Next Stop is the City of Downey

 

The public transportation system revolutionized society when it was first created. Trains, buses, subways, and metro lines are a few of the transports that people all around the world have benefited from. It’s a great alternative to walking, biking, or driving because in today’s economy cars are a luxury that not all of the population can afford. This break I decided to travel home on the bus instead of having someone, pick me up in a car.

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I took the 187 Foothill Transit toward West: Pasadena that begun in Azusa and got off on Colorado and Rosemead, from there I hopped onto the 266 Metro towards Lakewood center and got off on Lakewood and Alameda. A car ride that normally takes about 30 to 45 minutes took just over 2 and a half hours. I didn’t have to wait too long for the Foothill Transit and once I got on I paid a fee of $1.25. The first thing I noticed was how clean it was, I was quite surprised, there was no distinct odor and there was even an air conditioner keeping the bus cool. The seats seemed to be filled with passengers coming home from work or school, it was about 3:00 pm. I noticed the bus got more and more crowded as I was approaching my first stop.

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I had a pleasant encounter with an older gentleman who sat next to me on the bus. “What are you listening to?” he asked as he noticed my headphones. This lead into a conversation about several genres of music and how the music industry has evolved over the years. He proceeded to tell me his name was Henry as I asked him questions about his travels on the bus. “My daughter who just turned 30 last week, she just got her masters from UCLA and her car, she has a piece of junk car, my wife and I have tried to get her to sell it but she’s so stubborn, anyway well her car broke down last week so I let her borrow mine” he said.

Henry went on to tell me about how he would rather take the bus than have his daughter go through the hassle. He talked a bit about his family but the majority of the time we spent talking about music. “When I was young this rap music that these kids listen to today wasn’t popular at all, like no one listened to it because it’s trash have you heard some of those lyrics? When I was a could we listened to music that made was made by true artists the kind that you could feel the emotions in the songs” Henry said. It was a very interesting conversation to say the least and I was surprised at how open this man was to talking to a total stranger, this ride lasted a total of 50 minutes.

Once I got off I just had to cross the street to get to the next bus stop. At this stop I waited for about 30 min until the Metro finally arrived, this bus was not as clean, smelled a bit more and cost $1.75. I noticed several blue collar workers who looked like they were on their way home from work. We passed by a couple of asian markets, at these stops quite a few elderly Asian people got on the bus but only for a short time. The bus driver was very friendly his name was Rodney, and he told me he enjoyed his job and had been working there for about eight years.

When I finally arrived at my destination I talked to brother and sister who were at the shopping center across the street from the bus stop. Joshua and Karen Covarubbias gave me there thoughts and experiences with public transportation system. “I think to improve public transportation they can have a little more maintenance workers so it can be cleaner and maybe extra security, something of that nature.” said Joshua Covarubbias. Joshua takes the bus everyday to get to work and back he works at a wheelchair facility called Superior Mobility in Torrance and his sister Karen attends Santa Monica College so she also takes a pretty lengthy bus ride each morning.

 “My perspective about public transportation definitely changed after I started attending Santa Monica, this method of transportation allowed me to do more with my time instead of sitting in a car for an hour and a half in traffic.. I could I could sit in the bus or metro and read and do homework.” said Karen. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics the on-time arrival rate in January 2016 was 81.3% and 76.8% in January 2015, so the performance has improved significantly from the previous year. With the huge traffic problem in southern California and the increase of gas prices it seems public transportation may be the smart option for now.

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