Ok, so 2.4 miles isn’t that big of a deal really. However, I had wanted to take the bus. The transit tracker application I generally use though was out of commission today.
It got me thinking, I like to always keep moving, I’m stir crazy like that. In some places I wouldn’t have had the option to walk, because the chance would be the trip would have been 4 miles, or even worse 5-10 miles. That just isn’t feasible to walk, but with the sprawl that plagues most of the US, that is the exact scenario in trying to get around.
I generally find my use of transit drastically diminished without transit tracker. Just the simplification it makes bus transfer and such adds tremendous value to using a transit system. Even when I went to New Jersey, days after they implemented theirs’ for their trains I gained invaluable timing information.
So, what would you do? If the transit tracker wasn’t working, would you just start walking? Would you just drive, bike, or go some other way?
I use my own application – TransitQ. Yesterday I was heading up to NW 21st and I checked it on my Palm and found that the 17 had 30 minutes before it was coming; so I clicked "Nearby" and found out that the 15 just down the street was leaving in 10 minutes.
TQ uses a ~1MB datafile which has TriMet’s entire schedule (every bus, every stop, every time; including weird holidays/etc). It does not currently update using Transit Tracker, but in many ways that’s a good thing. Not having the network hit means that I can find information quicker and easier, and am not dependent on an expensive data plan, cell coverage, servers being up, etc.
… and you can run my app on a devices you can buy on ebay for $10.
Drive, which is what I seem to do all the time nowadays.
Crazy walking trips I’ve really done before (as there was no transit service available at the time and I had no other option):
Across the Glenn Jackson Bridge after C-TRAN’s old 9 PM end of service.
From Sherwood to Newberg.
As for Transit Tracker, I’m going to guess I’m one of the only readers of this site who’d simply continue to use transit as I do normally, which is usually by checking the current printed schedule (which I already have), then head over to the bus stop and wait.
Al M – I would drive except for a few reasons.
1. People that drive get really fat. You aren’t, you’re in good shape n all, however I feel as though I’m a tubby punk and I really want to be in better shape. The first way to kill any efforts at being in decent shape again are to drive.
2. Second, it’s a vast waste of money. Even more so than the WES. I’m currently figuring out a way to go 100% car-free.
3. Driving for me, is actually NOT faster than taking transit. 99% of all the activities that I partake in are downtown or close to the vicinity of where Jo & I live. Driving would actually make it more complicated and take longer than using transit.
4. Jo hates riding in the car for more than 5-10 minutes, I hate driving in the car with other cars on the road for more than 5-10 minutes. It is a dehumanizing experience on an idealogical and phylisophical level. The idiocy that occurs among drivers is mind boggling, especially in the US.
5. Driving makes me hate people, and hate where I live. If I have to deal with people on that level, at their most crude of communicative ability at red lights, stop signs, random lane changing, not using their lights, horn honking, finger flipping, asshole moods – I’d rather just not. People on the bus, MAX, and Streetcar are often far kinder, more polite, and chill than the prick in the car next to me, that at the next moment may swerve into me – kill us both – and then have us be additional statistics on the 50k dead per year.
….now that I wrote all this, I feel like I should write a blog entry.
But anyway, I hate driving on public streets, with the poorly trained, incompetent, knowledgeable average driver in the USA. Give me a race track and I’ll race for hours a day, but give me a road and I’d rather jump on a bus, train, or even – dare I say – cramped plane.
Jason – Hey Jason, I dig the schedules too. Problem is, they’re usually not on time (what are the on time stats anyway? they can’t be much better than 60-70%)
Transit Tracker gives me a vastly superior option to trying to catch a bus per schedule based on a 60-70% on time rate. If the schedules could be kept then I wouldn’t even use Transit Tracker, nor need to. The only place I know of on this planet that keeps to a schedule though is Japan. 😐 …and I don’t want to live there, even if somebody paid me (well maybe if somebody paid me well)
If I wasn’t familiar with a route and couldn’t find a schedule on a bus stop pole, I’d first call (503) 238-RIDE and see if they could help me out, otherwise I’d start walking…
I use Transit Tracker a ton on my cell phone (pda.trimet.org), my wife uses the WAP version (wap.trimet.org). I wish there was a good Windows Mobile app for Trimet that I could use on my phone (Windows Mobile 6), but so far I haven’t found one that uses the fixed schedule files available (not real-time Transit Tracker)… 😦
Well I know it’s not ideal, but you can always run my app (TransitQ) under StyleTap (a PalmOS emulator) on your phone.