Should Have Taken the Bus!

2013-11-08 17.27.15I saw Andrew Terry at the Hope in the Cities luncheon yesterday. Andrew is working to bring rapid transit to Richmond, and he recently asked a room full of people if any of us would ride the new “super bus” if it came to the city.

I raised my hand.

I may have had that in the back of my mind yesterday when I thought about how I was going to get to the Omni Hotel for the luncheon. I don’t mind driving downtown. It’s not far from First Baptist Church. But I do mind parking downtown—either searching for an available meter or paying way too much to park in a garage.

So, I asked my smart phone how to get downtown on the bus and it told me: “Walk over to Broad Street, get on the bus heading downtown, get off at 12th Street and walk over to the Omni on Cary Street” Total trip time? “About 27 minutes.” Total cost? “$1.25” (my phone is so smart!).

But I had a few more emails to check and when I finished I didn’t have 27 minutes. So I jumped in my car, whizzed downtown, found an available meter four blocks from the Omni, put in two dollars worth of quarters, and hurried to the luncheon.

One of the first people I saw was Andrew Terry, and I told him, “I almost took the bus!” He commended me for my good intentions but insisted, “We’ve got to get more people riding public transportation.” I said, “Maybe we could have a public transportation day. You pick the date, and I’ll challenge my church to ride the bus.” “Great idea!” he said (stay tuned).

The luncheon was inspiring. Dr. Gail Christopher of the Kellogg Foundation talked about what her organization is trying to do to lift children out of poverty, and noted, sadly, how closely their plight is linked to the idea of race. “Idea,” she said, because human beings are, genetically, 99.9% identical. And yet we have used that .01 percent difference to justify all manner of atrocities, including slavery.

I’ll have more to say about that at another time, but for now let me say that the luncheon ran a little longer than I expected, and when I got back to my car I found a bright green parking ticket stuck under the windshield wiper (sigh).

This is why I don’t like parking downtown.

I got in my car and headed back toward the office and at a stoplight on Broad Street I looked over and saw Andrew Terry in his car, motioning for me to roll down the window. He shouted, “Next time we’ll take the bus!” I reached for my parking ticket, held it up and shouted, “If I had taken the bus I wouldn’t have gotten this!” He laughed out loud and said, “I need a picture of that!”

So, here you go, Andrew: this picture is for you. If I had ridden the bus to my luncheon it would have taken 27 minutes and cost $1.25. I got there in 23 minutes in my car, but ended up paying $22.00.

Even I can do the math.

5 thoughts on “Should Have Taken the Bus!

  1. Your expression is priceless!! I laughed out loud. I imagine Andrew will too. While at VCU and I had a day shift schedule, I rode the bus into town from hull street.(one of those express ones) Not only was it economical (and it saved my car for a little while longer) but it was peaceful. After a long day, it was nice to simply ride in someone else’s care, with my head against the window and decompress. The only challenge was the fact that this express route only ran M-F during the day. When I worked evenings and weekends, I had to drive. Prayers for continued progress for the Richmond Rides project!!

  2. Jim,

    This is exactly the kind of picture I had in mind. I agree with Linda — it’s a priceless look with parking ticket in hand. Next time we will take the bus! And I do think that public transportation day is a great idea. Stay tuned.

  3. I love the public transportation day idea. Here in La Paz we have “Dia del Pedestre” where no one is allowed to drive between 8am and 5pm. At first it seemed annoying, but now we love it! It’s so much fun to see everyone out and walking around. Kids riding their bikes in the street. I think a public transportation day could be really fun!

  4. After more than ten years living in Germany, one of the things I miss most is excellent public transportation. Travel, tourism, daily life, were all easier because of it. Drive to a Christmas market, concert, soccer match; or take the train/bus/subway and read a book while traveling? Will stay tuned to see how your public transportation day goes.

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