Once in an occasional series

Today’s going to be a long one: I’ve already ridden four buses just to get to work. Later, there will be three more buses and two subway rides since I’m heading downtown for an event after work, then need to travel the 14 miles back home.

Big Blue Bus

"Big Blue Bus". Photo by VaguelyArtistic via Flickr.

So yes, it’ll be a long day, but a good one too. I like riding the bus, especially when it gets me where I need to be on time without the hassles of parking. But taking transit can be an act of faith: I know I can control my departure time for catching the bus, but everything else is out of my control, especially if my itinerary includes multiple transfers and buses that run infrequently.

Today’s commute tested my faith in public transit. I live in Santa Monica off Wilshire Boulevard, so usually I hop on the Big Blue Bus 2 if it comes by before the Metro Rapid 720, since I can bypass transferring. But this morning’s BBB 2 bus broke down a few blocks after the intersection of Wilshire and Bundy.

The BBB 2 only runs every 20 minutes, so I galloped in my Dansko clogs to the Metro Rapid stop at Barrington Avenue, about half a mile away. (Along the way, we gave someone waiting for the BBB 2 the heads up about the bus breakdown.)  The rest of the trip included the 720 to Wilshire/Westwood (bus #2), where I switched to my second Big Blue Bus day of the day (the local 12; bus #3). And since I missed my stop, I rode the BBB 12 to the Hilgard Terminal and switched to the Campus Express (bus #4).

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait very long for these buses, so things worked out. I know that my travel time could have taken much longer.

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While on the bus, Juan read off some morning headlines to me via his Nexus One:

1) President Obama announced that High Speed Rail in California is getting $2.5 billion dollars. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood gushed on his blog (he has one!) about how President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the list of high speed/inter-city rail recipients of stimulus money. California had originally asked for $4.7 billion dollars, but it was also competing against 44 other applicants. (Source: LA Times).

2) Expo Line delayed again project since a permit allowing 24/7 construction was revoked amid noise complaints. The project is now more than a year behind schedule and over $220 million dollars over budget.

3) Hipper-than-thou areas like Hollywood, K-town, and Downtown, and USC (wait, WHAT?) being targeted by Metro for Bicycle Sharing programs, per LAist/Streetsblog. Multiple city councilmembers went on the record extolling how bike sharing would meet the needs of their districts; Jan Perry even noted her office has been working to develop its own program to connect downtown to USC (although this was news to LADOT bike coordinator Michelle Mowery).

Paul Koretz has had bikes on the brain for some time – recently his office wrote a letter advocating for a better bike plan highly praised by the LA County Bicycle Coalition — but now I wonder what he has to say now that Jan Perry has stated her office’s plans for a sharing program by our so-called crosstown rival.