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Why I Love the Bus

Posted by Matt on February 09 at 10:57 am
The Bus Stop

The Bus Stop

When I first started at Lima Beads, I would drive about 45 minutes to work, then park at the closest parking ramp. It was only about a 15-mile drive, but with rush hour traffic, it would end up being about an hour from when I got into my car to when I sat down at my desk. Not only was I wasting two hours every day trying to get to and from work, it was costing me about $10 a day for gas and parking. 

I bet a good majority of you are shaking your heads right now. Either you’re shaking it side to side in disbelief or up and down in a “I can totally relate” kind of way. Chances are, most of you can relate to my situation in some way.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a penny pincher, but most of my co-workers would agree that I don’t like to spend my money on silly things like six-dollar mochas or twelve-dollar lunches. So, when I was spending close to eight dollars a day to park my car, I knew I had to figure out some other way to get downtown.

Blake Transit Center

Blake Transit Center

That’s when I learned more about Ann Arbor’s excellent transit system. The Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) offers routes to just about anywhere in the Greater Ann Arbor Area. So, I would drive about 25 minutes to the mall and catch the bus to downtown. It ended up taking about 5 minutes longer than driving all of the way downtown, but it was worth it. I used less gas and didn’t have to pay for parking.

Last year, we moved into a new apartment. Now I live about 3 miles from work and it only takes me about 20 minutes to get here on the bus. We pay a bit more in rent than we would if we were living in nearby Ypsilanti, but living only 3 miles from work in one of the most beautiful parts of town is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Huron River

Huron River

Riding the bus is one of the most rewarding things I do on a daily basis. On the way to work, I get to see U of M’s North Campus, Lower Town, the Huron River, the Amtrak station, the Gandy Dancer, Kerrytown, the Farmer’s Market, city hall and finally the Ann Arbor News. Not to mention all of the environmental benefits to using public transit.

To be honest, the environmental advantages were kind of an unexpected positive to riding the bus to work. Now that “Going Green” is such a big deal, I can brag to my friends and family that I don’t even have a car. My wife and I share a car that we use to go back and forth to our parents house and do the occasional grocery shopping.

I’m by no means an environmental activist, but riding the bus every day is a great example of something that’s personally rewarding, but also has positive effects on a broader scale. If you have a similar story, share it with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Alice P
    Alice P says:

    Matt, it’s great that you are doing your part to help the environment! Just think how much work you can get done while riding the bus too!

    I live in a small rural town, a ‘bedroom community’ to a larger city about 40 miles away. There are very few jobs in my hometown, so most everyone commutes. Unfortunately I hate to think of the impact this all has on the environment. Sure, we could move to the larger city, but the town we live in has little to no crime, a great school and everyone knows your name. I dream of the day when hybrid cars become affordable and feasable for everyone.

    As for a bus story, last summer I tagged along with my husband on one of his business conferences to Tampa Florida. I got suggestions for a bead shop there from a bead forum member and was eager to visit the place. The hotel bellhop said it would be about a $20 ride there. Turns out it was $50 one way. That meant $100 for a round-trip cab ride coming out of my very small bead budget. A shopper at the bead store suggested I take the city bus back, which was much cheaper. The bus was dirty and stunk of body odor, and a woman with open sores all over her skin sat next to me. We went through several slum areas and were dumped off in a vacant parking lot where I was left on my own to try and figure out the Tampa transit system and which connecting bus would get me back to my hotel. After getting on the wrong bus I finally found the correct one, and was taken through more slum areas, and then left off in a bad area three blocks from where I could reach the trolly that would finally get me back somewhat close to my hotel. I arrived back at the hotel four hours later hot,thirsty, weary, shaking with hunger, frustrated, and holding a tiny sack of beads that had-in the end-cost me nearly $80.

    Alice

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Alice, I’m really sorry to hear about your experience with the local transit system. I guess I should be thankful that Ann Arbor has such a great system.

    I find it disappointing that some larger cities such as Tampa and Detroit don’t have the infrastructure in place to support a successful public transit.

    I’ve been to Chicago and New York a few times and have had nothing but great experiences.

    Whenever I’m downtown Detroit, riding the “People Mover,” I’m always pleased with the way it operates, but I feel that it’s just not enough.

    Again, I’m sorry about your experience. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Ode To The Bus, a haiku:

    I see you zoom by
    The leaves swirling in your wake
    Round and round you go

    Everyone write a haiku! If you’re not familiar, you want 3 lines. 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 again in the third.

    You’re not allowed to make fun of mine unless you write your own…

  4. Steve
    Steve says:

    stand at the corner
    hopefully peeking northward
    is it coming yet?

  5. No Photo
    Reesey W says:

    “one dollar, dear ma’am!”
    he gladly accepts my fare
    home on time again!

  6. No Photo
    Luv2bead - Little Chick says:

    good ones Reesey W. , Steve, & Kevin. :)

  7. Alice P
    Alice P says:

    a bus I’ll not take
    nor will I pay a cab fare
    i’ll just buy online

    yea for haikus! how fun!
    Alice

  8. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Thanks for the story about using the transit system to get to work, instead of paying the big $$ to drive and park.

    I’m a graduate student at Antioch University in Seattle, and have been working on campus since my job was cut last November. I take the bus to campus, both to work and for my classes, and every morning there’s an elder guy who sits in one of the front row seats along one side of the bus (the seats where folks who sit need to,because they can’t move around so well…). He often gives origami paper folded cranes to passengers on the bus who he sees. It’s such a blessing to watch him, he seems to get a lot of pleasure out of simply giving away the paper cranes that he makes to anyone. Okay, mostly that’s women, however I really appreciate what he teaches us about giving with no ulterior motive in mind!

    Joyce

  9. Aprils Beaded Jewelry De
    Aprils Beaded Jewelry De says:

    I hate riding the bus, because it takes you all day just to run errands. From one end of the town to the other and back and between. Ugh, before I know it my whole day is gone and it was wasted on the bus. I can’t wait to get my drivers license back!!!!

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