We have our story meeting at 9 am. My usual morning routine? I get up around 7, leave the house at 8 – get to work by 8:30 so I have a half hour to read the paper and check e-mail.
According to the Calgary transit trip planner I need to catch the first bus at 7:37. I’m not entirely sure where this bus stop is so I decide to be safe and leave the house at 7. It’s a pretty nice morning and I’ve got my ipod and a mug of coffee. I’m oddly excited about this little challenge before me.
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Until I manage to get lost in my own neighbourhood. I can’t find this bus stop! This is ridiculous, I’m thinking as I walk another block and still can’t find the street I’m looking for. Finally, I knock on the window of a parked taxi to borrow a map from a very nice man. I’ve walked 5 blocks in the right direction.
We’re off to a solid start.
I have, budgeted extra time and I manage to get to the bus stop as the 86 is pulling up. The bus is on time and not too busy. I easily find a seat and the bus driver is very sweet when I ask when to get off to catch the 301. I quickly realize this first bus is pretty unnecessary – I’m to transfer a couple stops later.
The 301 is a BRT route. Bus Rapid Transit. Limited stops to get large numbers of people to the downtown fast. New this year… large high capacity articulated busses (they remind me of those bendy straws I loved as a kid). Over a dozen people are at my stop… and the 301 is soon approaching.
It doesn’t stop for us.
“Can you believe this?” a woman grumbles to me. “We’re a stop after the loop and its full! I was thinking of running across the street and catching the northbound bus just so I’d get on.”
My eyes widen… “really?“ This could be tough. I didn’t need to worry because less than 5 minutes later another articulated bus pulls up, this one nowhere near as full and I easily take a seat. 30 minutes later, I’m downtown and ready for my next transfer. A two block walk has me waiting for the Whitehorn LRT heading east. The next 3 trains however are the Somerset line… I’m annoyed, but within 5 minutes I’m on a whitehorn train.
I arrive at Barlow/Max Bell by 8:30… I can take the number 33 bus to global but I have half an hour and the sun is shining… so I take the 20
minute walk instead.
I left my house at 7:05 am, arrive at 8:50 am but I’m pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the morning! I read 3 chapters of my book and have walked for about 40 minutes. A get out of the gym free card – in my books.
So far – so good.