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Friday, March 15, 2013

Bucket List Item #1

Bucket List Item #1

 I will ride the city transit in my city by going to the mall shopping.
 I contacted a friend who has been using the Transit System for about 4 years, and has become quite the expert.  While riding around on the bus I interviewed him and he knew in advance that I would be using the material for my blog.  I explained that I wouldn’t be using his name as I usually don’t like to expose my sources,  We jokingly agreed that I would use an alias for him, and the first name we came up with was Clark Kent.

I know it sounds crazy, especially to anyone that regularly uses the transit system, but trust me it was new to me and I felt a little excited about undertaking the item from my #1 Bucket List.  As long as I’ve lived, I never ever before, rode on a city bus or any other public bus.

I picked up Clark Kent at the main terminal by pre-arrangement, we actually had to run to get on board a bus that was just getting ready to pull out of the terminal.  I didn’t know where we were headed but Clark being the expert knew our destination all along.  We traveled to an adjacent city’s terminal.  Before I even started interviewing Clark, I sensed a feeling of traveling inside a very large GPS system such as the ones you use in your car.  I kept hearing the computerized (lady’s) voice calling out the next intersection approaching.

Once I got used to the constant voice of the GPS, I settled into asking the kind of questions that I wanted answered for the purpose of sharing.  The first question I asked was; considering that your travel for a month fluctuates with your schedule, how much would you say you spend on an average month for transit? The answer surprised me.  He explained that a onetime ticket for a bus ride is $1.25, but you can buy an all-day pass for $2.50.  His average per month is $30 dollars.  Being of brilliant mind (I select all my friends by their high level of intellect) he turned the question on me, and asked me how much I spend on just one vehicle.  My surprising answer (surprising to me because I normally don’t think about it) was that just on insurance alone my average per vehicle is about $75 per month.  The payment varies on the year of the vehicle, and make and model; I suppose a lease payment runs between 3 and 4 hundred per month.  I didn’t even care to estimate the amount of gasoline used per month.  With the present cost of gasoline one tank fill-up can run $70 to $80 dollars.  The bottom line is that there are many advantages to using the transit system.

Here now come the negatives; I asked Clark to tell me some of the negatives of riding the bus.  He has seen it all pretty much.  He has been riding when a bus was involved in an accident (of course this item is common even in your own car).  He has witnessed drunk and disorderly people get on the bus, regularly seen teenagers get on, that are cussing and raising their voices from the minute they get on until they get off.  He has witnessed fist fights break out.  He explained that the bus driver is like the captain on an airplane he has the ability to stop the bus and kick people off.  The bus driver can also contact his dispatch center for assistance.  My friend Superman (sorry I slipped I meant Clark Kent) has also witnessed a Police Car pull over a bus to deal with rowdy or belligerent passengers.

The first thing I noticed that was totally a new experience was not needing to secure my seat belt, and also seating on a bench seat that was aligned with the length of the bus (seating sideways).  When we arrived at one of the terminals I asked the Security Guard a few questions, and he basically repeated what my friend had told me about the negatives regarding passengers.  When I told him I was researching for a blog posting he invited me to return for a one on one interview.

I don’t feel that this item from my Bucket List was frivolous, and as usual I learn from everything I do.  I won’t be giving up my personal vehicles for a bus pass anytime soon.  A big thank you to Clark Kent for the time spent on completing my list item #1.  The best is yet to come….

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