I ride the bus to and from work every day. It’s about 45 minutes door-to-door, including about four blocks of walking. Not too bad, although about twice as long as a car would take. I don’t mind taking the bus, though, since it’s cheaper than gas, parking, and payments on a second car. Plus, I enjoy the time to read.
Still, the bus could be better. Here are my tips (short of investing in mass transit, like the rest of the civilized world) for Seattle Metro:
- Eliminate the ride-free zone. This is the source of tons of problems. First of all, it introduces tons of distasteful characters on the bus. One stinky bum can ruin a bus ride for dozens of people. Before people accuse me of classism, let me say there’s a reason some odors are labeled “offensive”. They offend people! But at the same time, it’s not like it’s the end of the world. And besides, we’ve all had to fart in a crowd at some point in our lives, haven’t we?
- The ride free zone also means that people need to sometimes pay on the way in, and sometimes on the way out, and sometimes they can enter or exit either door and sometimes the back door can’t be used for either. So what happens is everybody always leaves from the front and it takes twice as long at a bus stop while the people who want to enter wait for the people who want to leave.
- Furthermore, for some reason people in Seattle often feel like it’s okay to wait until the bus is at a complete stop before standing up and meandering their way to the front door. Be ready to exit before the bus stops! You’re slowing everyone down!
- And finally, the bus stops are too close together. On my route (66 Roosevelt) there’s one every block. They could cut the number of stops in half without inconveniencing people to any large degree, and drastically improve the speed of the bus.
A discussion about this was started on the Slog a few days ago, and it quickly devolved into class warfare between advocates for snobby white liberals on one side and smelly poor people on the other. If that’s the farthest that the debaters on this issue can see, then I don’t hold out much hope for things improving.