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KeithTenn

Anyone ride the bus?

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Hi everyone - longtime member and lurker, first time poster.

Just curious if anyone on the forum rides the bus to/from work. I am a mid-level professional working downtown and living in SE Nashville. With the price of gas recently, I have seriously considered riding the bus to and from work each day, but have never "made the leap," so to speak. I have been thinking about catching the 37X from the Park and Ride at the Brentwood Holiday Inn, but wanted to see what anyone else thinks about this.

Do any other forum posters ride the bus to/from work? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Have you experienced any problems with it, such as being late, waiting in the rain, undesirables, etc..? Does anyone in particular ride the 37X? If so, do have have any specific comments to add? Any and all help is much appreciated.

Thanks!!

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Welcome to the forum KeithTenn.

I would bet you have some takers on this question. For myself the only bus route I have done was the Nolensville rd # 12. I sometimes get my truck worked on down there an take it into town. As far as that bus goes it is pretty much on time, unless there is a wreck and that will affect everyone. One thing that happens when there is a wreck is the buses will take an alternative route and skip by some stops. That is rare but it does happen. Never have I had a problem with other riders. Most people were going DT as myself and there were a lot of State employees on that particular bus. Getting wet would be another issue depending on the stop. Some stops are covered and others are not. The 37X is an express and that should be an easy ride DT. If I lived on or close to a bus stop, I would probably be riding it.

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I'm one of the many State workers who takes advantage of the "Easy Ride" program--the State pays for our bus pass. Since this means I don't pay a penny for my commute (except via taxes, obviously), it's a great perk.

I live on West End at 31st Avenue, so I catch the bus literally at my doorstep outside the Westboro Apartments. My route is the #3 West End. In the mornings I take either the 7:13 or the 7:32 bus, and the drivers are amazingly consistent and punctual. Actually, I've never had a problem with any buses being late in the mornings--there's rarely more than a two-minute variance from the scheduled time (incidentally, I've noticed they're more often early than late in the mornings). The bus drops me off less than two blocks from the building where I work on Capitol Hill. It's great.

In the afternoons, I've noticed the buses are a bit less consistent. After work I hustle down to the Deaderick Street station. Since I leave work at 4:30, the 4:36 bus has usually already left--but sometimes it's late enough that I can catch it. I typically catch the 4:55 back to 31st and West End, where I arrifve between 5:10 and 5:15.

Riding the bus has been a great experience--it's free (for me) and the times and pickup/dropoff points are convenient. I highly recommend it.

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Welcome to the forum! I do not take the bus to work because I would have to transfer downtown, and then walk several blocks down a road with no sidewalks to get to work. But if I worked downtown, I would definitely take the bus on a daily basis. I live steps from Gallatin Pike, and one of the (few) perks of being that close is to that street is the frequent bus service downtown or to Rivergate. I agree with others' assessment that the Nashville buses run pretty much on schedule. I am near the Gallatin Pike route, the Scott Street Route, and the Shelby Ave Route. I can literally tell if I am late to work based on whether I am ahead of those busses or behind them in my car!

My sporadic experiences riding the buses in Nashville have been positive. There is a great need for better/more consistent bus stops, and the Deadrick Street bus shelters can be pretty tawdry after dark, but I am hoping that the new bus station under construction will address the more egregious issues with riff raff, which does not necessarily include the (actually) homeless. In my experience, the drivers have been courteous and I have never had any problems with fellow riders.

I would actually like to plug the new express route from downtown to the airport. I cannot recall the number but it is like the Elm Hill Pike route. I took that bus route for my last flight to Chicago and it was one time, super clean, and the bus was equipped with luggage racks! The one thing that it lacked was passengers: there were only three of us! Short of having a train to the airport, the bus route was a pleasant experience and it went on the interstate anyway, just like a cab or the Greyline bus would but for less than 10% of the cost.

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NCP e-paper article: MTA improvements

Attached is a link to the NCP e-paper (I hope that the link works!) about Mayor Dean taking the bus to work from Green Hills. The article indicates that MTA improvements are coming, just not this year given the budget cuts and all. There is a plug for BRT. Mayor Dean does comment on the need for better bus stops, which is an understatement.

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Hmm.. I was under the impression that those new hybrid buses were bought specifically for the BRT line down Gallatin.. but I guess not.

Good to hear the mention of a possible West End BRT line also!

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KeithTenn,

I can't speak for the 37x, but i often use the 96x out to the 'boro. The express service is great. Most riders are commuters and i never feel scared to pull out my laptop and iPod. One major difference in this express route is that the buses have nice, cooshy, high-back seats(like on a tour bus), as opposed to the low plastic ones. Besides the infrequency, i love it!

However, i occasionally ride the regular service and have never experienced any problems with other riders. Most people are very nice, and helpful with info. Keep in mind, that even the people that you might find "sketchy", are going to work/the store/ whatever, and are generally not looking for trouble.

edit; if it does make you nervous, here is a general rule of travel. Look confident and look busy! People will leave you alone.

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Friends,

Now that I live in Encore, I have looked into taking the No. 3 bus that runs on West End Avenue to my hourly part-time job in a building near Elliston and 25th.

But here's the deal:

It is a 2.5-mile, 10-minute drive at 9:30 in the morning from Encore to 25th. Simple. Five miles round trip is the equivalent of one-fifth of a gallon of gas, or about 65 cents.

To take the No. 3 bus, I would have to walk from Fourth and Demonbreun to Seventh and Broadway (the closest point at which the bus runs in physical relation to Encore). That's a roughly seven-minute walk. Then I would have to wait, say, 10 minutes on the bus (the No. 3 runs every 20 minutes, so I might be able to time it so that I get to the stop as the bus is approaching). I assume the trip down Broad/West End from Seventh to 25th (at the Rite-Aid) would be about eight minutes (considering stops). Then I would have a roughly four-minute walk to the building in which I work. So the time would involve at least 15 minutes and maybe, more realistically, 20. Round trip would be 30 to 40 minutes and $2.70 in bus fare. The negatives are time and money. The positives are excercise and not gas as an individual motorists. So I might try it on occasion.

WW/ESU

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You're right, William. The bus doesn't save money for those who already own a car except for longer distance commutes than 5 miles roundtrip. What really makes shorter bus rides more fiscally desirable in cities denser than Nashville is the absence of free parking. When the price to park exceeds the cost of a roundtrip bus fare, or when there is no parking to be had, the bus starts to look cheap and convenient. The higher those prices scale, the increased odds of folks abandoning cars altogether. I'm still smarting over the cost of car payments, insurance payments, gas and maintenance in Nashville over my total tax-free transportation outlay of $75/month in Chicago!

I do applaud your civic mindedness to take the bus, though!

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Thanks for the City Paper link, bwithers1. Glad to see the mayor's interested in improvements. Sadly, it looks like due to those budget cuts, MTA is headed in the opposite direction. This landed in my inbox this morning:

http://www.nashvillemta.org/PDF/PublicHearings_April08.PDF

In typical MTA fashion, they're being exceedingly vague about what they plan to cut, although I suspect they've already decided. Personally, I've depended on the #1 Vine Hill route on a daily basis for over seven years, and will be in severely deep excrement should they decide to cut the route. And I won't be the only one.

Unfortunately only those savvy enough to know that MTA even has an email list or just happen to notice the announcement in fine print somewhere on page 27C (or whatever) of the Tennessean will even know that there will be public hearings. And good luck getting home after the meeting by bus, most of them will have stopped running.

Sorry, rant mode off. Arrgh.

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