Save the Planet, Ride the Bus
After having the unfortunate luck of needing to take my car in for some repairs, I found myself car-less for about a week. This minor aggravation would have caused me some major headaches in previous cities I have lived in where my options for public transportation were less than stellar when it came to convenience, cost and safety.
Luckily, that wasn't my experience using the Seattle bus system. While saving the planet by reducing my own carbon footprint, I was able to find regular buses to my destinations with just a little bit of planning using the King County Trip Planner online before I hoofed it out the door. Overall my experience with drivers and other passengers was a positive one and I quickly discovered there was no need for the slight anxiety I felt before my journey began.
Here are a few tips for using public transport for other newbies like me:
Arrive to your stop early:
Nothing stresses me out more than glancing at my watch while speed walking to a stop hoping to whatever God in the sky there may be that I make it on time. Buses don't wait, so plan accordingly and arrive at least five minutes before the scheduled stop time.
Have correct change:
Drivers aren't going to break your $20 or loan you a dime. If you're like me and are always scraping through your pockets for quarters, consider a pre-paid pass book or monthly bus card. You can usually purchase these at the bus station.
Avoid sitting in the front seats:
These are reserved for the elderly and handicapped. If you sit your rear-end here, be prepared to move if someone boards the bus who actually needs it.
Have a charged iPod and a book:
Another perk of not having to drive is you have some time to relax and get through that book you've been dying to finish. I also like to plug into my mp3 player and find music to soundtrack my ride, but make sure your paying attention to the stops if you go this route. It'd be a shame to be daydreaming about your guitar solo and realize you missed your stop.