Monday, April 23, 2007

Murder Bus Correspondence

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous wrote in response to last Friday's post about the Murder Bus. His comments (which get special "correspondent" italics):

Glad to see someone else caught on to the ol' Murder Bus. As a student out at the 5 C's who commutes from Pasadena, I'm no stranger to the 187 and it's merits and deficiencies. The price is unbeatable, as you mentioned. Before I discovered this line, I took the Gold Line to Union Station and then the Metrolink out to Claremont. That whole process cost around 17 dollars roundtrip, and actually took about the same amount of time as the 187, though it was a helluva lot more comfortable. Also, the bus, being a convenient route, picks up an interesting cross section of the communities it passes through. Everyone from the functional alcoholic to a lector at my church to gaggles of teenage girls spends some time on the bus. It's a blast just to people watch. You do have to avoid making eye contact, though, because it tends to liberate the inner-rhetorician in some people. Once they get started, they can't stop lecturing about whatever topic prompted your conversation.

As far as the subsidies go, I gotta admit the line has no business being in existence. Coming back from school late at night, I'm often the only person on the bus for stretches of ten to fifteen minutes at a time. And they recently extended the times between stops (for what reason, I can't tell), which means that at night, without traffic, the drivers often crawl along at no more than ten miles an hour, at least through the eastern parts of the route. Nothing like being the only person (besides the driver) on a bus going jogging speed. It doesn't make any sense at all. But hey, while it's there, I might as well use it. Saves me a bundle.

Another friend who also has taken the 187 mentioned to us the extended times. According to our sources, it's difficult to see why on earth the running time of the line was extended from two hours to two and a half. Of course, despite the reader's selfless suggestion that the line get the ax, low popularity late at night hardly seems like adequate justification for the whole route to disappear.

If you've got any thoughts about other publicly subsized buses (or planes, trains or automobiles for that matter), feel free to drop us a line.


calwatch said...

The problem with slow night buses has to do more with Foothill Transit's lame scheduling. Basically, since the schedule checkers don't work at night or on weekends, the times are just guesses. Since they get dinged if they do show up early, and someone complains you might as well crawl along as slow as possible. This will change when they put GPS on all the vehicles and can schedule appropriately. Unfortunately, this is the only bus around the Foothill Cities that runs clear until midnight, seven day a week, and I would be highly opposed if they cut service. Quite frankly running this bus and a 480/488 combo 24/7 is better than running the worthless "Silver Streak" with its few stops 24/7.

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