Friday, August 24, 2012

Riding the bus: Not what you'd expect

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 6:07 AM

This is part of a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.

I don't often have a lot of expectations for my bus rides anymore. Very little surprises me, and the quirks and bumps are becoming a part of my daily routine. However, today I was a little shocked by what I saw.

I was catching the bus from my place up to Broad Ripple to visit a friend. As I got on the bus, I realized it was nearly full, which is actually pretty normal.

Something felt a little off though, but I couldn't place it right away. It took a moment to sink in, but as I looked around, I suddenly realized that the bus was full of young, white males in suits.

It felt like the Twilight Zone!

I had flashbacks of other times in my life, in other cities and countries, where buses were full of young professionals going to and from work, choosing public transportation over cars.

A few of the men on the bus looked like lawyers, working on their cases, with their paperwork spread out on their laps.

One guy was reading a magazine, another texting on his iPhone.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I struck up a conversation with the guy closest to me--I had to know what was going on and why he was on the bus.

I had no better way to ask the question I was dying to know, so I flat out said to him "Why are you riding the bus?!? This seems weird."

I think he was a little thrown off by my blunt questioning, so I went on to tell him that I don't usually see a bus full of young, professional males.

He proceeded to tell me that he owns a car, but chooses to bus to work downtown from his home in Broad Ripple because it's cheaper.

I talked to another guy who told me that he and his wife only own one car and trade driving days. The reasoning, again, is because it is cheaper.

I also saw my friend on the bus who chooses to ride instead of drive whenever it's convenient to take his 2-year-old daughter to daycare downtown, something that is very rare to see.

Needless to say, this was not my typical bus ride--if there ever was a "typical bus ride."

However, it has brought a lot of excitement and giddiness to my life. I am thrilled that there seems to be a growth in ridership as people begin to embrace the system that we have in place.

I now have a whole new reason to expect the unexpected each time I step foot on the bus.

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