Bus Ride and 2600 Meetup

Growing up in a small town, there was never any bus service. As you probably have already read with my blog, I like to drive. With that, it has never really crossed my mind to take the bus. While I like to drive, I hate the stop and go traffic and the congestion of the city. Also with my Focus having over 200,000 miles, I want to keep as much wear and tear off of it so it’ll last longer. Obviously, the way to do this is to either walk, bike, or take the bus. Walking works for a certain distance (as well as the Texas heat has a major factor in this), like going to the grocery store, but when there is a Meetup across the city, you have to take the bus.

I have never actually taken a city bus. I have always driven or took a taxi or something other than the bus. My apartment has a ton of bus stops so I decided to give it a try. The nice thing about Austin’s bus system is they have an app that helps plan trips, as well as you can buy your tickets right through the app. All you have to do is activate the ticket a certain way and show the driver as you get on the bus and it acts as your boarding pass.

I purchased my ticket through the app and then planned that I’d take bus 19 and then 21 to the 2600 Meetup on Chicon Street. 2600 is a computer security magazine and they have monthly meetups throughout the world. The Austin one is currently hosted at a coworking space called Chicon Collective.

I walked a little way down the road to 19’s bus stop.

The bus stop had a bench and a little canopy. As typical for a Texas summer, it was hot as heck. The shade did help a bit while I sat there and waited. I also brought a big bottle of water to stay hydrated.

The bus itself wasn’t too packed and the air conditioning definitely did feel nice when I sat down.

One thing that does suck about the bus is the seats do not have much padding. Since my ride was across town, it was an hour ride. It did get a bit uncomfortable on the millimeter of padding they did provide. The bus also rattled a ton and was a bit loud so that made the ride a little more uncomfortable.

I followed Google Maps and there was a white dot where I had to transfer. I was able to watch to blue dot show me where the bus was moving so it made knowing where to pull the lever to request a stop. I was able to easily get to my destination with no issues other than the ride itself being a bit uncomfortable.

The Meetup itself went good. I had a lot of good conversation and the turnout was pretty good also.

Chicon Collective is an interesting place. There are a lot of artists who use this space so there are some interesting works of art on the wall.

When the Meetup was over, it was time to hit to bus again. I looked at the schedule and it told me I could take the 21 bus back to 19 and then back to my apartment. This ended up being wrong and the 21 bus never showed when it was supposed to, Then, when I checked the trip planner on the app, the trip planned didn’t have that trip anymore. It felt kind of sketchy sitting in the dark alone at this bus stop, especially considering this used to be a bad part of town. It isn’t too bad of a part of town anymore due to gentrification, but there are still some remnants of it.

I found that the 320 bus would actually take me within about 2-3 blocks of my apartment without having to transfer. It was also only a half block walk to that stop so I waited there for that bus. This time, the bus did come on time.

It took a little over an hour to get back but I didn’t have to fight traffic. After riding the bus for that long, it was a bit uncomfortable again. I can definitely see where they could make improvements on the rattling and noisiness of the bus as well as the making the seats a bit more comfortable. Overall, it still isn’t too bad of a deal. It was $2.50 for a day pass and that basically lets someone else fight traffic and keeps the wear and tear off the Focus.

Also, for downtown Meetups $2.50 is a bargain compared to the additional $5-20 for parking that you would have to pay. Maybe I’ll start taking the bus a little more and it’ll also allow me to work on stuff with the downtime that is created.

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