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Day 1 of Public Transit August 28, 2006

Posted by fajita in Grad School Life.

Feeling a little nervous I might miss the bus, I arrived at the Burnsville Public Transit Station early. I triple checked the number of my route to make sure I didn’t get on the wrong bus. 465u express. The route numbers are lit up in yellow on the front of the bus – can’t miss them. If you know your route number, you’re good to go.

Bus drivers don’t make change. It was good to know this in advance, so I came with my $2.75 counted out. Most people had a pass card that fit into a slot, made a beep, and then they were good to go. On my return trip, I will have one of those cards from the university.

The 7:05 am bus actually departed at 7:09 AM. The bus was about half full, which was nice because I didn’t have to sit next to someone. We entered the freeway at rush hour, so the very beginning of the ride was pretty slow going.

Minneapolis campus by 7:41? We’ll see.

The ride is bumpy and sometimes jerky. Never board a bus while needing to go to the bathroom. Too risky. Don’t think you can just hold it unless you have an iron sphincter. I boarded well refreshed – and empty.

The Metro bus system in the Twin Cities has its main metro busses serving Minneapolis and St. paul and maybe a few of the innder ring suburbs, but then the rest of the suburbs have their own busses that integrate into the Metro bus system. I am riding a Minnesota Valley Transit Authority bus. These busses serve the southern suburbs south of theMinnesota River (Burnsvilee, Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville and some others). They all go to the same places so I am not sure why there has to be all these different transit authorities.

The seat is surprisingly comfy. Not like a kid’s yellow school bus with the bouncy seat covered with green vinyl.

We’ve picked up some speed, but we are not in the commuter lane, which busses have a right to use. We just got passed by another MinnesotaValley bus. I wonder why we are not in the “fast” lane. Oh yes, we’re cruising now. Love it. I am typing and not driving. I am being transported, not transporting. This is terrific. I always drive no matter who is in the car with me.

Now we’re passing by my old church where I was a youth minister once upon a time.

The cost for the bus, even at the full rate of $2.75, is a steal. If I drove myself, one way would be at least a gallon of gas (optimistically).

What’s this, we’ve taken an exit and this is an “express” bus. This in an off ramp from the highway and here is a bus stop at the bottom of the ramp. Looks like we will go straight and enter right back on. I guess an express bus can make a stop or two. This explains why we were not in the commuter lane. We stopped and no one got on. Waste.

Anyway, the cost is a wash if gas stays at $2.75 a gallon. Oh, but then there is university parking $3.50 per day if I get lucky and $5.25 if I don’t, and then I’m walking 6 blocks. Not too bad unless it’s 20 below zero with wind. Nope, I’ll save the $3.50 a day, get dropped off right where I want to be by riding the bus. Furthermore, I get this sweet deal through the university for bussing and light rail transit. $62.00 a semester  gets me all the transit I can stand to anywhere in the Twin Cities. So, that’s about $15.00 per month making my daily commute round trip about 80 cents. In my car, 80  cents gets me about 10 miles down the road on gas, and that’s not including wear and tear. What a deal.

Lots of people sleeping on the bus. Lots of mp3 players. Not a single person talking. One guy is reading the newspaper. These are all university people in one way or another.

An automated sounding voice just said, “Lake Street.” I don’t know why besides the fact that the Lake Street exit is coming quickly.

We just passed my new church where I have no status and I like it that way.

We’re moving over to the right lane, which I guess means we’ll be at Lake Street soon.

Well, there goes the Lake Street exit and we didn’t leave the freeway. I guess that was my invitation to get off at Lake Street if I wanted to. We’re near downtown Minneapolis as the skyscrapers have come clearly into view.Minneapolis is a beautiful city. Oh look there is Sean Hannity on a billboard. Sorry, Sean, won’t be listening to your ranting today – or ever.

We’ve got 6 minutes to make it on time. Since there are no weather issues or crashes on the freeway, it’ll be close to see if we make it on time.

Just took the exit that gets us to the bridge that crosses the Mississippi to get us to the East Bank of the U of M. I just heard that same voice again, “Anderson hall.” It is the actual bus driver’s voice, but it sounds a little robotic. Someone pressed a button above her head which triggered a large red bar to light up in the front of the bus. That’s why we didn’t stop at Lake Street, no one pressed a button.

“Coffman Union,” says the robotic bus driver voice again. We all press a button.

7:39 AM. 2 minutes early. I guess skipping Lake Street made a difference.

In short, I am a fan of public transit after day 1.



1. Jeanna (Beaner) - August 28, 2006

Grew up in Chicago taking the CTA to & from high school several days of my life. Standing room only. Sweaty & stinky. Get off 1 bus, wait for a tranfer. Get off 2nd bus. Wait for a transfer. Get off 3rd bus. Walk 2 blocks to my Grandma’s house. (Going to my OWN house would have only meant 1 bus, but no Grandma.)

Glad you survived! Just don’t get too comfortable – you don’t want to fall asleep & miss your stop!

2. Jenni - August 28, 2006

Public transportation is great if convenient….I think I’m about to join those ranks also — if my house contract goes through, there is a train station very near…..and drops me off in the basement of my building! Talk about convenience!

3. fajita - August 28, 2006

glad you made it – suprised I read your blog? See ya latter -Love, your wife

4. fajita - August 28, 2006

Love that you read my blog!!!

5. Greg - August 28, 2006

I’m glad you made it too. Sounds like you’ll have 29-32 minutes of reading/typing/mp3ing/holding it/staring and that strange guy every day for just 80cents! What a bargain! Here in Jonesboro it would take about 30 minutes to ride the bus from my house to the library, a distance I’ve established I can walk in less than 30 minutes, and it costs a dollar.

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