Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Bus Strike Retrospective

The 51-day OC Transpo bus strike began a year ago today.

A year ago today a massive snowstorm dumped half a foot of snow overnight, just like today. A year ago today I woke up feeling like I was under house arrest. Listening to the startling silence where there used to be engine roar from the bus stop below my apartment. Isolated off in the South End, an hour's walk from the nearest of my usual activities. Unable to get to work.

At least, I thought so at the time.

This morning I skipped the bike ride to work because there was still a lot of snow in the gutters, and deep slush; I figured I'd take the bus and wait on the city getting the streets cleared. And tomorrow I might be getting a ride with a friend downtown in the morning to sing with my choir on the A Channel, so I may not be riding tomorrow. But I will be riding over the weekend, and I'm going to give it a shot on Monday for sure. That's the difference between last year, and this year. Now, I've discovered I can choose not to use the bus.

It seems a lot of people are: this article from suggests that a year on, ridership is down. No wonder: with routes getting slashed right and left, and fare hikes looming (it's already $3.00 a ride, which is just ridiculous) who wouldn't want to find another way around?

And besides, I took the bus for the first time in a long time yesterday, only to discover that it took nearly two hours for me to get home from the office. Nearly two hours. It's a 40 minute run on the bike. Make that an hour to make up for bad riding conditions.

It's amazing how trapped I felt last year. How un-trapped I feel now. Just for having spent a little under a year riding in all weather, and learning to be comfortable on the streets.

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