What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

31 August 2011

In a Hurry? There's a Bus for That.

In our continued mission to use Capital Metro to see all the wonders of Austin, Chad and I had a go at a couple of express buses: The 982 and the 983.

This is the Lakeline P&R,
which is also a train station.
Enlarge the pick to see the
"Kiss and Ride" sign in the
background, designating
the drop-off zone.
First of all, the express buses are nice. Cushioned seats that recline, reading lights, free wifi, very quiet inside-- I can see why people prefer these buses over the regular ones. All we were missing was the in-flight movie. The point of the express buses is to get people from downtown to the outskirts of town in a reasonable amount of time, so they have fewer stops and take the freeways. So, we didn't get off and on like we would normally do, but instead rode each route from one end to another.

Both routes stop mainly at park and rides. So, I totally see the wisdom in this; you drive to a (free!) park and ride, take the bus into town, and then back again, saving the hassle of dealing with traffic and having to find parking. And all of the P&R stations that we stopped at had plenty of cars in them, so people have caught on that this is a good idea.

A couple of things in particular that I noticed: 1. The freight rail track runs down the middle of the freeway. I've seen this before, but it bears repeating, I think, just because it's such a good idea. Way to use space wisely! As to which was first, the freeway or the tracks, I don't know, but putting them together just makes so much sense. 2. The P&R stations, while being very nice in themselves, are some distance away from shops and even (in a couple of cases) residential areas. My transit-oriented self would like to see a transit station more as a part of the neighbourhood than stuck off to one side so that no one has to see it.

We actually rode all three
of these buses, but you'll
have to wait for the 383
So, here's our picture of one of us with the route sign, as usual. If you enlarge the pic, you might be able to read the larger sign, but I'll just tell you what it says:
Park-N-Ride Parking Rules
No Soliciting
No Littering
No Loitering
No Peddling
No Advertising
No Loud Music
No Skateboarding
No Overnight Parking
No Alcoholic Beverage Consumption or Open Containers
So now I'm wondering... how long do I have to wait for a bus before I go from "waiting" to "loitering"?

Conclusion? Well, the express buses aren't much use to me, since none of them come to my neighbourhood. But I think it's a brilliant idea. And the P&R concept is so well done, apart from my aforementioned qualm. Definitely something I'd use if I were in a position to do so!

Have you ever used a Park and Ride or similar scheme?


Kittie Howard said...

I love this system. It's kinda like what we have in the Washington, D.C. area, except that we, too, have to park a bit from neighborhoods and shops.

I say 'kinda' because old towns like Fredericksburg voted not to allow a metro stop. They thought the stop would spoil the area. Now they're very, very sorry but the damage is done. Same thing happened with putting a train down the middle of the highway...people in Virginia voted not to do that. D.C. is actually a small area; the state of Virginia determines much. *sighs*

Su said...

Bummer! It's kind of ironic (I think?) that people in the south who are anti-transit tend to think of it as a Yankee thing, while the Northeast clearly has a hard time with it, too. Just not quite as hard a time as here. :/

Linda Gray said...

Hello fellow Campaigner--we're in the same adult fiction group and I wanted to stop by to introduce myself. Nice to meet you!

JEFritz said...

I feel like the waiting/loitering thing is one of those questions that can break the universe.

Anyway, back in college, the parking lots were about a mile from campus, so they used a park and ride system to and from there. It was fairly well run, although not as cushy as yours :) My worst complaint? There were no runs after 5 pm, not good if you had a late class. It's was a good idea in general, though.

Jenna Cooper said...

My bus pass doesn't cover express buses. But I only ride it for about 10-15 minutes, so I don't really need it.

....Petty Witter said...

I love those Park N Ride rules. However I think they should add no loud mobile phone conversations and certainly no calls that last more than a minute or so. Or is that just me being a grumpy old woman?

Su said...

@Linda: Nice to meet you, too!

@JE: No runs after 5? That's cruel and unusual. Also, I love how the sign forbids all forms of capitalism, but fails to ban rollerblading or cycling.

@Jenna: A 15-minute bus ride practically IS express! ;) We got Chad a fancy-schmancy pass last month, but we've decided it's not worth it, not even for this project.

@Petty: No, I totally agree! When they took out the old public phones, they should have left the booths! ;)