Fri, Mar 3
Bustang by Myron, Post 7
Post 7 – “Ding”
Myron works for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff as a Senior Supervising Planner. Myron commutes by Bustang from Fort Collins every day, and kindly agreed to write about his experiences for a series of blog posts. Read them in order starting with Post 1 – Hi, I am >BUZZ< and I ride a bus.
And from DUS, we ride along, listening to the automated next stop announcement and the ding of “Stop Requested” notification. And the ding, and the ding, and the… During morning rush, we don’t ever miss a stop.
I really am a creature of habit, and when I’m not walking the mile to work from DUS I use the same bus routes almost religiously. It’s not because I’m in a rut but because I use the most efficient way to get back and forth. In the morning, I like the Free MetroRide. In the evening, before 4:00 I take the MetroRide, after 4:00 I take the 16th Street Free MallRide shuttle.
So my walking threshold is plus 30 degrees, with minimal wind, dry, on a downhill grade, and with a hint of flowering citrus trees wafting through the city… Wait, that’s my ideal walk. Below freezing and/or snowing or raining is my signal to ride instead of walking.
In the morning, it’s great to walk in the bus concourse from bay 3 to bay 22 (which are practically right across from each other). Without having to set a foot outside, we wait in line for the four- to six-minute headways for the MetroRide. When it is very cold and snowing (which equals lots of riders), or when the buses get out of sync, we pack into the articulated vehicle with every seat filled and standers holding on for dear life. But, 95% of the time you do get a seat and you do not see the same seat saving measures as some riders use on Bustang (see blog #4). What you see are people gauging bus capacity and sliding over to make room as the bus fills. You also see gentlemen and young ladies offering their seats to older riders. Makes me smile.
And from DUS, we ride along, listening to the automated next stop announcement and the ding of “Stop Requested” notification. And the ding, and the ding, and the… During morning rush, we don’t ever miss a stop. Ding, Ding, Ding. It’s about 15 minutes from DUS to the Civic Center Station where I get off, walk across the street and into the warm confines of my building. “Ding, going up.” Pretty sweet.
When I need to ride in the evening, unless I leave early, I take the MallRide shuttle. Why, you ask? Because my trip begins during the evening commute rush, as I’m catching the Bustang that leaves at 4:50 or 5:20 from DUS. During rush hour, the 15 minute Metro ride can range to more than 25 minutes.
I once left the office at 4:55 to catch the 5:20 and in a bit of good luck walked right onto the Metro. Yes! One of my co-workers, Jim, was finishing up something and planned on catching the same Bustang. This was the day that changed my evening pattern because I had to dash from bay 2 to bay 3 at 5:22 and barely made it onto Bustang as the driver was finishing his safety walk-around. I was worrying Jim would have to wait until the 6:15 Bustang…until I got on and saw Jim already sitting and settled in for the ride. He left after I did, but took the MallRide shuttle, where rush hour doesn’t affect the trip time. Rush hour just means the shuttle is more crowded.
Being on the eastern end of the route, the MallRide shuttle isn’t too full when I get on. I don’t wait at the first stop if I can’t see a shuttle, and begin walking west. (Remember, I’m catching the shuttle because its cold and moving keeps me warmer.) At every block there are a couple of us doing the “shuttle shuffle,” looking back as we approach the stop, deciding if we should keep walking or if the shuttle will overtake us before the next stop. The shuttles get crowded, which is a testament to its success, but generally people are courteous and queue to get on and off. The seats sometimes fill, but I stand. Hint to shuttle designers – make the seats taller or take them out. I think people, me included, do not sit because it’s uncomfortable to have standers’ butts or crotches in your face. There is already a reduction of personal space, it doesn’t need to be that personal.
These are my last mile transit options. Dang good options, and free. Thank you RTD.