On the Bus Chronicles: Getting My Feet Wet

I’ve been selected as a rider ambassador for my local commuter transit system. As part of my duties, I’m to utilize some form of transit (bus, carpool or vanpool) twice a week. This is the account of my first ride on the bus on November 24, 2010.

11:49 AM ET

I was supposed to do this a couple of weeks ago, but I’ll admit, I chickened out. A part of my rider ambassador responsibilities is to talk to people. I’m only good at that when I think my ideas won’t get shot down. In the meantime, the bus just drove past. I was expecting it to come down the road from the highway, but it appears to have come out of nowhere.

Oh well, even though the bus was 10 minutes late according to the schedule, I’m glad that it just came. It also put out a person. So for now, I’m going to put down my pen, leave my car and head to the stop so I don’t miss the bus again. See you on the bus

12:46 PM ET

So I got to the stop and ended up having a nice chat with a long-haired handsome stranger. A very-well dressed long-haired handsome stranger. He’d just left a seminar at the convention center adjacent to the bus stop. He asked me for a light and as I’m not a smoker, did not have one. We chatted about culture for a bit as we waited for the bus to come back. He’s Native American, orginally from somewhere up north and travels a lot by bus, all over the country. He works in construction and we bonded over talking about prior lives in Raleigh. He also mentioned how great it was to be in Greensboro with all the cultures, but his desire to stay out of the black-white drama divide.

As we got on the bus(and the driver looked at me for being too slow and talking to much, as well as sticking my farecard in wrong), I shared with him about the new Megabus coming to Durham. Way to go for me sharing about a bus system I’m not technically supposed to be advocating for. However, good transit is good transit.

Meanwhile, the bus got to the commuter hub, where all the buses from the main three cities in the Triad, the shuttles to the airport area office parks and the airport shuttle convene. The stranger left my bus for the High Point bus. I had to leave my bus, rescan my card and get back on. The driver thought I was trying to steal a ride at first, but realized I was just that naive.

As I’m waiting for the bus to leave so I can get back to my car, I’m noticing the bus is doing a good job waiting for folks to get off the buses from various other areas. The buses are also clean and full of a diverse crowd of people. We are moving again, so I will report back when I return to my stop.

12:54 PM ET

So I made it back safely to my car in about an hour. Looking back on the ride, it was pretty smooth, even seated sideways. (I’ve ridden so many public buses  sideways, the angle doesn’t phase me). I also saw a HEAT, the college connector bus come through just as I’m writing this in my car. If I had wanted to, I could have picked up the bus and gone over to campus. Well, I know for next time.

One last thing. For being a commuter line, proximity to the stop leaves something to be desired. I had to cross five busy lanes of traffic with no crosswalk. Oh well, that’s something the mall owners should address with the transit authority.

Stay tuned for part two, where we will take a quick jaunt downtown in a way I’m not used to.