5/19/2008

New house, new bus route

The new house means a new way to work. We're closer to my office, and walking is now within distance. There is no Internet at the house as of yet, so I had not properly investigated to see what the schedules are. I had noticed that the nearest stop is only about a two minute walk from my front door, but hadn't closely studied the timetable.

At 7:30, as I was having my first cup of tea in the new house, I saw the Route 4A head straight down the road. I knew I had 30 minutes to try to catch it, so I raced through the morning preparation to get ready.

As I finished up my tea, I noticed children on the sidewalk across from me, about to go to school. And there's me, programmed now to catch the bus, just like I might have when I was a kid. With that in mind, I was able to just relax and enjoy all the little details of the morning. The birds tweeting. The temperature. The architecture of the "new" houses. I even left my iPod off so I could just experience this new route to work.

When the bus arrived, it was one of the smaller ones. I like them because they're heavy, yet nimble. About 6 people were on the bus, with music blaring from the radio. We sped off, down the hill towards Cherry Avenue. My first time on a new route, I wasn't entirely sure what neighborhoods we'd go through. I also had never been a bus passenger on that section of Cherry Avenue before, where it becomes Elliot Avenue at some point. I love the perspective you get from being on the bus, of other houses, other cars, other people.

I could have gotten to work in five minutes via our car, but we have a new intern starting today so I wanted to make sure he had the parking space, living up in Forest Lakes and all. I also want to try to avoid the car, as well. One of the ways we're going to be able to afford the new house is to become a one-car family, something I think will be very possible given how easy it is to get to work.

I've driven down Avon Street into town so many times in the past four years since I started working down here. But, the approach as you near Belmont Bridge had never so much seemed like a City until this morning. I've written before, I think, about how riding the bus makes this place more metropolitan, more English, more human.

As the bus stopped at the Downtown Transit Station, one of the passengers helped
the elderly man with one leg carry the black trash bag holding all of his possessions exit the vehicle. But, as the man got up to walk away, he fell over again, possibly drunk. Another passenger and I helped him up, and the driver carried his bag to a bench. There wasn't really much awkwardness. Just a sense that this is what people do for each other. If I fell down, would someone else pick me up? Would they pick you up?

Anyway, 9:00 AM rolls around and it's time to begin work!

5 comments:

Patience_Crabstick said...

I love this post! You were riding the #4? I used to take the #3 Belmont bus to work, until they changed the routes. Charlottesville does seem more like a real city when seen from a bus window.

ChrEliz said...

I love this:
>> riding the bus makes this place more metropolitan, more English, more human

I'm a shameful former New Yorker - I've never ridden a bus once in the fifteen years that I've lived in Charlottesville. I did print out the schedule for the 'new' Southwood route (I live out 5th/Old Lynchburg) but somehow driving to the County Office Building on 5th, parking, and then catching the bus just doesn't have the same urban effect on one's soul. ; ) Great post.

Jeff said...

It's interesting that to you bus riding is "English". I served in the Peace Corps in Congo-Brazzaville. Whenever I was in the capitol, I rode the mini-buses to get around. So now for me "bus"="Africa". This is enhanced by the bus's faint diesel smell, evocative of the pervasive exhaust odor lingering around urban African streets.

A couple weeks ago, I dropped my car off at my mechanic's on Main St. It was a lovely day so I decided to use the bus to get to work. The walk from Main to the bus station was wonderfully "urban". I even ran into a friend. Now I hadn't looked at the bus schedule before embarking on my adventure, so I arrived at the station 5 minutes after my once-an-hour bus left. Hurray for unsecured WiFi and a laptop.

Sean Tubbs said...

@Gus, that same diesel smell is what I associate with England. My first smell (besides squalid old Terminal 4) is the exhaust of cabs, buses, and the like. But, also, when I'm over there, I can easily travel between two the towns I go to using the bus with no need to rent a car.

@chreliz, one day the bus will come out as far as you, but I'm not if that will be any time soon. Part of the Biscuit Run discussion involved how transit will be part of the development. I'm not sure at this point if that will be part of CTS or not, but of course, stay tuned to Charlottesville Tomorrow!

@Patience: I responded to your post on your blog about your transportation issues yesterday. Maybe we've kicked off a trend? I've never been on the #3. I think some of the night buses go close to my neighborhood.

jocelyn said...

I ride the 4a quite a bit. My biggest complaint is the timetable. I hope they put one of those nifty time thingies on my nearest bus signpost.

Fortunately, I rarely have to be anywhere at any given time. It's just me, the baby, and the whole day spread before us.