Thursday, April 10, 2008

Riding The Bus

Growing up on 10 acres, the only way to get anywhere was to have a car. When I moved to the Bay Area, I had a car and never rode public transportation. I never thought I needed to and certainly didn't *want* to. I've lived in Idaho since 1993 and again, have always had a car. When I first moved here, I did carpool for a while because my husband worked at a job near mine and at the time, they were widening I-84 from 2 to 3 lanes so traffic was bad. After that, I went back to commuting alone. I've always lived in Meridian or West Boise and have worked downtown for 13 of the 15 years I've been here, so my commute has usually been between 10-15 miles each way. Not far by comparison in most towns, but far enough that the cost and wear and tear on the vehicle is noticeable.

In the summer of 2007, I started noticing a bunch of people standing on the corner outside my subdivision and then I would frequently get behind the bus going down Chinden. I then noticed that when the bus got here, it actually stopped the building where I worked and I had to park 2 blocks away. I knew my employer offered some sort of bus pass, but didn't know anything about it. So, I checked with them and found that if I rode the bus and gave up my monthly parking pass, I would not only save money but be able to park in the fancy garage below the building (meaning never step foot outside when arriving at work or leaving) 10 times per month!! This is quite the deal. I called Valley Ride and found out what time the bus stopped outside my subdivision and have been riding every day since last July. I do drive about once a month, usually if I have an errand to run that is near work, but most things I need to come home anyway (usually to get Aaron) so I just ride the bus and then grab the car and go.

The first day I rode, a young man fell asleep on my shoulder as we rode. This was a little disconcerting, but as a Mom, I let him sleep until his friend laughed and woke up him. My husband was appalled and had been questioning why I was riding the bus anyway.

When I visited CA in October, I told my family I was riding the bus and they all looked at me like I was crazy. I've found this to be common. People wonder why someone with a perfectly good car would ride the bus. I'll tell you why. I save money yes, but more importantly, I don't have to worry about a thing driving to work. In fact, I get to read, visit with someone, listen to my ipod or just stare off into space. I don't get upset about traffic, worried about icy roads or pissed off at other drivers.

Since I've become more comfortable with public transportation, we actually rode the bus in San Diego to go shopping after our cruise and even rode it up in McCall so we didn't have to find a parking place in town. Also, when I visit the Bay Area now, I am much more likely to ride BART or the bus system there because I have an idea how it works.

I love riding the bus and recommend anyone who has it available give it a try!! Most people that ride the bus are very nice and helpful and welcome new riders and will help you out. All the drivers are a kick, and I've enjoyed getting to know them as well.

1 comment:

BosieLadie said...

Every little bit, even every person who give up the drive to save the planet, is a good thing! I do not believe the bus system comes out my way, believe it or not. And we're just a few miles (maybe just over 3 miles) apart! I do know a bus stops in front of my employer too, but that's in Boise. I think it's a cool thing to do!