29 December 2008

Light rail - hooray!!!

Happy holidays and merry new year to all.

Today began light rail's first regular operation schedule. Many bus routes changed, including the 81. It no longer takes the loop through ASU, just runs north and south, staying on McClintock which becomes Hayden in Scottsdale. To use the 81 to go to work, I need to transfer to the light rail at Apache . . . which I did this morning, much to my own delight. Great fun, but not the quickest route. I think it adds about 10 minutes coming and will find out what it does going home in a bit. The 66 remains the most "convenient" but for the moment, I want to ride the train!

You can watch a little Ken Burns-style slideshow of my light rail pictures - it's 39MB, give or take.

10 December 2008

been awhile

Can't seem to find inspiration for bus blogging - guess creative flow can go on vacation.

Decided to check in, however, and comment about an ongoing bus announcement that makes no sense. Bugging me for months, I let it go until my son and I recently took a bus home from a basketball game and when he heard the announcement for the first time, his instant reaction mirrored mine - what the ...?

The announcement plays at least once or twice every bus ride. Recorded in a man voice, it says:

"Attention passengers - the farebox will issue passes only with a paid fare. The operator cannot override the farebox."

Huh??? To ride the bus, a passenger must produce either a pass or the money to buy a one-way trip or a day long pass. A simple procedure, it doesn't require a great deal of explanation. So what gives with the ongoing announcement, advising people, already on the bus, of what they need to gain access to the bus?

Hello???? We passed muster, we crossed the Rubicon, we are the choir - why the sermon? Riding the bus 10 times a week, I get to see a lot of driver/boarding passenger interaction. Occasionally, someone tries to work a free ride - asking the driver to take them to the next corner or claiming a lost pass. The drivers appear empowered to judge the ride-worthiness of potential passengers and doesn't that seem sufficient? What purpose does this announcement serve? Does it remind drivers of an obligation to demand payment or pass? Does it warn existing passengers not to attempt to ride without money or pass? If we're on the bus and can hear the announcement, haven't we figured it out?

Oh well, not earth-shattering, barely blog-worthy, but I feel better for mentioning it.