Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Mass Transit Adjacent

on October 28, 2010

I live in suburbia. We are not known for our public transportation. If I want to go into Philadelphia, I can drive 5 minutes to the train station and hop on the regional rail into the city. They are relatively nice trains that simplify the trip. If I worked in the city this would be handy commuting tool that would let me read more, calmly listen to music, maybe even watch a move if I toted such technology but I don’t work in the city so I’m rarely on it.

We do have buses that travel around the local borough and take people to various places. Based on where I’ve seen people gather you can take a bus to the mall/library (yes they are in the same spot) , the county courthouse, and, back when we still had one, the Dennys. In the last few years they seemed to have expanded the local bus routes and increased the number of stops. Now I can pick up a bus at the end of my street or if I needed to,  on the random hill side by a nearby self storage facility. I’m sure overall some of these random stops make sense but it is confusing when you’re driving along and there’s a guy sitting on a grassy knoll just hanging out, sometimes he’s in a suit.  Even though they have expanded where the buses go they still don’t run down to the middle of po-dunkville where I work. In all fairness there does seem to be some suburbian sprawl creeping into the area so I’m sure they’ll have buses running there eventually. For now, the only buses near my workplace are the big yellow ones that try to make me late. (Honestly kid I know you don’t want to go to school but moving as slow as molasses to the bus isn’t going to change anything).

Although they can’t take me to work the local public transit does help me with my commute whether it knows it or not. As I mentioned before, there’s now a stop at the end of my street. It just so happens the bus rolls through right when I should start my commute in the morning, This has become my gauge to see if I’m running late. If the man who works at Dunkin Donuts is still waiting at the bus stop I’m golden. (On a side note I used to feel bad for this guy because he was always standing there by himself but recently he’s been joined by a couple other people who don’t have uniforms so I don’t know where they work.) If the Dunkin Donuts man is being picked up I’m still ok but could be in trouble down the road. ( The added bonus of catching the bus at this stage is it will usually force someone to let me out so I don’t have to floor it when I finally find a gap in traffic. Except for this morning when no one gave a crap that I was trying to get to work or that the bus had stopped and they should let me out. Jerks.) If the Dunkin Donuts man is gone and off to make the donuts I am officially running late and need to make up time where ever I can. Which never works.

This ends any impact public transportation has on my commute. I don’t have some of the fun interaction with humanity that Amanda and Nicole get to see everyday but the morning commute always lends its fair share of routines. I tend to run with the same pack of cars. Some stand out most don’t. My particular favorite is a certain soccer mom SUV that I see from time to time with a license plate that says “4ever L8.” The first time I saw this vehicle I gave it a clear path and plenty of space for fear that its 4ever L8-ness  would result in dangerous swerving and such. I then discovered a fun coincidence. If I encounter the 4ever L8 SUV I am, in fact, L8 for work. It’s become a handy heads up.

There are the random issues that can unnecessarily extend my commute such as The Great Bus Convergence (GBC) at 7:05ish. In order to beat traffic one morning, I left 10 minutes early and got to work at the same time because of the GBC. There is a portion of my drive that has a rail road crossing just after a traffic light. Somehow with the mapping of the bus routes the local school district timed it so that at 7:05 each day 3 buses arrive at this point at the exact same time. As you know, school buses stop at all railroad crossings. When you combine this pause with a traffic light it will allow 2 maybe 3 vehicles through the light at a time delaying the poor saps behind them for 5-10 minutes by the time all 3 buses have gone through (depending on the bus driver). Once past the light these buses go in different directions so the traffic clears up. It is quite the anomaly that justifies sleeping in another 5 minutes because in the end it won’t make a difference. At least that’s how I look at it.

My commute isn’t so bad. Most of the traffic is going in the opposite direction. There are some days where I’ve happened upon the bus convergence or am chasing down 4ever L8 and wish I could just sit, read, listen to my music and let someone else get me where I need to go. At least I have my 6-disc cd player to keep me sane and I can sing along to my heart’s content. Hmm. I wonder if anyone ever keeps an eye out for the crazy Matrix singing chick on their way to work? Probably not. I hope not.


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