Tuesday

[uppervalley] Advance Transit

I took the bus to work this morning. I figure I might as well for the following reasons:

1. Gas is so friggin' expensive.
2. I should help the environment or whatever.
3. The bus stops right outside my house.
4. The bus is FREE.

So at 6:35 am, I'm standing in front of my house, waiting. The bus pulls up and I'm the first one on. It's nice and clean and new on the inside, with soft seats. The drivers bids me good morning and asks where I'd like to go. "Hanover Inn," I reply. I don't want to have to change from the Green line to the Brown line, so I'm just going to walk to work from the Hanover Inn. It shouldn't be more than half an hour's walk.

As we pull away, the driver talks to a man sitting behind him, who is busy scribbling notes on a clipboard. Is this the manager? A reporter? No, he's a new driver being trained on the route.

The driver points to a bridge. "This is where you need to watch for late-comers."

"So, if someone is by the side of the road and it's safe to stop, I pick them up?"

"Yeah."

What? This is crazy to my ears. First of all, the bus is nice. Second of all, it's free. Third of all, it's preferable for riders to wait at designated stops but not necessary? Just, wave the bus down and it'll pick you up? Wow.

I sip coffee and read a book as we pick up a few more people. A scientist-looking guy boards while reading a science-y looking report. A young gang-banger-looking dude gets on, sprawls his body across two seats and promptly falls asleep. A couple construction dudes get on and strike up a conversation with the driver, asking how John is doing. This is interesting. It's like... a family or something.

At the Hanover Inn, I disembark and start walking. I read and walk at the same time, trying to avoid running into early morning bikers/joggers. When I approach the main gate at work, the security guard asks me, "Walking today?" I tell him that I'm boycotting gas because it's too expensive. "Oh! El Cheap-o, huh?" I flip him the bird and tell him I prefer to think of it as being environmental.

All in all, my first bus-riding experience was a pleasurable one. I wonder how crowded it's going to be after work, though...

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