January 29, 2020 § 9 Comments
When I lived in Austin back around the time that dirt was invented or as Sherri likes to say, when God was a boy, we would ride our bicycles down Speedway en route to the ride, whichever ride it was.
On the way back we would pass the Laidlaw shuttle bus stops for the college. There was always a bunch of students standing at the bus stops. Kevin Callaway called them bus bunnies.
We even made a little song about the bus bunnies, but I can’t remember it. That is a good thing, I can assure you.
Since that time I have ridden a bus a few times, but not that often, and hardly ever in the United States with a couple of exceptions, for example the time I took the Flixbus from Los Angeles to San Diego. Otherwise, no bus for me.
Since I abandoned the car lifestyle, or as John Forester would say, have rejected motordom, I have made use of the train when I can’t get it done on my bike. There really has been no commuting scenario where I’ve needed the bus, even though it stops right outside my apartment.
Yesterday I had to catch a flight from LAX; that’s about 45 minutes and $45 via Uber or taxi. The best bike option was to ride over near the airport and stash my bike at Sausage’s house, then Uber the couple of miles to LAX. The next best option was to cycle to Manhattan Beach and stash my bike with Destroyer or Manslaugher, then take the free tourist bus to LAX.
This seemed kind of lame, though, relying on friends to pick up the slack created by my morally and environmentally superior lifestyle. Plus, I hadn’t asked any of them, and it was the The Day Of. So I decided, at the ripe old age of 56, to get around in LA by bus.
I walked to the bus stop, which is covered and has a nice bench, and I would have sat down had there not been a giant pile of vomit right there where my feet would have rested. Looked like pizza. Pepperoni.
I had to make one transfer, at Hawthorne and PCH, and then it was a straight shot-sort-of to LAX, or rather to the LAX bus terminal, from whence it was a solid 15-minute walk to Tom Bradley. My sole piece of luggage, a knapsack, weighed 22 pounds. It took 2:20 from my front door to the already-long queue at Turkish Air check-in.
Since I didn‘t have exact change for the first bus, the driver waved me on, free. That doesn’t happen ever with a taxi or at a gas station. Total cost would have been $3.50 instead of the actual cost, $1.75.
I know what you are thinking: “Almost two and a half hours for a 45-minute trip!”
I know. But you know what I am thinking? I’m thinking $1.75 < $45.00.
On the bus there is free Wi-Fi to go along with the free moral superiority, and even better, sitting on the bus is like being in church guided by Jesus. There you are, buffeted in the storm of traffic, but Jesus is at the wheel, or at any rate some big dude/chick with a tattoo and friendly smile. Unlike when you drive to LAX, none of the stress is on you. Plus, all the cars look so tiny, and if they get in a wrangle with your bus, they are gonna lose.
The people on the bus are like you, or rather, like me. They aren’t in any particular hurry and they think you’re just as much fun to look at as you think they are, like the boy and girl in pajamas ditching school while holding hands, or the two women on the way to work talking about their bosses in Spanish, or the two tourists who, like me, had never taken the bus before and were wholly unsure where to get off. *Note: They did have correct change.
Although I could pretend that I used the Wi-Fi to get work done, in fact I gazed out the window and listened to the two ladies talk and laugh. With Jesus at the helm, your work productivity tends to drop off. When the bus let me off, my moral superiority had grown about three sizes, so I had to turn my head sideways to get out.
I strode purposefully to the airport. I wanted to get a t-shirt or gimme cap that said, “Bus Bunny and Proud of It” or just shout to the world, “I AM BUS BUNNY, HEAR ME SQUEAK.”
But I didn’t.
Best two dollar investment you can make to become a pro bunny. Buy a TAP card at Metro online or train/major bus transfer stations. Load it up with 5,10,20 amounts, good for bus,trains across virtually all transportation agencies in So Cal. Like a “forever” gift card for the bus.
The bus bike racks are a fantastic bonus.
With your TAP card you can park all day for $3 at Culver City parking lots. Just a factoid for your friends still mired in motordom.
Have Mercy! Been waitin’ for the bus all day…
Got my brown paper bag and my take home pay.
Jesus just left Chicago, and he’s bound for New Orleans….
Not to mention “Magic Bus.”
I occasionally take the bus, usually when I’m at my mother-in-law’s house, and my bike is at home. It’s a quick and easy ride. The problem is that bus as well as another one I could take to go in a different direction only run once an hour. That makes scheduling a pain. That, and although I’ve checked the drivers, I still haven’t seen Jesus!
The next time the wife spots a bike in the garage that looks suspiciously like an n+1 new bike, I will just tell her it’s yours and that you dropped it off on the way to LAX. And then when she asks me about it again a month later, I can tell her that you were quarantined overseas with coronavirus. And then when asked again 2 months after that, I can say you got caught up in the latest Trump travel ban! This can work! Thanks Seth!
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