I've been grounded.
Due to a temporary medical condition, my doctor has ordered me off the bicycle for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. (Any longer, and I would've gotten a second opinion from Dr. Kervorkian!) I won't go into graphic detail... let's just say it involves the part of me that comes in contact with the bike saddle. (Ouch!)
So, for the first time in several years, I'm letting ValleyRide attend to my transportation needs.
I bought a 31-day "employee pass" - it cost me $32.
The "regular" pass costs $36, so I saved 4 bucks. Big wup. (I'll probably save a few bucks over paying $1-per-ride. Hopefully I won't have to decide how to continue, a month from now.)
Let me digress. My place of employment is surrounded by parking lots. If an employee chooses to drive to work alone every day, the company will subsidize $40 of the $60/month parking lot expense. But they'll only offer a $4 incentive to ride the bus for that same month. What's wrong with this picture? IMO, they should gladly pay the entire bus pass fee, for anybody who's willing to use it, and get a car off the road!
I ride the #4 Roosevelt bus. I walk .3 miles from my house to the bus stop. The bus comes by at 7:50. By 8, or shortly thereafter, I'm getting off in downtown Boise, for a 2-block walk to the office.
In the evening, I catch the bus at 5:15, and am walking the .3 miles home by 5:30. (Yesterday afternoon, as I rode in that dry, warm bus, looking out at a gloomy, rainy day, I've got to admit it was nice to be on the bus, instead of on my bike!)
Yep - the bus is pretty sweet. It enables me to retain my contempt for all those single-occupant-vehicle drivers out there. And it will let me preserve my track record - the last time I drove a car to work was September 1997. That will not change. (Even if my 2.5 year perfect bicycling record has been spoiled.)
But I can't help but wonder... why are 30-plus of the 36 seats on the bus empty? On my three rides so far, there have been 2-4 passengers. That, my friends, is a problem! And unfortunately, it's also a very valid argument for opponents of public transportation.
Could they improve ridership with better routes? (I can't imagine a better timetable - you'd think a bus arriving downtown at 8am should be packed!)
Or... are people so lazy and/or inflexible that they won't look at alternatives until gas is $4/gallon? Or $5, or $6? (Time will tell. You know it's just a matter of time. If people will pay $3, they'll likely pay $4.)
One criticism... as in many places, Boise's city buses have big windows, that should afford good views in every direction. But so far, the buses I've ridden have windows that are so "scummed up" that they don't afford much of a view. I don't know if it's dirt on the outside, or gunk on the inside, or scratches, or tint-film, or what. But how much more pleasant the ride would be, if somebody could Windex those windows from time to time!