people who don't listen/talk to him.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: On time

Two days in a row I've just missed the 7:40-something bus. Yesterday, since I didn't see the bus, I thought it was just running late and stood there waiting for it. The 7:55 arrived at 7:58 and the driver told a man at the stop, No, this isn't the 8:04. That should be obvious but not when you're on TARC time.

This morning, sitting at an outdoor table at the not-open-for-the-day Sicilian's Pizza were two youngish white men with painted faces talking to an African-American man standing in front of them. Their faces were painted in what I immediately thought of as Scary Death Clown but there may be a more technical name. They smoked cigarettes. It was about 7:40 in the morning.

Learning my lesson from yesterday, I decided not to wait at 4th & Broadway but keep walking and catch the 7:55 bus further down line. Men were on the roof of the church at 4th & Breckinridge. I saw them pulling shingles as I approached, but I still gasped and whispered, Oh my god when I saw a limp black figure fall from the roof to the ground below. It was roofing material.

I boarded on time at 4th & Kentucky. An older man asked the young guy near me if something he was holding was from a sorority, which I found an odd question, considering they were both men. I missed the young man's answer beyond the No, but then he identified the other badge/keychain he was holding -- I got this for being clean 30 days...It'll be 60 days Monday. The older man said something about being clean 6 days and having the shakes--he demonstrated with his arms. He had been in the hospital, he said. I noticed the hospital tag on his wrist when I passed him at the Broadway and he asked me the time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

# 2 - UPS via Airport
Status: 3 minutes late

We arrived at 1st & Chestnut at 9:26 for the #2 bus to the airport. Free for me; $1.50 for R -- can't beat that. The bus arrived at 9:30. It was crowded (lots of people) but not full (empty seats). Many of the people were heading to UPS -- the brown shirts gave some of them away; and the ids marked the rest. The young woman across the aisle was speaking to the woman next to her who appeared to be eating dry cereal out of a large thermos. The young woman was talking about the house she was staying at. She's so stingy that she buys the Kraft cheese for herself and Kroger cheese for the kids. She won't share any of her food but if you have something she likes she says, Let me have some of that...You can't say no or she'll tell you to get out of her house.

The young/pre-teen boy sitting next to her must have been cold -- first he tucked his arms into his t-shirt and then his head so that all you saw were jeans, a bright blue shirt, and a mess of dreads sticking out of the neck.

The bus took an odd detour down Preston Street and then west on Eastern Parkway before turning onto Crittenden -- it's been awhile so either the route changed or there was a detour because of the previous night's storm. An incessant whining noise came from the bus which was one of the newer fuel-efficient ones. This constant high-pitch drone for the entire ride.

We reached the airport just before 10, with plenty of time for our flight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: ??

It was the 7:55 bus -- I was running late and moving slow this morning -- but I'm not sure when it arrived. I think it was about on time. The bus was not crowded but had more people than the earlier buses do. Highlights:
  •  the man boarding in front of me had a tattoo on the back of his neck that read in swirly script: King Honky. And TARC is his royal carriage. I wondered about Queen Honky.

  • the "talking in circles" guy was at the stop with more McDonalds beverages, but he appears to have switched to iced coffee (or tea) instead of hot coffee. It is supposed to be 93 degrees today.

  • the blind woman from the library was on the bus. She got off at York. Another woman boarded with a shopping cart filled with blankets, etc. 
  • A group of young women who knew each other were on the bus, but they were getting off at different stops. Possibly temp workers? or starting new jobs at different places. One was very unsure of when to get off and where to go.

U of L Today: employee switches to bus

University employee switches from car to TARC

A U of L Today story about a university employee who's been commuting by bus for the past month. How do you get to work?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

Crowded bus when I boarded. I grabbed the vacant sideways facing seat between two occupied seats on the non-driver side. The young woman across from me sat in one seat and had a large purse in the other seat. A man further back sat in the aisle seat and was turned towards the window reading the newspaper.

Across from Central Park, two young men motioned to an unseen young woman to get on the bus. You get off! she yelled. We have to go to Iroquois Park. She pronounced the "s" at the end, which is something I've been making a note of. Apparently the "s" is silent in Louisville but not in Iroquois?

At St. Catherine, the driver turned the bus off. The woman next to me said, Oh-hell no. The young woman across the aisle said, What the fuck? A woman further back said, This is the 3rd time in 2 weeks my bus has broken down. 

This was one of the newer energy-efficient buses and was not particularly hot outside but warm enough, especially with a full bus. We started back up a few minutes later but without the air conditioning. A man wearing an animal print and carrying a few grocery bags boarded a few stops later and grabbed the pole across from the sideways seats. There was a pause before he asked the young woman if he could sit in the seat (currently occupied by her large purse). She moved it, but did it really have to take a special invitation? The man with the newspaper never moved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

Overheard from the back of the bus -- a guy on his cell phone:
I get tested for that shit....She's sayin I smoked it with her...but I get tested now at work...I know what I've been smoking...Haven't you ever gotten coke for someone and not used it? 


Other than that, pretty quiet ride.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

# 4 Central Avenue
Status: 2 minutes early

I skipped making coffee this morning to catch the 7:31 (Southland) bus. At 7:26-7:27, I was standing at the northwest corner of 4th & Broadway waiting for the Walk sign when the Southland bus turned and stopped at the southwest corner. No one was waiting at the stop. One person got off. The bus continued on at 7:27 as I was crossing the street. I thought of the little things I could have done to get there sooner but the big obstacle was the traffic light, and unlike many of the people I see on Broadway, I do not feel comfortable running across 6 lanes of traffic. Particularly when the bus is 4 minutes early and should idle at the stop for a few minutes anyway.

I continued walking south on 4th Street. At least the weather was good, if not a bit humid. I considered crossing to 3rd Street which is more scenic, but then I would be committing myself to walking all the way to work. I stopped at Oak Street at 7:42. The bus came at 7:46 (two minutes early).

Instead of getting off at Brandeis, I waited for the Stansbury Park exit. I pulled the cord (the sign lit up). I walked to the back doors and stood there. The bus drove past the stop. I called out Stop (my Bus Confidence is improving). And he stopped (while looking back at me funnily)! I said Thank you and got off. We were only about a bus length past the stop and it was before the railroad bridge. Otherwise, I think I would have had to get off at Winkler. If that happened, I would have been tempted to cross to the northbound side and just go back home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park
Status: No idea because the bus schedule changed

A woman was huddled in a blanket on the bus. I thought she had Issues. Somewhere along the route, she yelled up to the driver that the bus was cold (it was!). The driver asked, Is anyone else cold?

I didn't respond--in the summer I've learned it's better to just stick with the cold bus because it will get hot soon enough. A man from the back of the bus called up, Yeah, it's a little cold.

The driver said, I can have it on or off. That's it. 

The woman with the blanket asked for it off then she put her wrap back in her bag. The bus felt a little stuffy the rest of the ride.


Afternoon
# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: See above

At Oak Street a woman boarded the bus with four children. Three of the children were each carrying a bunch of green bananas. The woman carried the fourth child. One girl counted her bananas - eight! then tried to take her brother's but he resisted. The mom said something about the bananas being better than candy. Then she talked about making banana pudding. One of the little girls, who was sitting across the aisle from me (with the mom sitting behind me), chimed in on something---I don't remember what she said but the mom responded along the lines of Sit the fuck down or Shut the fuck up.

CJ: TARC ridership up on lines where bus runs increased

 TARC ridership up on lines where bus runs increased

The Transit Authority of River City is seeing a sharp spike in the number of riders on two busy lines where it increased bus runs in mid-February.Using a $1 million grant from a U.S. Department of Transportation program to improve traffic safety and to reduce congestion, TARC increased service effective Feb. 13 on the No. 18 route that includes Preston and Dixie Highways and the No. 23 line on Broadway and Bardstown Road.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status:  4-6 minutes late

After I got off at 4th & Broadway and met up with R. along 4th, I said, There was a guy on the bus -- I don't know if you'd call him "casket sharp," but he was something-sharp. Maybe craps-game sharp . . . Do you want me to start from the top or the bottom?
R: Go from least amazing to most.

The outfit:
  • black shirt and tie
  • purple jacket and pants
  • red straw hat with a black rim, and
  • purple alligator/snakeskin patterned-shoes -- a lighter shade of purple than the pants

Around Kentucky Street, a young man with a bicycle wanted to board. He asked the driver if there was room for another bike. The driver said no -- there were already two bikes on the front of the bus. I have seen drivers let riders bring their bikes on the bus, but the bus was pretty full. The young man hopped on his bike and pedaled north. At Broadway, there was a line of traffic and another northbound # 4 bus in front of us [where did that come from?!]. A passenger asked if he could off even though we were back by the alley between Ermin's and the public library. The driver opened the door for him, and then the rest of us trickled off the bus. The young guy with the bicycle rode up to the light before any of the other traffic moved. 

The man in the purple suit also got off and headed east on Broadway. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: 5 minutes late

A young woman in the back of the bus called her friend -- What is all this about? You two are supposed to be sisters....What's this about you and your husband jumping her? [?!]...What do you mean my boyfriend was calling her? He said he didn't...Well, I'm going to call her now.

She says that Danny was calling you...Was he?...Why would he be calling you? I'm going to call him now and get this shit straightened out.

I got off at Oak for Cat Care and didn't hear what Danny had to say.

After checking on my friends' cats, I walked back to 4th Street to catch another bus at St. Catherine. There's a church at that corner. There were also two cop cars and a shirtless man right by the bus stop. I decided to walk north to Kentucky and catch the bus there. I reached the stop just a few minutes before the bus. The driver had his doors open and the bus was beeping. Apparently, there was no air conditioning. We drove one stop, let 2 people on, and then sat there for a few minutes. The doors were open, the bus was beeping two different tones, and it was hot. I was about to get off the bus and just walk home -- at least there's a breeze off the bus -- when it sounded like the fans kicked on and the bus continued on its way.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

# 23 - Eastbound
Status: On time?

I met a friend at Quill's coffee shop on Baxter and decided to bus it over instead of using the car. It's one bus, practically door-to-door. I did have to walk one block south to Broadway. Since I did not see a bus coming and I wasn't exactly sure of the schedule, I went to the 4th Street stop, which has a posted schedule. As I crossed south on Broadway, an older man crossed north on an adult-sized tricycle with a basket. I'm sure there's a different name for it. And, no, it wasn't a recumbent bicycle.

At the entrance to the Heyburn building, another old man stood under at the awning. He may have said Hello as I walked by, but I was texting a response to the friend I was meeting. At the stop, I watched him as he waved at passing cars and pedestrians. When the bus arrived, he boarded.

A group of men were getting off around Preston. Just before the stop, a woman offered them a snack - -she had a resealable bag of either those sugary, orange slices or dried apricots. The man who accepted the offer couldn't get the bag open, so the woman opened it for him. Meanwhile, the bus had stopped and his friends had gotten off -- the bus almost drove off with him still reaching in the bag for a snack.

I waited until the bus passed the coffee shop and then took the next exit, with the street waver. I walked back to Quills along the block of Irish-themed bars.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

On this bus ride, I sat down in an aisle seat even though the young woman in the window seat was encroaching into the other seat and didn't make any effort to move. I had my purse, lunch bag, and an umbrella, and I was tired. There's a seat and I'm not sitting. The man in the seat across the aisle from me had his cell phone ringer on -- the phone rang twice, that jingly, tinny ringtone that's supposed to sound like an old-fashioned phone.

The Baby Jane bag lady was on the bus again. She had 9, maybe 10, bags this time and exited at Ormsby. After she got off, an older man, woman, and young boy boarded. I thought they were together since they sat near each other and spoke to each other (in Spanish). I understood a few words and phrases but most of it was too fast and quiet for me. The boy exited at Broadway, alone, so perhaps they weren't all together after all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

# 4 - Central Park
Status: 2-3 minutes late

I was up early this morning because of a needy cat and left my building just before 7 a.m. Not quite early enough to catch the 7:02 at Broadway--I saw it pulling up when I was still at Theater Square. No point in running for a number of reasons. I continued walking south and stopped at Kentucky Street just before 7:14 to catch the next bus there. Across the street a red bike was chained to the TARC sign -- just the bike frame and the chain, no tires.

The driver was a singer. Which I haven't had before. He sang while he drove the bus but not while passengers boarded or exited (disembarked?). I need to tell you....how much I love you.... He did not have a particularly good voice. But he seemed to be in a good mood.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

Two young men boarded at around Ormsby. They acted very cool and street-savvy, but I wanted to say, "You're riding TARC on a Thursday afternoon--you can't be that great." The driver yelled at one of them to turn his music down. I could still hear it from my seat halfway back but the driver didn't say anything else. When telling this story to my husband, I said, TARC drivers are like ineffectual parents. They tell you not to do something but there aren't any consequences for not listening.

From the back of the bus, one of the guys said If I got someone pregnant.....[unintelligible] I'd marry the bitch.

At first, I thought this was positive. Good use of active verbs = taking responsibility. The pause could have been "Of course I'd..." Then I realized it could have just as easily been, "There's no way I'd..." In either case, please do not refer to women as "bitch," especially if it's one you've gotten pregnant.

When I got off at Broadway, they were insulting someone's (each other's?) clothing: You better take that shirt back to the corner store where you got it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

# 4 Iroquois Park
Status: On time (I think)

Uneventful trip this morning. Some familiar faces but no stories. I listened to Pimsleur Spanish on the iPod. The exciting news is the weather is improving--I may be able to walk home from work without getting drenched in a rainstorm. And the Louisville Root Cellar is opening on Saturday. It's on the route from work to home. More fresh produce to buy, and maybe some cold juice when it's hot out?

Yesterday I grabbed the #23 at Broadway & 3rd and rode it to Bardstown Road to meet a friend after work. Random snippets of conversation about Chinese water torture, child support, and what should and should not be shared from other people's Facebook postings.

I'd like to see if I can go 2 weeks without using the car (as driver or passenger) and that doesn't mean just letting R. do all the errands. It will require a little bit of planning. I was looking at bus options for Sunday to go to the Buy Local fair, but the options are limited. I think I can make it work if I stay aware of my schedule. It beats paying $5 to park and since I don't have a bike to ride (bike parking is free), I'll just hoof it from Brownsboro & Hillcrest.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 2 minutes late

I am growing weary of the TARC circuit. Although with gas above $4/gallon, there's no way I'm going to start driving to work instead. If the weather were better and I woke up earlier, I would just walk.

Just as I crossed Broadway at 7:36 or so, a bus approached. Except it had "Out of Service on it." A minute later, another bus approached. Except it had "Training" on it. Then the bus came, just a few minutes later. The "thinking in circles" guy had just shown up with his 2 cups of McDonald's coffee--he takes the next bus. He called out to the driver to wait because a bus was stopping on Broadway. Then he yelled the driver could go ahead. The driver and a female passenger laughed about the man directing traffic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

A young woman wearing pajama pants and with facial piercings recognized a slightly older woman boarding the bus with her 2-year-old. Apparently, they haven't seen each other in awhile since the piercings girl now has a 5-month-old the other one didn't know about. They discussed babies and toddlers and childcare, exchanged phone numbers, and talked of a play date in the future.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: Either on time or 12 minutes late

I arrived at the stop for the 4:28 bus and there were at least 6 people there waiting, which is unusual for a campus stop, especially with the regular academic year being over. A bus arrived right at 4:28. However, immediately behind it was another #4. So one was on time and one was late. We all boarded the first bus, and the two buses proceeded to play tag up 4th Street. The one in front would pick up passengers and the one in back would drive by, unless it had passengers to drop off. When we reached Broadway, my bus was in front again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 5 minutes late

As the bus approached the stop, a bus on Broadway started honking its horn to let the driver to know to wait for passengers. Our driver motioned through the door and I thought he was indicating to wait to board because someone (maybe in a wheelchair) was getting off. So he opened the doors and lowered the bus and no one boarded and no one got off and finally the driver said something.

The security guard was there talking with the driver about run-ins/altercations on the job. Dealing with drunks, etc. The driver asked what kind of measures the guards can take (guns?).
Security guard: I had his arm behind his back and told him if he didn't relax, he was going to break his arm. 
Driver: It was the "break" that got him to quiet down.
Another passenger joined in and basically started insulting the guard before taking the conversation in a different direction.
Instigator: You're not real police. You work for a temp service. They give you a uniform and a gun and you think you're big.
Security guard: If it's a felony, I can make an arrest...You can be contracted by the city police. You need to learn the law.
Instigator: I know the law!....Something about rent-a-cops. I'm not talking about you, of course...
Security guard: I used to be police. I went to the Richmond police academy and everything. Put in my 27.
Instigator: What's your 27?
Security guard: 27 years. I was school board police...Jefferson County Public Schools has its own police.
He was with the police before, during, and after busing.
Instigator: They were just hallway monitors.
Security guard: Those were school security. They were useless. I had my own car and a blue siren and everything.

Friday, May 13, 2011

From Bus Chick

One good reason to use snail mail

USPS Sustainability- GoGreenStamps

Friday, May 13, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

R. walked with me to 4th & Broadway to catch the 7:40-whatever bus this morning. I watched a flock of tiny birds in the parking lot nibble at a breadstick or piece of pizza crust. R. said, I think that guy is making a drug deal, referring to one of the men in the shelter (one of whom was the "think in circles" guy from the other week) talking on his cell phone. We were next to the shelter and didn't see who was talking, but I saw the circle man when the bus arrived.

Me: Distributing or receiving? I haven't been listening--I was distracted by nature.

R. wasn't sure but thought it was setting up a distribution deal, and I guess he would know from his criminal attorney days, but I didn't ask what the key terms were.

Then he watched the birds with me. Occasionally, they would skatter away and then come back to the bread. A squirrel approached and tried to take the bread; the birds scattered. Then the squirrel ran off empty-mouthed.

R: Those birds could take that squirrel if they ganged up.

Me: I wonder why the squirrel left it--he had it!

R. said there were a lot of downtown food options for squirrels and that maybe it was poor quality food. Then he headed off to work.

A few minutes later, a squirrel approached closer to the fence (maybe the same one) and started attacking an Oreos package. He managed to get the plastic wrapper off the container and found some big crumbs/chunks to chew.

The man standing near me smoking said, I didn't know they could read!

I said, We were just saying they had good food options downtown, but I didn' t know that meant double-stuffed Oreos

In other news, I decided the benches at Central Park were not stolen. As of Monday, there were seats and backs again. Maybe they were repainted. I'm sure they were missing before--I checked more than once.

Huffington Post article about public transit and jobs

lWide Disparities In Public Transit Access Keep Residents From Jobs, Brookings Study Says
WASHINGTON -- Seven in 10 working-age metropolitan residents live within three-quarters of a mile of a transit stop. But a new study from the Brookings Institution found that these commuters can reach only 30 percent of the jobs in their area in under 90 minutes.

View the report here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, Mary 5, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

I got off at Brandeis and crossed on the south side of the street. A man at the northbound bus stop called out to me. Being the nice person that I am, I stopped. The man was possibly drunk and slurred his words a little. It was shortly before 8 a.m.

Man: Excuse me, are you honest?
Me: [Is that a trick question? It's not quite the same as asking, Do you lie? If you say yes, then you're telling the truth; if you say no, then you're lying. I avoid the entire question] How can I help you?
Man: I need to get up to 4th Street Live.
Me: The bus will go straight up 4th Street. You can just catch it here. It should be here any minute.
Man: Are you honest?
Me: Yes, but I have to go to work. [True!]
Man: [holding a couple playing cards in his hand] I'm asking if you're an honest person. I want to show you something and give you money.
Me: [?!?! That's a switch from asking me for busfare but I do not like where this is going] I'm sorry, but I have to go to work. [I kept walking]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

A heavyset white man wearing a new Churchill Downs cap boarded at Ormsby and then made a call on his cell phone.

Guy: Hey, I'm on the bus now... Who are you going to say was in the car?
---
Guy: Don't give them the police report. Give 'em the claims report from All-State.
----
Guy: Promise me you won't tell Monica.
----
End of call. He got off at York.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

I went to the fitness center after work and then walked to the bus stop. According to the schedule, I had 7 minutes before the next bus, but I was already suspicious because I had not seen the previous bus pass by on my walk to the stop (which requires crossing 2 parallel streets so there is a clear view of the stop).

Three minutes after the bus was supposed to arrive, I called R. The bus is late, and I've seen 3 southbound buses pass in 10 minutes (The route runs about every 12-15 minutes). He suggested I just start walking. But I already exercised! I thought but did not say. However, I started walking and 4 minutes later the bus passed me while I was between stops. At least the weather was nice and it was good exercise. No rain. Not too warm or cold.

I walked about a mile to Oak Street in 14 minutes and reached that stop just as the next bus approached, so I hopped on. I got off at York, meaning I walked about 1.6  miles and road the bus for 0.6. Not bad. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

It was cold, windy, and rainy on the walk to the bus this morning. I had my coat with a hood but no umbrella. When I got to the covered stop, the man from last week (who pretended not to speak English) was standing there with some McDonald's coffee again. It's raining again, he said. I'm sick of this, I responded. Another man showed up and the two started talking about the weather and life philosophies. No point complaining if it's already happened. In a few months we'll be wishing for rain! The first man said his basement was flooded. The 2nd man said, What are you gonna do? It's already happened. Everything happens for a reason.

They talked about being grateful to wake up each morning. That's a good approach to take, but sometimes you just want to get to work without your pant legs getting all wet.

Monday, May 2, 2011

# 18 - westbound

Another medical appointment (about every 3 weeks now), so another trip on the #18 to the medical center. A man carrying a couple plastic bags and holding an umbrella was at the stop when I got there. It was not raining yet. He asked me if I was a student (does this mean I look young??), and I said that I worked at the university. He commented on the students finishing soon, and I said I thought Tuesday was the last day of finals. I work in the library and it's been much quieter than usual. Then I wondered if people just think the library is always quiet (it's not). He asked about book sales--I don't think our library does those.

As we waited for the bus, it started to rain, of course. He opened his umbrella, and I pulled up my hood. He offered to share his umbrella with me, but I politely declined. Then the bus came. It was a little crowded, so I stood at the back doorway. A woman near the front wore a plastic poncho and curlers in her hair. She had a grocery cart. When a passenger got off, I grabbed a seat near the front. Three high school students (two boys and a girl with a purple streak and a purple sweatshirt) were sitting in front of me. One of the boys kept looking back and said That girl behind you looks familiar. I know her from somewhere. I thought he was talking about me (since I was the girl right behind his friend) and I started to say something. Then the girl behind me said, I rode the bus with you last week. She was a young woman with a toddler.

Two women got on together and started talking about Osama bin Laden, but I couldn't get enough off their conversation to tell what exactly they were saying.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

I thought I was catching the 4:28 bus north, but the 4:16 was running late and I was able to board it at 4:23. A young man sitting in the sideways seats said he was getting off soon and offered his seat. Stopped at Hill, we could see flashing red-and-blue lights in the distance at the Magnolia and 4th intersection. It was blocked. Traffic at Hill was bumper-to-bumper. The driver called into TARC to get a detour. Cars behind her honked as we sat through the light---it's not like they could go anywhere anyway.

Finally, we turned left on Hill. A southbound #4 was approaching. Our driver asked that driver what detour he had taken south (4th to Park to 6th to Hill to 4th). Then she had to make a tight right turn on 6th Street, where another southbound #4 was stopped at the light. He moved over as best as he could and she made it through the narrow, crowded street. The young man who had given up his seat was still on the bus and was impressed with her driving skills. Damn girl, you were born to do this You were born to drive this bus.


This morning as we drove past 4th & Magnolia, there was piles of large broken branches and trees at the corner blocked off with tape.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

# 4 - southbound

Pouring rain, no surprise. I had my travel coffee mug in one hand and my large umbrella handle in the other. One person (Dell student from yesterday) was in the first bus shelter and two people were in the 2nd shelter ( a white man and a black man) -- I took the 2nd one because it's closer to where the bus stops. As I tried to close my umbrella while standing under the shelter, the black man said that he doesn't bother with umbrellas. Yeah, I said, this one is about to blow away from me. He just wears his rain cap (ala Gilligan) and his hooded jacket and deals with it. Unfortunately for me, my jacket with a hood was still at work.

The man said to me, You know it's going to snow on Derby.
Really? I asked.
It's going to rain and then it will snow.
The white man asked if it had snowed on Derby before. In '97 it did. It wasn't much, but there was snow.  

I'm pretty sure I was waiting for the 7:49, but it didn't arrive until 7:55. While we waited, a black woman approached both shelters. She had crossed the street from Quiznos and had an umbrella but it wasn't open. While she was jaywalking, a turning car stopped to let her continue, but she waved the car on instead and glared at it. She asked at the first shelter for change and then came to ours. She asked me for a TARC ticket or change and then asked the white man. Then she pushed all the newspapers off the bench onto the ground (there had been a layer of free papers on the bench--perhaps to serve as a dry seat for someone earlier?). I thought she was going to sit, but no.

Then she asked the black man. What about you? Did I ask you?
The man responded with something like Me no understand. No English. I have never seen someone pretend not to speak English to avoid a panhandler before. Classic.

She glared at everyone and crossed the street again. She tried to board the northbound bus then got off and walked north then turned east on Broadway.

The black man said to the white man and me,  I had to think in a circle for that one (or something like that). She's lucky I didn't talk to her. I would have fuckin' cussed her out. You complain about it being dirty (motioning to the newspapers on the ground). It's because you make it dirty.

Once on the bus, the white man pulled the cord somewhere near Central Park, but the driver missed the stop and stopped past the light at Magnolia. Another man asked if we were close to Barret. Totally going in the wrong direction for that. He got off at the next stop, presumably to go north and then east on a different route.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park

I got up 10 minutes earlier today but left 10 minutes later, which had me waiting for the 8:02-ish bus at 4th & Broadway. As the bus approached on Broadway, a man in a winter cap with ear flaps made the rounds looking for change. First he went to the men: Come over here for a minute...TARC fare? If you're going to ask for money, then you should approach the person and not ask them to approach you. Not that I think it would make much difference in the end.

Then he asked me. It is not a lie when I say I have absolutely no change. He thanked me and then thanked the young woman at the stop on her laptop, who was successfully ignoring him. Thank you lady with the computer...Lady with the computer, thank you. Yeah, she's not going to look up. Then he crossed the street and headed towards the eastbound #23 stop, so who knows what bus he was even trying to catch.

The girl with the computer had crossed Broadway with the Dell laptop open in her arms -- that's impressive. She was studying advanced chemistry. It is finals week.

I guess everyone was running a little late this morning -- the blind woman from the library was on my bus and I usually see her earlier. The driver missed the stop and apologized. The passenger had not pulled the cord and the driver had not heard her say what stop she needed when she boarded. The driver offered to walk the woman over to the library, but the woman said she was fine. A few stops later, the crossing guard boarded behind a man in an electric wheelchair with an oxygen tank.

Along 4th Street, I saw a woman in an electric wheelchair smoking a cigarette with her (assistance?) dog between her feet. And strangest of all, I think someone stole the park benches out of Central Park. I saw the vertical supports and the horizontal support at the base, but no seat and no backrest on at least 4 benches. And those were just the ones visible from the bus.