Posts Tagged ‘buses’

I’m pretty much on the record that “being optimistic” and I are at an arm’s length relationship.

This past Friday, I was feeling particularly satisfied at work, as I got five reference questions and two or three blog posts done. I was really enjoying the eclectic music I was playing, which included Al Green, Willie Nelson, Joss Stone, Ella Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, and Glen Campbell, all of whom have April birthday, plus latter Johnny Cash. What a rush.

So naturally, the ride home was EXTREMELY annoying. This woman was on her cell phone, screaming at her off- and on-again boyfriend “Rodney.” Not only did I hear her, ten rows away, the whole damn bus heard her imaginatively vulgar, eight-minute rant that I wished I had recorded, it was so memorably obscene. Well, everyone heard it except, apparently, the bus driver, who drove on obliviously.

Isn’t it always the way? When I’m feeling good, something has to come along and ruin it? But just as I was looking at this as a bummer of an event, harshing my mellow, I discovered something else. There was this odd camaraderie among the passengers, at least the ones within my line of vision.

And we analyzed aloud, since she couldn’t hear us over the sound of her own voice, the nature of her relationship with Rodney. She kept saying – no exaggeration, at least a dozen times – that she didn’t care about him. But that were the case, why not just hang up on the jerk?

About four stops after she got off, some guy comes on the bus and announces, to no one in particular, that passengers on a bus represent a “microcosm of society.” Several of us laughed and said, “You have no idea!”

Earlier that day, I happened to run into a woman I’d met in a bookstore, a friend of a friend. I told her that I needed to write something for my blog by Tuesday, that usually I’ve written SOMETHING long before then. But she said she was optimistic that I would get it done.

Initially, I was going to write about things that make me feel optimistic, such as the healing, and persistent, power of kindness or how Great Britain is now a Fox News-free zone or how more women are running for office in the United States.

But I was optimistic that I could get to 300 words without describing those sentiments at great length. And I did.

For ABC Wednesday

Our local area bus transit company, the Capital District Transportation Authority, or CDTA, has been making some significant changes in the way people pay to ride. The standard fare remains $1.50 per ride.

It used to be that they sold this whole array of magnetic-striped paper card products. There was, among them an every-day card-for-31 days for $65, an every-weekday card for $55, and a 10-ride card for $13. One could also buy a day card for $4, which makes sense if one were taking three or more buses in a day.

CDTA stopped selling all of those at the end of December 2017 in favor of something called the Navigator smartcard and mobile ticketing system.

If one has any old magnetic passes with a balance, they need to be used by April 1, 2018. After April 1, all magnetic strip passes will expire. Any balances on the cards after that date cannot be transferred to the new Navigator Card and no credits will be issued.

As it turns out, I’ve been using the Navigator since May 2017 and I must admit that I love it. CDTA offers Frequent Rider card, which makes sense if one rides twice a day or more nearly daily. But for me, the Pay as You Go option works better. I might ride my bicycle to work, put the bike on the bus up the hill, then ride the bike the rest of the way home.

Oh, yeah, the ad: the bus driver is explaining to a departing passenger that if one takes more than three buses in one day on the Pay as You Go model, the fourth and additional rides are free. As I was walking off the bus behind her, I continued that what the driver said was correct. I could visualize that someone watching this might think I was a paid shill, but no.

In the winter, i.e., non-bike weather, I sometimes take two buses to my allergist, one bus from the allergist to my office downtown, and a bus home. Each of the first three rides cost $1.30 – or 65 cents each for the half-fare riders – but the fourth and subsequent trips are free.

The one disadvantage of the new system is that CDTA no longer offers magnetic change cards for the $1.50 fare. I’ve seen a few people just put in two one-dollar bills. Some creative folks team up with a friend and put in three ones for two folks.

Early in October, I needed to get back from my hometown of Binghamton, NY back to my home in Albany in order to see The Color Purple at Proctors Theatre in nearby Schenectady. I stopped at the nice newish transportation hub in Binghamton, which had been spruced up a whole lot since I last took a bus out of Binghamton.

Unfortunately, it closed at 9:45 p.m., and I was there at 10:30. Worse, when I got online, I discovered that the bus I wanted, which leaves at 4:15 a.m.(!), was sold out.

Still, my friend got up at 3:15 to take me to the bus station; now THAT is a true pal. A bus heading for Syracuse, north, but a couple hours west of Albany, shows up around 4:15. The last time I needed to buy a ticket when the station was closed I would buy it from the driver.

Apparently, the procedure now is that he holds my ID, drives me to Syracuse, and THEN I buy a ticket for the trip I’ve already taken, and get my ID back. Then I buy a ticket for the bus from Syracuse to Albany, which was showing up at 6:30, only a half hour after I arrived; cool.

Syracuse has an even nicer transportation hub. I could have caught the train from there, if necessary.

I liked this: a young woman was heading back to college in western Massachusetts from Rochester, west of Syracuse. Unfortunately, she overslept and missed her bus. Fortunately, her father drove her the nearly 90 miles from Rochester to Syracuse in the middle of the night. She was very appreciative.
***
When I ride my bike, I ride along the right side of the road, the way I am supposed to. At least a couple times a week, I see a guy bearing right at me, because he’s going on the left side, usually going the wrong way on a one-way street to boot.

Almost every time this happens, he yells, “You’re on the wrong side!” To which I yell back, “You are incorrect.” Short of throwing page 91 of the New York State driver’s manual, which reads, “Where there is [no bicycle lane, bicyclists] must remain near the right curb or edge of the road or on a right shoulder of the road, to prevent interference with other traffic,” there’s not much I can do.

For ABC Wednesday

break-cigarettesSome months ago, Mark Evanier wrote about the bad old days, when smoking allowed on most airplanes. He linked to a New York Times article, What Flying Was Like Before the Smoke Cleared, which was terrible, especially for the flight attendants.

I wrote in this blog some years ago: “Airplanes used to have smoking and non-smoking sections. I remember sitting in row 22, the last non-smoking row. Wouldn’t you know that the smoke did not have the courtesy to go back from row 23, but instead wafted forward?”

Still, here’s a story about a smoker I did feel just a little sorry for:
Read the rest of this entry »

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

As someone who takes the bus at least part of the way to work most days, I am regularly reminded why I hate listening to other people’s cellphone conversations, and why some public conveyances thankfully ban the use of those contraptions.

I’m sitting across a woman and her daughter, about ten, give or take a year, on the CDTA (local) bus. The mom is on the phone talking to her friend, and I’m not paying attention, until she says: “Do you know what I really hate about Eddie*? He comes into the bathroom Read the rest of this entry »

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