Thursday, August 18, 2005

Issaquah Park and Ride isn't Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride

So I tried out the Seattle area public transit system today. While a generally satisfactory experience, my work and home aren't quite public transit accessible. Seattle has done some really neat things with buses - like a bus alley and a tunnel under downtown. They also have a version of called Sound Transit. The interface isn't quite as nice as, but it works. It turns out that my house is too far away from the bus end points, so it took some work to find alternate end locations (doubly hard because I am so new here).
While waiting for the bus, I read a magazine and failed to prepare my money. Yes, I was that guy, fumbling with money (still in a money clip), dropping money, asking how much the fare was - holding up the flow of progress. The bus system covers so much distance that there are different fares depending upon how many zones you go through. So, when I asked the driver what the fare was, he told me the one zone fare, but I was really going two zones. After I had put my first quarter in, he asked how far I was going. All the way to Pioneer Square was $2 and I didn't have enough quarters to make a dollar, so that bus fare cost me $2.25.
What I didn't realize as I was getting on the bus, but quickly came to understand that I was going to go from Kent to Seattle to Sammamish - a pretty indirect route. But I got to see interesting parts of Seattle. Seattle has built a busway - an alley for buses so that they can make a straight shot through Seattle and not have to worry about traffic. It is pretty cool and makes the bus ride much shorter. As you get to downtown, they actually have built a 1.3 mile tunnel underground that has a few larger stops, "stations" they are called. That is pretty cool. The bus goes downtown, but avoids the downtown traffic.
Once I got to Pioneer Square, I had to walk a few blocks and wait for the 554 bus. Another bus , the 210, came and the sign said Issaquah Park and Ride. I stuck my head in and asked if she went to the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride and she said "Yes."
Well, it turns out that it had been a long time since she had driven this route and I didn't really know where I was going, so I ended up driving through Renton and ended up at the Issaquah Park and Ride. It is on the wrong side of I-90 and several miles south. But luckily there was a bus I could transfer to that took me to the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride.
I called my wife and she came to pick me up. My adventure started at 4:20 pm and ended at 7:15 pm. Almost three hours for a commute just doesn't work.

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