Another One Rides the Bus


We have a near-record 10-inches of snow, last seen around 1968. I remember that storm in 1968, it was fun if you were a kid with a big backyard in which to build a snow fort and cavort with your giant Siberian Husky named King while being off from school for a week. And we did. But now I have responsibilities to get to work by any means necessary, as medical centers don’t close for bad weather. During our winter blast of 2004, I stayed home because the drive was too far and the buses would have taken 4 hours each way. Now, I had the choice of putting chains on my SUV and driving to work, or walking a little over a half mile to the bus stop and taking the bus. I decided that the bus was the safest option. Although I’ve trained to drive in slick conditions at Pro-Drive, I know that many other drivers have recently moved here from California and other points south and have a lot of guts but little skill. I fear for the safety of my vehicle in their vicinity on the road or in the parking lot. They don’t have the benefit of 18 years of Dad saying, “Drive like you don’t have brakes,” and being a role model in how to drive in ice and snow.

Snow on Fourth PlainThe snowy neighborhood was gorgeous in the pre-dawn light at 7 am. It took me about 12 minutes to tromp to the bus stop, wearing Stabilicers snow cleats on my shoes and using ski walking poles for stability. The snow is so deep that you post-hole into it on the sidewalks, so it is best to walk in the street where traffic has beaten down a lane. But this is only safe if there are no cars on the road. There weren’t at 7 am. The C-Tran bus cost $1.30 and it goes directly from the nearest bus stop to my workplace, although I had another couple of blocks to negotiate once I got there. The bus even seemed to come on time, although they run every 15 minutes and it might just have been an earlier bus that was very late.
Photo: At the bus stop on Fourth Plain Boulevard, 7:20 am.

We were dismissed early, at 2 pm and I caught a ride home with a couple of gals from our division. While they had chains on an SUV, the driver had just moved here from Arizona. I almost asked to be let out before we were out of the parking lot, as she was doing a lot of quick maneuvers that are extremely unwise in ice and snow. They kindly deposited me at home safely, but white-knuckled. Tomorrow, it’ll be the bus both ways. Besides, I have errand to run at the shopping center mid-way.

Weird Al Yankovic’s “Another One Rides the Bus” in his first-ever TV appearance. It’s a parody of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”

My C-Tran riding experience was of sparse passengers, but probably typical. Homeless-looking man in the very back seat. Blind young man in the front seat. Pleasant looking middle-aged gal got on, maybe a crazy cat lady. A couple more typical Vancouver-ites got on, but from the discussion with the driver they probably were, like me, not usually bus riders. All of the women admired my Stabilicers and ski walking poles.

I was reassured that the bus would be a good option for me under many conditions. This bus connects up with MAX in Delta Park, which might be useful for attending events in downtown Portland.

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