Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adventures in Public Transportation.

I took the bus yesterday. My friends in other cities are probably not so impressed, but in Louisville, this is kind of a big deal. It was mostly pleasant, as long as you don't try to read or play on your phone (I get motion sickness) and as long as you aren't in a hurry.

That's not to say you can't get somewhere on time using public transport here. It's just that the bus is not going to come when the route planner says it will. As FWT says, it's either "ten minutes early or thirty minutes late." It's hard to say which. A tweet from him this morning reads "bus is to schedule as hippo is to rain jacket."

The solution, I think, is just to relax and not worry about when you'll get there. That's not particularly helpful when you're going to work (as FWT this morning after one hour travel time from the Highlands to his downtown office, again most of which was waiting for the bus to arrive). I missed opening pitch of the Bats game last night, though I was at the bus stop 12 minutes before it was supposed to be there. The schedule told me I'd arrive 18 minutes early. The trip took -- from my house in the Highlands to Slugger Field -- a total of 50 minutes, but only about 20 of those were actually spent on the bus.

Still, it was a really pleasant trip because I don't really care about baseball. Not having to park my car was surely the biggest bonus because there was both a Bats game and Waterfront Wednesday going on. Downtown was packed.

Also, the last time I took the bus for transport here was two summers ago when I was car-free for a couple of months. After waiting at the stop 30+ minutes in 100 degree weather, I was swarmed and stung multiple times by sweat bees before I was able to run inside the Wine Market for shelter and chardonnay (confession: I actually despise chardonnay, but "shelter and chardonnay" sounded nice). I then called someone and got a ride, and I bought a car later that week.

Maybe I've just got bad luck with the bus in Louisville. It really was fun once I was onboard, despite the woman behind me shouting into her cell phone. The seats were clean, the driver was super-helpful and friendly, and I loved seeing Bardstown Road from the view of public transport. Our city looks impressive from a tourist POV, and I love not having to drive. I just wish things here ran like they do in Japan or Germany. Well, the bus schedules anyway.

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