Random Bus Thoughts

24 Apr

As usual, I’ve had a lot of time this week waiting for the bus and riding the bus to think. So here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

Lost and found: Last night, I rode the 1 home around 9pm. The bus was fairly crowded so I sat down in the first row of the back half of the bus. I looked at the floor and saw a debit card there, and picked it up. Then I glanced to the row next to me and saw lot’s of wallet sized pieces of paper so I hopped across the aisle and picked those up – a medical card, gift cards for McDonald’s and Arco, random pieces of paper. It appeared as if a wallet had been gutted. I started to look around some more and saw keys on the seat behind me and grabbed those to.

When the bus stopped at a red light, I went up to the bus driver and handed her the items, asking her if she could bring them to AC Transit’s lost and found (though I’m concerned the items were stolen elsewhere and left on the bus so it might be useless). She seemed stunned and very grateful that I had brought her these things. I wondered – wouldn’t anyone do the same? But then I thought, the bus was crowded, and besides these three empty seats with stuff strewn about, there were several people sitting behind me, and I’m guessing some of them had noticed some of the lost items. The bus driver thanked me again on my way off the bus, and I’m hoping somehow Joseph is reunited with his cards and keys.

Rising bus fares: While I’ve been enjoying my $1.25 bus rides, I know this can’t last forever, and now it looks like when it ends, the cost might be jumping to $2.00, instead of the current $1.75. AC Transit, like pretty much every other local and state agency, is having budget problems, and as they’ve done so many times in the past, they’re considering raising rates. They’ll be having a public hearing on May 21st at 4pm at Oakland City Hall to ask for comments on the proposed increase. I’ll be there and I’ll make sure to post a reminder about it here.

My bus stop is even more legit: Recently, a bus shelter was installed at my 1R bus stop on Telegraph and 59th. I was pretty pleased at the time, but I’m even happier now. Earlier this week, a bench and trash can were added. I even got to sit on the bench one day when I had a bunch of stuff with me and was trying to find something to listen to on my iPod. Yes, I know it’s dorky that this kind of stuff makes me so happy, but I’m ok with that.

Hailing buses: I realized this week I have a skill that might not be as common as knowing how to hail a cab. Yes, I often hail buses. It might seem strange to those who don’t ride buses often, but it really comes in handy. For example, when a 1 is approaching with a 1R right behind it, I start walking towards the 1R at the very edge of the curb and waving at the 1R. Usually, it works, with the 1 passing me and the 1R stopping. Or sometimes, if I’m waiting in front of my apartment for the 1 and there are cars parked blocking the view, I step off the curb into the bike lane and wave at the bus. Yes, it would be better if I didn’t need to hail buses, but I’m glad I at least know how to when I need to.

Random bus meetings: I have to say that running into people I know on the bus is one of my favorite experiences. Maybe it’s because it happens so rarely, or maybe it’s because it reminds me that some of my friends actually ride the bus once in a while. Yesterday, I ran into Rebecca Kaplan on the bus and she sat down and chatted for a while. She was headed towards an AC Transit Board meeting, but she said that lately her life has mostly been consumed by campaigning. She’s constantly out seeking endorsements, reaching out to voters, and even when she gets home late at night, she catches up on email. I’m consistently impressed by her commitment to winning a seat on the Oakland City Council, which I think bodes well for how hard she would work for our city.

That’s all my random bus thoughts for now, but I’m sure I’ll have more to share soon.

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