Friday, February 4, 2011

Bus Stories

One of the best things about public transportation is… the public. Community Transit riders truly do form a community. You may be anonymous  on the bus and read your book, but you’re still elbow to elbow with someone else. That person by definition lives, works or travels the same places you do. In my view, knowing a little about each other is good for all of us (even if you do occasionally get TMI).

Community Transit has a project to tell the stories of some of our riders. It’s gotten the attention of Bus Chick, a blogger who shares my appreciation for the community shared by transit users. 

Here are some of my bus stories from the past week:

On the way in to work one day, I spoke with a fellow rider about metaphysics, myths and, as the conversation roamed, modern medicine.  He spends his bus time reading books on the first two subjects (I inserted the third topic). 

Coming home one night, a man I know as a regular rider was on a much later trip than normal and holding on to a Bus Plus schedule book. Instead of his usual Sounder commute, he’d gone by bus to McCollum Park after work for a meeting.  Turns out he is the Sheep Superintendent for the Evergreen State Fair and puts in a lot of volunteer time with 4-H.  

Another morning, I arrived at my stop in Marysville a little late, as usual. I asked the woman waiting there if the bus had passed yet. She said, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out,” and started dialing her cell phone. I couldn’t imagine how a phone call was going to get us any useful information – after all, Community Transit doesn’t have real-time data on the location of our buses (yet), so Customer Service wouldn’t know. 

However, turns out she has a high-tech, low-tech way to track the whereabouts of her bus. Her friend boards the route earlier in the trip. My fellow bus-stop waiter called that friend, who reported the bus was still on its way. Apparently, this type of real-time information sharing isn’t unusual for these two. We should all have a friend on the bus.

If you would like to share your bus – or vanpool – story with Community Transit, contact

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