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.