Monday, January 9, 2012

DDOT/SMART Bus Adventure #2: Waiting with baited breath

The schedule actually allowed for bus/biking two times last week, which was awesome. Thursday, I was able to structure it that I took the SMART to and from work (aka made it during those pesky 'peak' times). Friday though. Friday, a DDOT/SMART adventure was planned, and I even had a pal to navigate the new system with!

My friend Christina and I meet up - normal time to take the SMART downtown. We end up meeting some other friends at the Park Bar/Bucharest Grill for some post-work cocktails/snacks. We enjoyed what Bucharest is famous for - de-lish shawarma, and hence the reference to baited breath. We will do anything for bus safety, including creating a personal garlic shield. #watchitbuscreepos

Around 9:10pm, Christina and I head out to pick up the bus in front of Comerica Park - and on what proved to be another (spoiler alert) almost two-hour tour.

9:12pm - is that a DDOT Woodward 53? IS IT? Or wait - is that TWO Woodward 53s, leapfrogging their way up the street? There is clearly a schedule issue here, but we just happened to be on the correct side of it (this time).

9:14pm - DDOT success! The bus is packed, no available seats but numerous other chivalrous bus riders offered us their seats.

9:25pm - A solo blues concert begins, with the following lyrics:
"People don't smell like they used to around here, around herrrre. Praise Jesus and Hallelujah!" The lyrics are beyond bus-appropriate, and this guy is actually kind of a good singer.

9:40pm - Arrive at the State Fairgrounds

10:15pm - The 9:53pm SMART 450 Woodward bus arrives. Approximately 15 people are waiting - so patiently and quietly, it's actually kind of eerie.

10:16pm - A man literally thinks he's Heath Ledger's version of The Joker and makes some pretty disturbing noises. "Weeeeeeee!!" and informs the bus "life is soooo much funnier when you smoke weeeeddd". I really start to miss the blues concert and creative lyrics. Other bus riders literally move seats away from this Joker.

10:35pm - Arrive in Royal Oak. So happy to see that my bike rear light (that I forgot to take with me in the morning) is still in place. The mean streets of RO were kind this evening!

10:55pm - Arrive home, safe & sound. Thankful for a beautiful night and good company to wait for the bus/bike.


I bike on average about 12 miles per hour. Doing the math (and yes, I will - the numbers never lie!) - we could have biked home in approximately 75 minutes. That's a 27% increase in time TO RIDE THE BUS.

As we were waiting at the State Fairgrounds, it just felt surreal. Not only was it spookily quiet, but it really got me thinking. Who are these people making these decisions about transit in our area? Do they have any idea what this is like?

So another call-to-action:


Yeah, we're talking to you.

Take a bus ride with us.
On an off-peak time.
See what your tax-paying citizens are having to deal with.

Are you up to the challenge?

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