LA Eastside on Buses as Part of the Community

montebello_bus.jpg

Browne Molyneux, one of the talented writers at the Bus Bench, has a new article up at LA Eastside, which highlights the role buses can take in the neighborhood as a part of the community. Molyneux, no fan of Metro, compares her experience on the Montebello #40 with those of her experiences on Metro.

The Montebello 40 is rad, not just because it has a clean bus and bus stop (I know the City of LA takes care of bus stops, but if Metro had a bit of pride, they would make a bit of an effort in making sure that property with their name looked decent.) Not just because it actually follows a schedule. Not just because I can get on the Montebello 40, buy a transfer (total $1.15) and end up paying less than I would for a one way fare on the MTA ($1.25,) but because the people on the bus are rad. And they talk to you, not the "I don’t have a place to live," mumbling crazy talk, but normal talk.

The bus drivers remember you and not only that, they spot you. I remember once I couldn’t find an ATM and the bus driver said, "You got a pretty funky hat there, so you can get on."

That would never happen on the MTA, keep in mind where I pick up the 40 is across the street from I guess from what I’ve heard from some was one of the most violent and largest projects in America, the Pico Gardens projects, but times have changed.

All in all, Browne tells a nice story about her experiences on her local bus. You would hope that all bus riders would share similar stories.

The LA Times’ LA Now blog tries to do a nice write up of Browne’s story in a story called "We Love the Bus.  Really," and promote the 80th birthday of the Big Blue Bus, but as often happens when non-transit users try to write about transit, the story ends up sounding a little out of touch.

The middle paragraphs are fine, but the opening and closing ones show just a lack of experience spending time on a bus seat.

In Southern California, riding a bus is considered by many an act of desperation, a sign that you can’t either afford a car or just had one repossessed. So it’s kind of surprising when residents express not only an appreciation but an affection for the bus….

…We would love to go. But where do you park?

I get it. I get that the writer is trying to be ironic with the "I’d love to go but where would you park" in an article about how some people love the bus. I get that they’re trying to show that it’s a refreshing change that people are writing about their love of buses instead of their love of cars. But when I read the whole post, including the two paragraphs I’ve included above, the whole thing just sounded a little like "It’s cool that other people ride the bus if they have to, but we’re never EVER going to."

If I’m over reacting, then I guess Molyneux is also. Currently, hers is the only comment at "We Love the Bus.  Really":

Jesus,

You work at the LA Times you don’t need a car. Think about how much easier Happy Hour will be without worrying about driving home.

The MTA 30 runs all night (and I always have room on my handle bars.)

You get the real story by walking the streets.

Cars are so early aughts

Browne

Photo:So Cal Metro/Flickr

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