We’re all busy people; we all have volunteer organizations, meetings and committees to attend on top of work requirements. But when I first starting planning for this little adventure, I conveniently planned all my “extra-curriculars” outside of this week.
Until karma slapped me with an 8 AM meeting, the need to drop off some files at a satellite location, and a couple additional errands. So much for just going to work and home.
But you know what – that’s life. And this week is my life on the bus.
So, I woke up earlier than I like to catch the pre-7 AM bus from my home in the ‘burbs to get downtown. Got off at my transfer site right on time, and after a short wait, jumped on the second bus to arrive at my meeting by 7:40. Good start! Unfortunately, due to an “alternating route,” I couldn’t use the same stop when heading back into the city, but I had prepared for that (thanks to the nice dude on the bus who gave me the warning) and I packed the flip-flops just in case a little walking was required.
Things got a little more tricky once I got back downtown. I took a quick jaunt over to Kettering Tower from the Wright Plaza hub to deliver some files. A slight change in the schedule makes a major difference; now my timing was off. I made it back to the hub and realized that I had just missed the bus that would take me to work. Thought process: I can sit for 25 minutes and wait or I can walk the mile to the office. Thank God for the flip-flops. I was hoping to see a yellow bike, but alas – no relief. So, I walked until I made it back to the office. Just then I started to realize that, although comfy, flip-flops are not the walking shoes of choice.
Overall, I was really pleased with my morning. Safe, reliable transportation. Friendly people. Good times. However, at lunch I had to run an errand which was about 3/4 mile from work – not so far that the bus is needed, but I really didn’t want to walk it. My boss (thanks, boss!) kindly offered to “carpool” to help me out, but I’m trying to stick with the spirit of the adventure and see if I can make it happen. Not in a walking mood (although Kristen is inspiring me*), I grabbed the bus right outside my office for the short trip. Errand done, I had time to kill and lunch to eat. So – I headed into Yummy Burger. And what did I have?
Thai food, of course (and it was yummy). Here, friends, is a benefit of going car-less. If I had run my errand with my car, I most likely would have gone to a more familiar (and further away) place for lunch. But being that convenience was key, I tried something new and it paid off. Plus – I killed just the right amount of time to grab my bus back to the office for a less than 60 minute lunch hour. Sweet!
All is sunshine and roses. Good travel day, good work day. Time to pack up a bit after 5 PM. I shut down and head out to the ever-so-convenient bus stop right outside work, and I notice that I’m walking out 1 minute after the bus is supposed to be there. Please, God, let it be 2 minutes late. It wasn’t.
I know, I know – you warned me that I need to be early for the bus. But here’s the catch. In the morning – that’s okay – I’m only cheating myself out of sleep. But at lunch or in the evening, there’s not as much flexibility. Because for every extra minute I get to the bus stop early, that’s a minute I’m taking away from something else.
Patience is a virtue, but it’s not one of mine. I sit at my bus stop and review all my little maps to determine if there’s a different bus or different route near by I could still catch. I call the RTA line, but no one answers after 5:30 PM. Finally, the next bus came (after I’ve walked a good long way to find a bus stop with a bench). This bus takes me to my transfer stop, but the schedule is off now and I just missed my bus home and have to wait another 45 minutes. AUGH!Luckily, there’s a bar with a fine patio down from the stop. But my once-smart idea to pack some flip-flops proves not good enough and I’m wishing I had some better walking shoes. So, after a drink and flipping through a
couple local newspapers, I make my way out and wait the final 15 minutes for the bus. Which takes me 4 blocks from my house – a convenience I was really excited about early in the day, but had lost its luster after the end of the day. I make it into the house 1 hour and 50 minutes after walking out of work (usually a 15 minute drive).
So – what did I learn after one day? If you can work within the time schedules – the people are nice, the routes are convenient, and the bus can work out pretty well. But as soon you miss that one bus, plans go out the window and it’s tough to get back on track. I’ll also claim some “user error” on this one. But that’s why it’s a week adventure and I’m not giving up after a day.
Up next, my bike is coming with me on the bus. I am *hoping* that this results in the best of both worlds – convenient rides for the distances and quick trips for the errands. Famous last words…
* Reference to the lovely Kristen Wicker and her piece on walking as a primary means of Dayton travel. Check it out!