Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Wrong Bus

My bike chain broke when I started pedaling earlier this week, so even though the weather has been nice (for lunatic-cyclist values of "nice") I've been taking the bus to work the last few days. I don't mind riding the bus. Given gas prices, I figure it costs as much to take the bus as it would cost us in gas for Laura to drive round-trip from home and drop me off. And I generally bring a book and get a bit of reading done while I'm on the bus. People on the bus are generally friendly, or at least not actively hostile or crazy, and I'm scruffy enough that I blend in and don't look like a target to the occasional thug or scam artist. And the bus drivers tend to be good at what they do. This morning, though, I found out that there are some routes I'm happier avoiding. The bus I was on is, coincidentally, the one than runs by the Saturday-morning methadone clinic. A bus packed with strung-out junkies doesn't make for a relaxing ride. At least none of the arguments turned into actual fights.

Really, I'm not unhappy with Indy's bus system. Some of the buses are pretty old and ride pretty rough, and most of the routes stop running earlier than is convenient for me (and none of the routes run past midnight). But the buses are generally clean and on time. If I don't mind walking a bit I can get almost everywhere in Indy in about two hours at the most. A few more routes, and some newer buses, and Indy would have a pretty competitive public transit system. If I had to overgeneralize, I think the biggest problem with the system is that the people who make all the decisions never ride the bus. They probably don't even know anyone who regularly rides the bus....

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