I left work today with a mission to achieve. Get to Vancouver, somewhere near where the parents live, during rush hour. C-tran has all sorts of express buses and such running during rush hour, almost all of them get nowhere near where I need to go. Vancouver is one of the most pedestrian UNFRIENDLY cities in America, which is ironic, because it is right next to Portland, Oregon. The #4 Fourth Plain C-tran bus however does go a little closer, within about 1-2 miles of where they live, which kind of gets me closer, and there is the #25 which gets me to within a 20 minute walk (3/4 mile) but is not very frequent at all.
I stepped out of the door at work and headed down to 5th and Stark where the #105 express bus goes by. My intention was to catch that to the 99th transit center and then take the #25 down as close as I could get. The #105 has about 3-4 frequencies during rush hour, so I figured it would be fairly easy to catch. I went down and looked for the stop, which was nowhere to be found. Slightly frustrated I watched as the #105 poked by heading EAST on Stark (not even on 5th?!?!). Being one that doesn’t beg or run for transit, I let it poke along since there was no clearly marked place to get on this bus.
At this point, all I had to say is #fail C-tran. Great job at NOT picking up your prospective riders where you have written you will pick them up at. #fail #fail #fail #fail #fail
Off I went to determine my next location to jump on the bus then or take the MAX Yellow Line to catch something. I reviewed my logistical options and decided on a MAX Yellow Line run out to Vanport/Delta Park to jump on the #4. As I walked up to the Pioneer Square South stop a MAX Yellow Line arrived bound for its northern run. I boarded and took a plunk down in a seat. The air conditioning was working its magic as I pulled the laptop out to enjoy the ride. A few dozen lines of code and unit tests later I arrived at Vanport/Delta Park.
As always the #4 was sitting there patiently waiting for a load of passengers to disembark. 16 passengers got off the MAX and boarded the #4 C-tran. We departed a few minutes later and pulled into Jantzen Beach where we picked up another 12 people. With a fairly decent bus load of people, everyone with a seat, we rolled over onto the I-5 Bridge into traffic and across to Vancouver. Even now at 6:14pm the traffic didn’t seem so bad as to validate an entirely new bridge that would wreck the havoc of a $4.X Billion Dollar price tag. I’m all for tolling the south bound I-5 routes, but a new bridge just seems absurd when we have so many other things we need done.
The bus pulled around the twisted loops coming off the Interstate into Vancouver and we picked up one more person and dropped off 2. We cut through Vancouver with a steady stop and go effort, finally pulling out of the slightly urban downtown almost to the routes primary street of Fourth Plain. Before we got there though another 8 people got off the bus and another 3 got on, one with a bike. The main bus stop in Vancouver actually had about 8 people waiting for a bus, which is always interesting to see, considering Vancouver doesn’t seem particularly inclined toward transit use.
By the time we got to Fourth Plain we’d stopped for a wheelchair with another 4 people on, 3 people off. Overall a fair amount of use. Not bad considering the issues that Vancouver has had with keeping the transit they have going with the funding cuts by voters, now the economic induced cuts, and I’m sure the trouble won’t let up anytime soon.
Eventually my father arrived to transport me via auto to their home. I got to have a tasty dinner with them and Joleen, enjoyed some conversation afterwards about the economy, general news, and other topics. My father and I also discussed taking a ride this Sunday (30th) on the new MAX Yellow Line route on the mall alignment. If anyone else is interested let me know and we’ll meet up for a coffee before or after our loop.
Then it was off the MAX Yellow Line for the trip home. If C-tran would get their transit tracker going, we’d have jumped on the #25 to get back home, but without it the schedule just isn’t trustworthy. So we all piled in the Nissan to get a list back to Vanport MAX Station. After a short 15 minute ride, we arrived to wait for our south bound LRV. She arrived after a few minutes and we boarded for the trip home.
Another short stretch and we where back downtown. A short swap to the bus stop and we jumped on the #4 Division/Fessenden Route heading south. We got off at 20th & Division and took a quick run through the New Seasons to grab some coffee creamer, because, a good trip is always good with a cup of coffee at the end.
Good evening, good trip, good dinner, good night.