Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day Six

Today was another WIERD day for the Simmons family, but one that ended up going a lot smoother.
When Sande and I were discussing whether or not to allow ourselves to be interviewed by the media, we made the decision that, in a spirit of fairness, we would either have to say yes to everyone who asked or no to everyone. So, today was the Missourian's turn to follow us around. As I said yesterday, we are fairly overwhelmed and frankly more than a little confused about the interest in our little experiment.
Nonetheless we had a good time with Shawn Spezio (I'm CERTAIN I've screwed up his last name for sure) from the Missourian. Shawn is a BIG muscular guy and my 13 year old daughter, Skye, and her friend, Patricia, thought he was pretty cool. I have to say, I thought Shawn was pretty cool myself, a very down to earth young man who did a great job making us feel comfortable during the day he spent with us.

Shawn came over a little bit before we had to head out and did the basic reporter stuff of asking questions. We then headed down to our regular stop at Rice and Osage. We were late getting to the stop and as we were heading up Osage, watched the bus pass by our stop. One of the great things about Columbia Transit is that every corner can be a stop. So we headed up the block to the corner of Rice and Ballenger and caught the bus on it's return trip from Indian Hills. We got on the bus and Bud was our driver. We've ridden the bus with Bud several times now and I really like the way he runs his bus. Sammy was feeling a little energetic because he had just gotten up from his nap and was excited because his sister was riding with him. He stood up on the his seat and Bud noticed he was standing. He reminded me in a VERY kind manner to please have Sammy sit down and I did so. I appreciated the fact that Bud is so concerned about the safety of his littlest passengers. A quick stop when sammy was standing could very well have caused him to tumble onto the hard floor of the bus and Bud took the time to notice the unsafe condition and correct it before something bad could happen. Thanks Bud.
We got to Wabash and transferred to the Orange Line South to meet up with Sande who was due to get off work. She was running a little late and, much to our chagrin, the Orange Line was RUNNING ON TIME! I couldn't believe it. We got off the bus in front of Sande's job at Green Meadows Hair Company. Sande was just geting off so we headed right across the street to the Beanery for some lunch. We all sat around a big table at the Beanery and had a great time talking to Shawn and generally joking around spending time as a family. It was really fun.

After lunch we got back on the Orange Line South and headed back to Wabash where we connected with the Green Line West to Columbia Mall. At this point Shawn said goodbye and headed off to do whatever it is that reporters do and we headed to the Mall. This was the first time I had ridden the Green Line and I was really surprised at how quickly it got us to the Mall. From Wabash to the Mall was something like 12 minutes. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have driven there in much less time. We spent the evening at the mall. Anyone with a 13 year old daughter knows that they have a natural innate ability to spend endless hours and money at the mall and my daughter is no exception.
After the mall, we headed back towards home on the Blue Line East. You have a couple of choices at the Mall of lines you can take. Both the Green Line and the Blue Line go to the mall which means that at any time of day, you can get a bus about avery half hour which makes it REALLY CONVENIENT. When you factor in the frequency the bus runs, the cost of driving, and the hassle of trying to find a place to park, I really can't see why anyone would drive to the mall.

Anyway we got on the bus and headed home. One of the people who have commented on this site suggested we try to take the bus in the evening. Tonight we did so. We got on the Blue Line at 7:45 headed home and the commenter was right on when he said the bus takes on a different flavor after hours. The bus was filled with families headed out on the town, young kids headed home from the mall, and a few "old timers" catching up with friends. There was a lot of conversation and it was a very casual friendly bus ride home. On the leg between Wabash and our place, I noticed a young kid sitting in the back of the bus with his friend laying down some pretty good rhymes.

He said his name was Darius and he was very entertaining!!! I asked his name and took his picture then gave him a card with our site address on it. His friend took the opportunity to poke fun at him which he took in stride. we got off at our stop and walked home.
Overall I am giving our rides today a 4.5 out of a possible 5. We really had a good time riding the bus and they were on time all day for us. Additionally, it was great to see how the culture of the bus changed over the course of the day and to see so many folks out enjoying their commutes by spending time with their families instead of slaving behind the wheel of a car.
Tomorrow is Sunday. The bus doesn't run on Sunday.


At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Darius said...

On the bus with the Simmons Fmily.

I know this dude that drives the bus, and he wears a white hat. I think that he's indian. He is one of the coolest drivers that is very cool to the younger kids( everybody that rides the bus). I ride the bus from green with him practicaly every day so i can get to Oakland. Lots of the students in Oaklan will tell you the same because he's cool with everybody that doesn't have a bad attitude, escpecially since we're black. He just cool to us adn i just wanted to let som people know that.
Without the bus, there is no way i could make it to school and back.

Thanks to him and all,

At 8:40 AM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

I have seen many young people on the bus in the time I've been riding and I have to say I have been very impressed at how the kids behave.
The drivers do a great job in allowing the kids to have fun while also maintaining the harmony of the other pasengers. I'm not sure it is such an easy task all the time. I don't know if the drivers go through special training in how to deal with kids or not but they all, in my observations, seem to be doing a wonderful job of making everyone of their passengers feel welcome.

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Sean Sposito said...

It was a pleasure to ride along with everyone on Saturday. I hope you got the oppurtunity to see the finished product in todays' Columbia Missourian.
Thank you for the great time, and keep in touch.

Sean Sposito
Columbia Missourian

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous CT Driver said...

HURRAH! You finally caught the Orange Route at its best. Without the weekday traffic (and the odd, rare breakdown) slowing it down on Saturday it's a cinch keeping that route on time. It will be similar once MU lets out for the Summer.

And Saturday is always a different experience than weekdays. Things are much more laid back. Glad you enjoyed the day and the evening.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great articles in the papers! (This is Ellen, BTW; for some reason I can only get my comments up if I choose "anonymous") I noticed that you mentioned switching to HyVee from Clovers--the new Clovers East just opened. I don't think it will be as fully stocked as the other one, but it is right on the Red East, next to Eastgate.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

On man!!!!
Ellen, I wish I had read your comment before I left to Gerbes today. I was actually hoping ot get to the Farmer's Market but they weren't there. I thought they had hours on Monday afternoon?
Anyway, YES!!!!! I'm so glad Clovers opened their Eastgate store.
You should be able to post using your name, not sure why that doesn't work. Make sure you have the "Blogger" radio button selected when you put in your user name and password.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grand greetings, I have been a transit user for about a year now, and I found that while the system has its downs, with out it, geting around Columbia would be hell. And the drivers are almost always nice people.

Yes, I would love to see the bus system expand, becomeing a metro-area service rather then in city limits only. And theres a lot of the city still on served. Mamby the city should advertise it vegerlisly to get the bus known. Mamby they could use your family as a poster family, willing to at least try the bus to do your daily arreands. I respect that you did that. But since your family seems to be getting good attention, suggest any ideas in a specific tone, and then the systme workers might see it, and let the city officals in on some of them. Any effert is good. If youd like, I can give you my suggestions, because I would really like the systme grow so Columbia can become connected by bus.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

I invite anyone to comment on the blog. I know for a fact that the CT managers and some drives are looking at the blog to see how things could be made more "user friendly". I would say that if you have opportunities for improvement for the bus company, you might find that putting them on here as a comment gets them read.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Lee Radtke said...

I think the Monday and Wednesday dates for the Columbia Farmers Market start later in the season, when there's more produce available. You can check their Web site at

Your blog is really addictive. We should have someone from CATV following you around - Columbia's own Reality Show.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger The Simmons Family said...

Thanks for the compliment Lee. So far the only folks who've contactes me are the newpaper people. I am having a lot of fun with the blog and with riding the bus. It's really making me think about other ways my family can savemoney and lead a simpler life.


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