14 May 2007


A new day, a new bus - what fun! Thought I'd take the 5:57am81N today (whew! that doesn't print as easy as 6am66). Also wanted some coffee from Einstein's so I popped in there first, got a cup and went across McClintock to the stop. Looked down the street and there came the 5:42am81N - what a great start to the bus riding day - hot coffee and an earlier bus!

A rookie driver had the helm and the trainer sat in the front right seat. The trainer did a lot of instructing as we rolled along - not sure if he needed to be so verbose, but it added interest to the ride, especially his instructions about using the mirrors. The really interesting parts came when we entered "the detour".

At Apache Blvd., McClintock is closed to north-south travel for light rail construction. Either direction, traffic must turn right. Today's image contains a map of the detour. The purple lines and arrows follow the detour and the orange shows the regular route. We turned onto Apache and stopped to pick up a passenger. It didn't make sense to me since the 81N never travels on Apache, why would a passenger want or expect to catch the 81N on that road? The guy got on and we proceeded east on Apache, turning right (south) on River Rd. A mostly residential area, it apparently dazed and confused the new passenger. When the bus turned right (west) again, the guy started to splutter and finally asked, "where the hell are we going? how am I going to get to Alma School?" The trainer driver explained the detour procedure and finally advised the guy that he was on the 81N. "But I wanted the Red Line!" he proclaimed. It turned out OK since we headed back to Apache anyway. They let the guy off at the corner of Martin and Apache -- he had basically ridden around the block -- and he appeared very flustered as we pulled away.

Not sure why the driver (newbie or trainer) didn't advise the guy he was boarding the 81N. Surely they realized he probably didn't want our bus? I figured it out and I don't do transportation for a living. I understand the passenger should know upon which bus he boards, but when there's only one bus ever scheduled to stop, it's easy to see the confusion. I'm getting really confused just writing about it.

Anyway, we made it to ASU and I can't wait to see the detour in reverse going home tonight.

11 May 2007


What a weird bus week! Mark's last ride took place Tuesday morning. Dave's last ride happened on Wednesday morning. Thursday morning, I got on the bus and -- surprise, surprise -- Bill AKA Newspaper Guy was in situ behind the paper! He rode the bus just to say hey and congrats to Mark and Dave! Great to see him and sorry he missed the dynamic duo. We had a great chat anyway - he appears quite content as a retiree - makes me look forward to my turn.

This morning I decided to try out the 81N. I already use 81S to come home and figured I might like the morning version. It runs every 15 minutes, so arrival time at the stop becomes relatively unimportant. Hate to "just" miss it, standing watching it go on down the road; but, 15 minutes goes by quickly. The stop for 81N is next to a gas/convenience store and quite messy. Have to go on a cleaning campaign if I continue to ride this route. The best surprise - the driver! He wished me a good morning when I boarded and commented on the greatness of being Friday. He greeted everyone who boarded and offered a farewell to everyone who got off. A couple of times he said, "thanks for riding." What a pleasant change from the surly sourpuss currently driving the 6am66. Think I'll do the 81N for awhile - I anticipate some interesting stories in the future.

Today's image is a salute to Mark and Dave - well done!

02 May 2007

6000 something

Just a quick post about last night's ride. Some may recall the SRO ride home when I determined the bus was picking up uncollected passengers from an earlier missing bus. Well, last night, ever alert, I detected the potential for another crowded ride and cleverly averted a repeat of that earlier situation.

In the afternoons, between 3PM and 7PM, the buses run every 15 minutes to get through rush hour. On the route I use going home, the hour and half-hour buses go from ASU all the way south to Chandler Hospital at Frye and Dobson Roads. The quarter and three-quarter hour buses only go from ASU to Research Park. Since I get off before Research Park, I can use either bus. Yesterday I intended to take the 3:45pm, which is an 81S to Research Park route. (is this confusing or what???) An 81S bus pulled next to the stop on College as I was walking up. I could see the 81S on the back and assumed it was my bus. A queue formed to board since a handicapped rider was getting off and no one can board while the bus is in full 'kneel'. While waiting in line, I read the side sign and it said, Frye/Dobson. I realized the big line of people was because this was a 15-minute late 3:30pm bus. I looked down the street and saw another 81S approaching. Figuring the 3:30pm would go first, I slipped out of line, walked back and got on the 3:45pm 81S ASU Research Park bus. No line, nice and quiet and cool. It was a brilliant move on my part as we followed the other 81S and it took in all the passengers while we sat quietly behind like a very, very, very large limousine. A lovely switcheroo for me.

01 May 2007


Long time gone, eh? Work really is quite pressing and I get so immersed as soon as I arrive that I never look back and blog. This past week was particularly hideous, although I did get to spend the weekend at a resort/spa in Tucson. A friend's company hosts a leadership retreat every year and since her husband can't attend, I get to go and enjoy the amenities in his stead. Capped it off (totally pun intended) with a full dental day on Monday - yuckorama! Half a day in the chair and the other half sleeping it off. Three crowns and a root canal later - I earned the afternoon nap.

Very uneventful bus riding lately. Bill, AKA Newspaper Guy, retired on April 27 and he didn't ride the bus his last week. Dave and Mark and I wanted to provide a card and bit of the bubbly for a sendoff, but he probably took vacation and we didn't get to say a proper farewell. Maybe one day he'll take a journey just to say hey. Mark and Dave are short-timers, too. School finals begin this Friday and both will graduate on May 10. Dave moves back to Missouri on May 12 and not sure if Mark needs to ride the 6am66 once he no longer takes classes. Think I will try inventive route-taking once my daily companions are gone. I can take a 6am81 (doesn't ring as well as 6am66) or perhaps change my time altogether. We'll see how energetic I feel about all this changing once our desert temperatures start to climb. I do think some of the lackluster bus stuff revolves around the driver. He fails to deliver the spark, personality or panache of his predecessors. I don't need celebrity, just a personality, especially since he knows I'm going to be there most days. How difficult is it to respond? Perhaps I'll stick it out on the 66 until the next change-o-driver situation and see if things improve.

Got a comment from a new bus blogger, Megan, author of "Driving Miss Boyer". Her blog looks like fun -- see the link. Image today is weak, but it's about all I can muster.