Rant

I apologize in advance for this post. I find myself in the middle of a perfect storm with no good solution except to push through it. My frustration level is high, though I know a couple of months from now I’ll look back and think it wasn’t so bad.

We’re a one-car family. Except for a few weeks over three years ago, we always have been. It’s complicated and sucktastic much of the time, but I’m used to it. I rely a lot of public transportation, which is sometimes great and more frequently miserable in Pittsburgh. In December I fell on the bus and needed surgery to repair my knee. This week I was on an especially crowded bus and was hit in the head with backpacks three times during my ride to work. But that’s just a small factor in what I’m angry about right now. (Except the crowded part. That’s just getting worse.)

So the Port Authority here in Pittsburgh is implementing yet another round of service cuts. The route that runs between the stop nearest my home and Oliver’s school is being eliminated in a few days. I was counting on that route being there in August. Though Oliver can ride a school bus, Eleanor won’t be eligible when she starts Pre-K at the same school this fall. I planned to take both of them on the bus, then walking to my office. My options are to take a bus that leaves me with walk that’s too long for the kids, especially in bad weather, or another route that requires crossing a busy 4 lane road and a bus change.

This week, the first week of Oliver’s spring break (I KNOW!!!), I have found myself waiting 30 minutes or more for a bus in the morning. Since it’s break and there are no buses, I have been driving Oliver to the full day program at his school, driving home, and walking to catch the bus near our house. Each day the bus has been late by a significant margin. Some of the scheduled buses haven’t arrived at all. I’ve had a seat just once this week, and I gave it to someone who needed it more than me a few stops after I boarded, giving me all sorts of flashbacks to the day I fell and wrecked my knee. Tonight I waited another half an hour for a bus home after I had to stay late for a meeting. That’s an hour of my day spent waiting, time I could have spent with the kids. An hour I’m not going to get back. Yeah, I can do a little email or read the news, but it still feels like wasted time.

And now for the perfect storm I mentioned. Oliver starts soccer again in a few weeks. Practice is Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30. My photography class begins the same day as soccer, from 6:30 to 9:30. Can you see where this is going? Class is about a mile from home so it’s walkable, and given the bus cut backs, it’s preferable to waiting around for a bus to show up, but at 9:30 at night?

Like I said, I know I’ll get through it. Walking a mile will be good exercise, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280644240 Guy Stalnaker

    I feel your pain. If I miss the last of the express buses, the route home requires a transfer and takes twice as long. So no after work beers at the near-campus joints with coworkers anymore.

  • http://headlessfamily5.blogspot.com/ Headless Mom

    That is sucktastic. You’re right. Hope it gets better!

  • http://twitter.com/redpenmama redpenmama

    Just out of curiosity, why only a one car household?

    I cannot believe PAT continues to slash and burn its schedules and routes. When I lived in the city, on the South Side (a long, long time ago), I didn’t need a car at all. I bused and walked everywhere, including to work, whether downtown or Oakland. Then, when we moved to the ‘burbs, I depended on public transport to get to my job downtown. Parking costs were prohibitive, and they, too, have only gotten worse.

    Anyway, I do hope you find a workable solution. While walking a mile will be great exercise, it sounds like the rest of the situation is pure stress. No fun.