Monday, March 8, 2010

When buses are on schedule

Last Monday morning my bus to downtown was on time. It might even have been a minute early, as it was pulling away from my bus stop just as I got to within a block away. I had to pedal on down the sidewalk after it for 20 yards (no pedestrians were in sight) then drop down a curb cut onto the street. This was the first time I'd ever bicycled on N 85th Street -- which in my neighborhood is little more than an extended freeway on-ramp -- especially during rush hour. However, no cars were visible behind me, I would only be riding on the street for a block and a half, and this street went downhill right after I merged onto it, enabling me to go as fast as motorized traffic there. As it turned out, no cars came up behind me for that block and a half, so my concern was moot.

The light turned red ahead of my bus at Aurora Ave, enabling me to get back onto the sidewalk, slow way down for a couple pedestrians there, and get onto the bus. That bus encountered no traffic on its way to the U District, light traffic in the U District itself, and no traffic from there to downtown. This allowed me to get downtown a little ahead of schedule, which is a rarity in my experience. It also allowed me to get to my transfer station two minutes before the next bus to Tukwila arrived, which was also on schedule. So basically that morning was an almost perfect bike/bus commute, with almost no waiting for buses and some fast bike connections where the buses couldn't take me.

In total, my virtually perfect bus/bike commute Monday morning took about 65 minutes -- a little more than an hour. Contrast this to the time it would have taken in a car: 25 minutes without traffic, or up to 60 minutes with traffic, depending on how heavy that traffic is.

My return bus/bike commute wasn't as good, natch -- the ride downtown was fine, but I had a 15 minute wait for the bus that would take me from Belltown to North Seattle, mostly because that bus was 10 minutes late.

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