The car free challenge this month has been interesting, in the sense that I’m not really doing anything different than I normally do, we have been basically car free for quite a while, but I am more in tune with some of the other people I encounter, and some of the things that can be done via bus and walking.
For one of the few times, in my many years of using mass transit, the bus broke down on the way to the center to pick us up on Friday, 4 April, The bus operator who arrived shortly after, called and checked on the status, and a fellow passenger who I had never had much of a chance to chat with and I shared a cab to the medical district and downtown where we both work.
I have always joked with fellow passengers about MATA riders being family, and this is illustrated by my Saturday evening operators.
The Saturday 56 buses. which normally run to the Hickory Ridge Mall area do not go past the American Way Transit Center on Saturday, and the last 36 Hacks Cross leaves as I am getting to the bus stop downtown. There is about a five minute window between the 56 and the 36 arriving at the American Way Center. The 56 operator always asks if I need the 36, and I always make it.
Another example is that I had not seen an operator in months, if not years, yet I heard ‘Hey, Security! You still need the same stop?’
People use the bus for many things, but one that is very seldom mentioned is getting to and from worship services. Having worked many weekends over the last years, I am finding many houses of worship along the routes, and within a brief walk from the lines.
The only caution I would have for the new riders, is to make sure that the late evening buses run to their final destination. Some Sunday afternoon and late evening buses on Saturday and weeknights turn around and do not finish the last runs, so know before you go!