I love you.
I know, I know– this is sudden. After working alongside each other for a while now, I only really got to know you last week. I’m falling fast, 700. Now the thought of not seeing you in the morning makes me anxious.
I’m not going to say there haven’t been other buses in my life before you. I was scared to drive at 16 and when I went to UNC a few years later, not having a car meant not having to worry about parking. CH Transit got me where I needed to go.
After graduating, I scheduled paratransit services for Cabarrus County. My boss gave me the job because I didn’t drive, a fact he thought would help me better understand our clients. When the weather was nice, I walked the two miles to work. When it wasn’t, my uncle would go a little out of his way and drop me off. The situation wasn’t ideal but it worked.
When I moved to Asheville a while later it become apparent that I needed to drive. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the insurance so I depended on buses, my feet, and my friends to get around. If I took the bus, I’d have to leave 2 hours before my shift start to get there on time. I didn’t mind so much. I read and Asheville is a people-watcher’s paradise. But still, I wouldn’t say I loved the bus.
When I moved to Greensboro in 2006, I could finally afford to drive (IF we gave up cable). So I did. Ah, the freedom! I drove everywhere, afterall I had years and years of rides to make up to my friends and family. My days of bus riding were over, but my days of paying gobs of cash for gas, oil changes, and maintenance had just started.
I started working part-time at Triangle Transit in August 2008. One of the great benefits of working here is a free ride on all area buses. Unfortunately, because I had another job I couldn’t make the bus work for me. So I drove and drove and drove some more, all the while asking people to give up their solitary drives in favor of the bus or a rideshare. I always said I’d take the bus if Triangle Transit was my only gig. On July 5, 2011, my first full-time day, I got my first chance at taking the bus. I slept in and drove alone.
So, yeah. This bus thing was a little more complicated than I thought. To avoid having too many transfers, I needed to get to Durham Station (about 1.5 miles from my house) or I could ride to NCCU with Jonathan and catch the bus at a stop near where he parks. The plan seemed sound, but I was nervous.
On Wednesday, July 13 I needed to go to downtown Raleigh to deliver some passes. Parking is a hassle and I almost always get a little lost when I go to Raleigh so I decided to try the bus. Jonathan dropped me off at Durham Station on his way to NCCU and I caught the DRX. I used the wifi on the bus to read my emails on my iPod. I listened to music. I relaxed. With minimal effort on my part, we arrived at Moore Square. I found the office I needed and caught the 105 back to the Regional Transit Center. It was almost magically easy. I was hooked.
The next day I rode to work with Jonathan and caught the 700 to the RTC. It was an unfamiliar stop and I was nervous. What if I read the schedule wrong? What if Google has it wrong? What if the trip planner is playing tricks on me? When the big green bus arrived though, all anxiety dissipated. That’s when I met you, 700.
Since the 13th, I’ve taken the bus every work day. I’ve got lots of motivation. I haven’t had to buy gas and I’ve reduced my commute from 23 miles round trip to 0. I get to work earlier and, because I’m up to date on Facebook and email and all that good stuff, I’m not distracted when I get to my desk. My focus has improved. According to the Commute Savings Calculator, I’ll save over $1100 annually if I can keep this up. Plus, I don’t have to feel guilty when I see the air quality index go orange.
Yep, 700. I think we’re in it for the long haul. Maybe I’ll even get cable again.