It’s not as if I’ve never ridden a bus.
When I’ve ridden the bus before, it has been in a strange city, or because my car died, or I didn’t want to ride my bike home in the rain. Never before had I just decided to take the bus to go where I wanted to go and then come home again. But I did yesterday. What makes yesterday different is that I have reached a “certain age” and now can ride for free.
I am a spoiled westerner, married to my car. I know that people in the east regularly take public transportation. When I lived in Washington, D.C. for seven months, I took the bus and the Metro (subway train) daily to/from work and everywhere else I needed to go. But that’s because I didn’t have a car. I rode my bike, and I took the Metro.
My car is old and failing. I am rooting for it to survive another couple of years until I can buy an electric car with sufficient range to make sense for me. I absolutely refuse to buy another car with an internal combustion engine. So maybe taking the bus will give my car some relief and extend its life. Added bonus: I spent no money on gas when I took the bus.
Anyway, this is what I discovered yesterday.
The bus stop is a six minute walk from my house. The buses run on time. They’re clean. A little shabby, perhaps, but clean. The bus schedule is not always convenient to my schedule, so from now on, I will take a book. Or my knitting. It slowed me down, and gave me time to think, to look around, to appreciate the beautiful day, to enjoy the antics of the kids who were also waiting for the bus.
On the bus, I discovered there is a whole community of commuters who greet each other like old friends. They probably are, as they ride the same bus together every day. That was fun to see.
There are places in my town where parking is ridiculous. In fact, there are places I don’t even want to park my bicycle. So now I have an alternative. For certain, I will take the 6-minute bus ride to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
I picked up a bus schedule, although the website is amazingly easy to use. I had no idea that the buses run as frequently as they do, to as many places as they do. I didn’t even know that I can take my bicycle with me on the bus. This is truly a great alternative method of transportation. I, with blinders on, stuck in my car, had no idea.
But now I do.
And now and then, I’ll be riding the bus.