Public Transit – Bravo or Bust?

oc bus lineupOn most days, I drive my little compact SUV into the office, a quick 3km jaunt, taking an average of 6.376 minutes. On nice, sunny, summer days, I may instead, be seen venturing out to work on my bicycle, equipped with my helmet, messenger bag, and sporting my professional work attire, avec biking shorts sous ma jupe, (I’m practicing my French!  Translation: biking shorts under my skirt) for my quick “superwoman change’ and taking an average of 11.827 minutes plus 1.592 minutes to lock up. And, on rare occasions, when the Big D loads his mountain bike on the back of the Sportage, he kindly deposits me curbside.  angrybirdcookies black shadowThe walk home takes an average of 29.72 minutes. (Including the pit stop at the BOKO bakery on Elgin Street, for Moukie’s favourite Angry Bird iced cookies). And in the winter, there are other times, when I take the bus home (12.831 minutes) … as I happen to, just the other day.

For the bargain deal (note the hint of sarcasm), of $3.30 CDN I will partake in the time-honoured tradition of utilizing public transit.  second cup revisedI suppose in many cities, $3.30 is a rock bottom deal, but I would prefer to spend my funds on a daily decaf non-fat butter pecan latte at Second Cup.   Yummmmm … butter pecan in liquid form.  This winter I’ve had more than my fair share of bus rides.  (Ohh…was that when the Big D lost my set of keys to the car you ask?  Why ‘yes’, yes it WAS the only set left after he lost HIS and not had them replaced … hmmmm…. coincidentally, it was also the same time we were out in the freezing cold with Mouks and the pooch for a New Years Day snowshoe excursion; and, you would be correct in noting that it was this particular instance in which we had to have the car towed to the dealership, and had to wait almost an entire week until we got a new set made….uhhhhhh…. Yeah.  Mmm Hmmm.. That was then.)  So, this winter, I’ve frequented the bus a number of times. And here are a few things I’ve observed:

  1. People at the bus stop rarely look you in the eye in this fair city.
  2. $3.30 is a stupid amount of change, but a great way to get rid of your coinage.
  3. A ‘thank you’, can go a long way, so I make sure to say a kind word to the bus driver. He can kick you off… right? But not for jamming all your pennies in the money-box thingy, can he?
  4. People don’t say ‘excuse me’ much.
  5. And what’s with taking up TWO seats??!!! Is there any particular reason why your bag warrants its own seat during rush hour?!! I think not! So… move… either your dumb bag or entitled ass – over.
  6. The majority of the world is attached to a digital device. Like, almost literally. I think implants will be next… If someone isn’t listening to music, they’re texting, talking on the phone or checking emails. Just an interesting little observation; I’m not offended.
  7. That smell has to come from somewhere – and it sure the heck isn’t me!!!
  8. There is a wide age range of people taking public transport.
  9. Does it look like I want to jump over a mile high pile of snow to get out of the back doors in THESE boots??!! Thanks so much, but I think NOT!
  10. And yes… of course I loved being splashed by that giant puddle! Heartfelt gratitude for your consideration!
  11. Gotta love that the city silenced one of their drivers for singing on the bus. (Again… sarcasm, but true story). There goes the value-added for your whopping $3.30. Seriously? The guy is stuck there, on his little perch with nothing but the road ahead and a bus load of people … what’s the problem with spreading a little happiness? Check out this link oc transpo driver silenced   Note the video at the bottom of the article, with him singing.
  12. And the City actually had to debate blasting a LRT tunnel through downtown?!!?  ‘Cause our roads are sooo spacious with the backlog of buses, taxis, cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles sharing the road while trying to flee the downtown core during rush hour. Not to mention the amount of pedestrians waiting for said transport. I mean, really, does a major city actually NEED a subway system?!  DOH! 
  13. Presto! Auto pay passes… still aren’t fully operational. Shocker. They were only supposed to roll out, I dunno…. a year ago?! Nice idea – poor implementation.
  14. Oh yes… let’s not forget the GREAT idea of double-decker buses in a city that gets freezing rain and ummmm record snowfalls. Yup. GREAT idea. THAT was a c-l-e-v-e-r.
  15. And, similar thoughts on the accordion (articulated buses)…. though, it is a little fun to sit in one of the seats in the middle; kinda like a low-grade tilt-a-whirl when you go around a corner.

oc transpo Collage

And each day, as I sit in my downtown office, overlooking the busy street, I hear the rumble of the buses, the squeal of their brakes, and I can even smell the slight faint stench of their exhaust through my sealed window; and despite all the frustrations and idiosyncracies of public transit, I am still brought back in time to the sweet thoughts of buses and babies, and the song I sang repeatedly to Mouks when he was just a wee young lad:

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round… The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town…”

“The money on the bus goes ‘clink clink clink’, ‘clink clink clink’, ‘clink clink clink’… The money on the bus goes ‘clink clink clink’, all through the town …” 

…   …  …

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10 thoughts on “Public Transit – Bravo or Bust?

  1. I’ve been on PT around the world (Canada, US, Europe and South America). Public reactions seem much the same as you describe We do get insulated from it all in the privacy of our cars.

    I envy you the short commute. People in Silicon Valley average 45 minutes to an hour each way. Never fun.

    It’s crazy how expensive a set of replacement keys are for a car now that everything is so complex. And what a long wait you had. (Are you and hubby back on speaking terms yet?)

    Love this post!

  2. You are the Michelangelo of sarcasm my dear. I didn’t know Ottawa had double deckers, that seems like it’d be way fun but I can see winter would be a problem. I haven’t been on a bus for a long time, but we’ve used the train a lot living downtown. It’s clean enough, but I wish people wouldn’t put their feet up on the seats and leave their coffee cups and papers…come on people. I wouldn’t at all take it at night though, there’s been assaults and there’s no security presence except camera’s…that’s hardly going to save you. They’re in the process of expansion which is great, less cars is a good thing. I’d much rather read a book and listen to tunes on my way to work than battle the morning rush…it’s dangerous for little ol’ ladies in PT’s, HA. Enjoyed your post cuz….have an awesome day in your executive office. xoK

    • Lol! Executive office! Ha! That’s a good one! Yeah… We sooo need a train, but hopefully they’ll get around to blasting that hole through the downtown underground, and we’ll finally get a subway of sorts. There’s just been a history of poor city planning here, and of not looking toward the future needs of the city. Just wait til i write about my biking excursions…. Ohhh yes,.., summer riding will be a blast again! 😉

      • Someone told me that they consider the aesthetics of the capital city before practicality. Like as far as road signs and what not? But practicality goes so much further when you need to get to work. Really, underground Light Rail is the way to go. Especially with the winters here. BTW, good for you to get out and snowshoe, we didn’t use our Xcountry skis at all this year…loafer extraodinaire here 😉

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