Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On the Bus

Twice in the past few weeks I've taken up the city's offer to dump the pump and rode the bus to work.

The good stuff: My house is just a block from a bus stop. Easy! For that matter, I can walk to the Depot in about 15 minutes.

Greensboro's buses are nice, clean, and have the absolute best sound system of any I've ever ridden. The recorded announcements have that calm, mellifluous, female voice you hear in every sci-fi movie ever made that says, ever-so-sweetly, "this space station will self-destruct in 3 minutes." Except she's saying, "next stop, Tate Street."

The drivers were polite, the schedules easy to understand, and the riders were friendly.

And the newly renovated Depot is the most beautiful bus transfer station I've ever set foot in. A year after its reopening, it's still clean and well-run. Way to go, GTA.

Also on the upside, I can read or work on papers while I'm riding to work. And when I step off, I get a kind of strange feeling of freedom, not leaving a vehicle parked somewhere.

But there are downsides, too. For most of the day, the bus only runs once an hour. If I miss it, I'm going to miss a class.

The bus takes about 40 minutes to get me to campus, which is almost the amount of time it would take me to walk there. (If I drive, I can get to my office in 20 minutes, and if I ride my scooter I can do it in seven). If I take it home after 6, it's even longer.

And yesterday the Summit Avenue bus arrived late, which meant that a whole busload full of people missed their connection at the Depot. To GTA's credit, they quickly sorted us out and put us on small busses that got us where we needed to go. If they hadn't we'd have had to wait an hour for the next buses.

Most of the riders were heading out to places like High Point Road to fast-food or retail jobs (judging from the uniform shirts many were wearing). I would imagine that once-hourly bus service means means quite a bit of wasted time for them, either arriving too early for work, or waiting for a bus home.

For all that, however, I liked riding, and plan to keep doing it.

2 comments:

David Boyd said...

mellifluous - damn, that's a nice word.

Joel Gillespie said...

David, Maybe with gas prices heading where they are there will be sufficient motivation to increase route availabilities. I would LOVE to ride the bus to work, but it's too complicated and too long of a trip. Improving public transit would help our community in so many ways, so maybe we're close to the tipping point for that becoming even more of a possibility. I hope so. Joel