Home » Public Transit » Currently Reading:

No longer bus-averse

February 9, 2010 Public Transit 8 Comments
ABOVE: Vew from a bus in Seattle, WA
ABOVE: Vew from a bus in Seattle, WA

I no longer have issues with taking a bus if that is that is the only public transportation choice I have.  This was not always the case with me.  I still prefer streetcars to the bus but many times the bus is better than a private car.

Before moving downtown I would sometimes bike a few blocks over to the #40 Broadway bus to catch a ride downtown.  I was nervous the first time I used the bike rack on the front of the bus but I quickly got used to it.  Taking the bus downtown allowed me to arrive sweat-free.  Returning home I could bus or bike back, depending on my level of energy.

Once I used a combination of modes for a meeting in Granite City, IL.  I drove my only vehicle,  a 49cc motor scooter, to MetroLink station for a light rail train across the river to East St. Louis where I got on a Madison County bus to Granite City, IL.

After I moved downtown I had to attend a breakfast meeting on Delmar in the Loop. It was cold and rainy and I didn’t feel like riding the scooter.  I had two choices via public transit.  Light rail on MetroLink or the bus.  While I prefer rail transit, the bus was closer to my house and final destination: I walked two blocks from my loft to catch the bus and it dropped me off across the street from my destination.  Learning the bus routes near my loft helped me understand where I could get to via the bus.

I’ve ridden buses on vacation as well. My last trip to New York City I rode the bus from the airport into Manhattan.  In Seattle last year I rode a bus into downtown and back from the Capital Hill neighborhood.  In October 2009 I tried out the new downtown circulator (see post).

The bus serves serves a function just as other modes do.  The private car isn’t going away but neither is the bus.  Neither should go away.  What we all need to remember is we need the option of various modes in order to make a choice.  Too much of our region has no choice at all — if you want to leave your house it will be by private automobile.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Anon says:

    Wow. You learned to ride a bus. You must be really smart.

  2. JZ71 says:

    The best place to ride the bus on vacation is actually in Honolulu, with the Vegas strip a close second.

    And Anon, Steve's point is critical to the success of public transit in St. Louis. Unlike in many other cities, there's much more of a disconnect between bus and rail here – for too many people, especially suburbanites, riding Metrolink is something they will consider/have done, while riding Metrobus is not even on their radar screen. The “bus” is for “those people”, the poor, who have to wait out at a bus stop. There's a real stigma to waiting and there's a stigma about “having to” ride. Public transit needs tobe an interconnected system, not just a bunch of discrete parts.

    It's not rational, since Metrobus is actually well run. Go to other cities (Dallas, Houston, LA, Seattle, Denver, even KC) and you find a much broader cross section of the population using public transit every day. Part of it is marketing, part of it is product, part of it is simple economics and part of it is “local culture”. In areas with more congestion, longer, more-heinous commutes and higher parking costs, the bus is a cheaper, easier option for some. And in areas with more-creative options (bus rapid transit and demand-responsive service) than just fixed-route local service, better-meeting potential riders' needs has attracted more riders.

  3. STLExplorer says:

    I'm about to try to do the same and ride a bus for my first time today!

  4. African Americans are a prevalent deterrent to bus ridership. Perhaps we can bring back segregation to please suburbanites? Maybe then they'll vote to fund regional transit?

  5. Margie says:

    I grew up in South City, blocks away from the Bevo Mill. Neither my father or mother ever learned to drive, so we grew up taking buses and walking everywhere. I attended St. John the Baptist from K-12 — a two block walk from my house, and went to undergrad at SLU — I took two buses every day to get there. I laugh sometimes, too, when I think of all the Laclede cabs I called over the years to pick me up from a party, or a boyfriend's house. One of my college friends, who had grown up in the suburbs, used to play a game with me where she'd name a destination, and I'd tell her how I'd get there by bus from my house.
    Recently, I moved back to St. Louis after 23 years away. I learned to drive just a little over a year ago, and it's a good thing. Public transportation works best when it runs often. Waiting 20, 30 minutes for a bus is a drag. I spent some time in London, and LOVED their underground system. St. Louis is much like other similar sized cities I've lived in (Columbus, OH, and Charlotte, NC). The bus system is perceived to be for the poor, the elderly and the mentally incompetent, and at least in my experience, was mostly used by minorities.
    For me, the mark of a great city is a great public transportation system — St. Louis definitely isn't there yet.

  6. Keith says:

    So why were you bus-averse?


Comment on this Article: