I hope that LADOT realizes that they don’t just need new buses. They need more buses. And, by extension, more drivers. Yesterday there were 16 people standing the entire way from the Encino Park and Ride (and most of those got on a few stops before that point) to the first stop in Westwood. That’s a long time to stand, especially when there aren’t good places to hold on. (Seriously, LADOT officials, try holding onto an overhead bar for an hour in stop-and-go traffic. Not good for the wrists or elbows or my carpal tunnel. And what about the people who can’t reach the bar?
For the past five years, I’ve commuted primarily by public transit. I had a brief flirtation with multimodalism (I used to bike to the bus stop on the home end of my commute), but that ended when the need to take our daughter to day care began.
When we lived in our apartment, I took Big Blue Bus to work. When we moved, we started taking Metro. I took the Orange Line to the 761, and John biked to the bus. But both of us found it really onerous–me, because my commute involved a lot of backtracking, and therefore took two hours in the evening, and John because he usually had to wait for at least 30 minutes to find a bus with an open spot on the bike rack.
Then we discovered LADOT Commuter Express, which picked us up and dropped us off just as conveniently as Metro, but on a much more direct route (and with better odds of bike space). So for nearly three years, we’ve used that as our primary mode of commute transit.
Yes, there are days that we drive–but they’re decidedly in the minority. I rode the bus until my last day at work before maternity leave, and started up with my first day back.
So, what are my thoughts on five years of riding the bus?
Well, I feel good about how I commute. I am delighted that I can get to work without being the one behind the wheel. I love having a chunk of time every day to read. I’m happy that I only have to pay for a tank of gas about once every 10 days. And I’m thrilled to be using our cars much less than many Angelenos do.
I’m also really looking forward to those new buses that LADOT is supposed to be rolling out this winter. Trust me, a 22-year-old bus is old.
Photo by LA Wad, via Flickr.