Posts Tagged ‘CDTA’

Did you ever have a simple act of kindness give you a lesson?

I’m on a Capital District Transportation Authority local transit bus one evening, going part of the way home up the hill before riding my bike the rest of the way. I had used my Navigator card, which is actually half fare because I’m… older.

A young woman got on the bus, but her Navigator card had insufficient funds. (The voice on the machine sounds REALLY loud to me, possibly, I posit, for maximum embarrassment.)

I had, until that day, another, full-price, card which I kept in case my wife and/or daughter are riding on the bus with me. Unfortunately the Daughter misplaced her school ID during the last week of school, which she also used to pay the CDTA fare; talk about your short-timer’s syndrome.

Ruffling through my wallet, I found a THIRD card. Where did THAT come from? Maybe I got it for free at the 2017 Tulip Festival, when they were first promoting the service. I offered the card to the young woman, with a caveat that I didn’t know if it worked at all.

It did. Hey, I’ve been there, when I’m a little short on cash. A couple blocks later, she came up to me and offered me about 45 cents, as she noted, “This is what I found in my purse.”

Once upon a time, I might have waved off her offer. This time I took it, not because I needed the change, but because I wanted to honor her feelings. She wanted to do that small thing, and it would have been ungracious to reject it.

I think we do that a lot, keep people from maintaining their sense of dignity when they’re on the receiving end of a little kindness, a modicum of charity, under the thought, “They need it more than I.” But when they want to pay it back, or pay it forward, it’s important to let them.

Trust me on this; I’ve been there.

CDTA

I was riding on the #763 CDTA bus this week, the one that turns left at Washington Ave onto Lark St. A few folks were waiting for the bus at Lark and Spring. As of July 1, that bus stop there any more. The driver took pity on the riders – it WAS in the middle of a heat wave, and it is an infrequent bus.

But with the opening of the new CDTA BusPlus station and shelter located on Washington Avenue in front of the Albany Public Library, a “mid-block station located between Lark St and Dove St at the newly installed pedestrian crossing and signal,” there are no longer outbound bus stops at Washington & Dove or at Washington & Central for ANY of the buses. No stops at Lark & Spring for Routes #13 (New Scotland Ave), #18 (Delaware Ave, #734, or #763.

For the #10 (Western Ave) and #12 (Washington Ave), outbound routing will remain on Washington Ave after crossing Lark St. There’s a NEW outbound stop at Washington Ave & Henry Johnson Blvd. The #12 buses will continue on Washington Ave, while the #10 will continue on Western Ave after Sprague Pl. The routes will no longer travel on Central Ave, Lexington Ave, and Robin St, so no stops at Central & Henry Johnson or Lexington &t Washington Ave.

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.

The day after one of our snowstorms – snow in upstate New York in February? – a lot of us were taking the CDTA bus. Maybe some had safe parking spots they didn’t want to move from, while others perhaps had not dug out.

Someone had shoveled the snow in front of the bus kiosk. Unfortunately, the bus stopped beyond the kiosk, and we had to climb over a snowbank to get to the bus entrance. To his credit, the bus driver did apologize.

We’re going down Western Avenue. All the seats are filled. But the folks standing in the aisle Read the rest of this entry »

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