09 March 2009

Petty Heartbreak

It's a beautiful 70 degree day, and I had the afternoon to myself. So, I impulsively planned to catch my first spring game, down at Phoenix Muni. The parking there is a headache, so why not relax on the bus and light rail instead?



This time of day, most Phoenix routes run on the half hour, and three lines stop near my house and head towards light rail stations. My first two choices, the 32 and 70, both are scheduled to stop at 11:25AM. The 39 bus, which kinda takes me out of my way, stops at 11:32.

I get to the bus stop at 11:21, confirmed digitally. Neither bus arrives at 11:25. The 39 arrives right on time (11:31), but I wave him by, hoping one of the other two is running 5-10 minutes late. 11:40...nothing. 11:45....11:50 nothing.

At this point, I'm half an hour late. The bad news is, I havent purchased a game ticket yet and will have to stand in line at Muni and miss the first part of the game. The good news is I havent purchased a ticket and can just forget the whole thing.

It's a pleasant day and I brought a good book. If I had to get to the game, I could, but this is a pleasure trip and my sneakers have already been breezed by pickups and semis doing fifty up Glendale Avenue for half an hour. There's plenty of other things to do and it's still a beautiful day.

As I walked home, the next 70 arrived at 11:52, three or four minutes early - a double accordion transporting almost no one. Gee, cant imagine why.

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part (Tom Petty)

The Waiting is the Hardest Part (Kodak)

3 comments:

Jeff said...

With all the technology and the interwebs today... amazing that things still don't run on time. At least you had 70 degrees. Here in the Chi, we just have bitter cold rain.

Michael Norton said...

Most cities in this country don't take public transportation seriously, which is one of the great tragedies of our time. There is a Catch-22: the service sucks because they don't have any money because no one rides, and no one rides because the service sucks.

Even if they run on time, the hub and spoke system used makes getting anywhere take twice as long. A fifteen minute drive from my house takes over an hour on the bus because I have to go ten miles out of my way. Think I'm not going to drive every day?

Matt said...

Most cities in this country don't take public transportation seriously

I'd expand that to most people dont take PT very seriously either. I definitely hear what you're saying, but it's hard to justify funding a best in class system that saturates the grid ( one that runs busses and trains every eight minutes and might eventually recoup most of its costs), when hardly anybody rides your 15-30 minute version.

In PHX anyway, there's a lot more talking abour how we need this PT or that - and far fewer people who get out of their cars and actually ride the damn thing.

And our grid is well served, at least geographically. It's the hot weather, wait times, and middle class perception that taking the bus is what poor people do that dooms our system.