Today heralds a new beginning! The beginning of the public transportation week! Gone our those evil ways of driving and with us now is the Intercity Bus system of Thurston County!

Today I had to be at the shop for work at 8:30 am to cater a luncheon for the Centralia Chamber of Commerce. I was only six minutes late to the shop. Here’s why: I left my apartment at 8:12 am to catch the 62A going up the hill at 4th Ave and Eastside. The 62A leaves downtown at 8:15. As the bus approached I realized I didn’t have my tie with me. I knew the 66 was going to leave downtown at 8:18, so I sprinted home (three blocks) and was halfway back to the bus stop when I saw the 66 head up 4th. That was at 8:20. Apparently that means it took the 66 only two minutes to travel those eight stop light studded blocks? Man, I guess that’s just bad luck for me. Thankfully, the 62B left downtown at 8:30 and I was able to clock in by 8:36.

Of course I wasn’t able to take public transit to the job site in Centralia. The scheduling doesn’t work out too well, nor does the fact that we have to bring all the food from the shop to the work site. I wonder how much stuff they do allow people to bring on the bus. I know that in other countries people bring farm animals on buses: when I was in southern Chile I once saw the bus driver help a man load a live (anesthetized) sheep into the lower storage compartment. I also saw a guy traveling with four car tires. I couldn’t fathom seeing either of those situations on an Intercity Transit bus!

So after I clocked out I went to catch the bus at Central and State to get down the hill. I had to wait all of six minutes for the 62 arrive. I rode it for a whopping one minute and then walked the four blocks to my apartment. I wonder what people think of a healthy young man who rides the bus downhill for two stops. To me it felt frivolous. This does not seem to be what the bus is for. 

I had a fantasy today. I don’t own an iPhone, nor have I ever used one, but I’ve heard they have programs (“applications?”) that do fantastic things. Here’s my idea: track every bus in a transit system by GPS. Then the iPhone application lets you track the location of every bus, live! That way I can know I can catch bus X at such-and-such location in ten minutes or I can walk two blocks east and catch bus Y in four minutes. This seems so technologically feasible to me! Someone please make this happen!

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