Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who to Woohoo Wednesday: SB MTD

Princess Whackamole is departing for the arctic circle, leaving the ranch a little colder for the next month. While she's gone, I'm hanging up my chauffeur hat. In fact, I'm going to take it a step further: I've challenged myself to go car-free.

Coincidentally, June 21 is SB MTD's "Dump the Pump Day," according to an ad I'm seeing in the Daily Sound. What is Dump the Pump Day? Doesn't look like we get a free ride, but it's a little gimmick that can get folks talking about the bus. I don't find any details about Dump the Pump on the Metropolitan Transit District website, but that's not gonna stop me from giving the SB MTD a woohoo. The fact that the 24X left us waiting at the UCSB stop after leaving a FULL FIVE MINUTES ahead of schedule last week compromises the woohoo, but all in all, I believe that the MTD needs all the positive reinforcement we can offer.

Apparently the point of Dump the Pump is that mass transit reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and I'm all for that. I'm also impressed that MTD has added hybrid buses to its fleet and has added more frequent stops. I also like that for the most part our buses feel clean and safe.

On my wish list? I'd love to see more free bus days, to encourage more people to try the bus. For example--to put it in terms a blogger can relate to--"Free Ride Friday." I also wish the bike racks were a little bigger; our electric bikes don't fit. There are also times when the bike racks are full, and bikers have to wait for the next bus. And it would be nice if there were more neighborhood bus stops, so we didn't have to hike over a mile to catch a ride. I know, I know... there's a lot of chicken and egg problem with bus planning. Which comes first, the routes or the riders?

Our bus system is a critical part of making Santa Barbara sustainable. It ain't as easy as driving, it ain't sexy, but you get to stare out the window at the beautiful planet you're helping to save. If you're not ditching your car at least once a week, why not?

Is anyone else interested in a little car-free challenge?


Trekking Left said...

I suppose I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't accept your challenge. Does the bus go to Summerland?

Queen Whackamole said...

Looks like maybe Line 20 goes that way...

Noelle Aguayo said...

I'd like to take the challenge, but it is a slow process. I'm working in that direction by participating in the Team Bike Challenge. I've been riding to work/combined with bus commutes on average of 3x a week, yet on the weekends, we make so many little car trips with baby on a tight schedule, that it feels like we've wiped out the benefit of those other rides. One other problem I see, is that sometimes I'm the only one on line 22 going to my remote locale of the Riviera via the Mission. And, since the buses on that route are not the semi-sexy hybrid buses (okay, there's no such thing as a sexy bus), in a way, I'm creating MORE waste.

I think simplifying is the way to make it work. E.G., a simple weekend schedule w/o too many events, so you have the flexibility to respond to the bus schedule. But what about that trip to the nursery?