Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I must tell the end of the story first .. before I can write about the beginning.

My car is sitting in the garage next to our newsroom as I drove to work today. Driving isn't usually a problem for me, but I was hoping to take the bus today (see post below) as part of the big "Dump The Pump" week-long community project.

I haven't taken the bus in years. My fondest memories are picking up the Metro on Howard Street and either heading to Chapel Hill Mall or to the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium to swim. I think it used to be about $.50 so it was a good bargain.

This morning, I put eight quarters in my pocket so that I'd definitely have enough change to hop on the bus.

I checked the Metro website to locate the right bus and time for my ride into downtown Akron. From what I could make from the map, I needed the #28 bus which originates in the Merriman Valley and heads downtown several times a day.

At 9 a.m., I called the Metro HQ at 330-762-0341 to make sure I was reading everything right. The nice guy on the other end told me that if I was standing at the corner of Portage Path and Barcelona at a few minutes before 10 a.m., that the #28 bus would scoop me up and deliver me to town.

Easy. Easy. Nothing easier in the world. Right?

I got a ride to the intersection and arrived a few minutes early .. around 9:54 a.m. Since I had a few minutes, I struck up a conversation with a few construction guys working on the sidewalk at the bus stop. (see picture) I told them about riding my bike yesterday and the bus today. One guy laughed that I could probably take my bike on the bus with me. It was good chatter before my big trip on ye old Metro bus.

9:57 a.m. Tick, Tick, Tick.

9:59 a.m. "HEY THERE GOES MY BUS!"

Looking one block away, I watched as the #28 bus totally ignored turning on to Portage Path to pick me up, and instead the driver continued up the Merriman Road Hill like Sandra Bullock in the action movie Speed.

"Looks like you're walking," one of the brick layers told me.

I was absolutely stunned that I was left standing at the bus stop. I mean, the website and a metro employee told me exactly where to stand and when to be there.

I got left anyway.

I've since checked the RTA website again to make sure there wasn't some note about re-routing the #28 because of nearby construction but there is no such note. I also checked to make sure that the Barcelona-Portage Path spot was on that bus's route . .and it is .. for 10:01 a.m.

The bus driver just dissed me.

As if getting dumped by the bus driver didn't make me late enough, I got stuck waiting for a train a few minutes later in my car. (yet anothe photo from my camera phone)

Just not my day.

I'm still pursuing a "Dump The Pump" story for tonight's 7 p.m. broadcast because the program is still a good one.

I might still try the bus later this week, but after this morning's exercise in futility, I'm thinking of hitchhiking. (Kidding)


laurac19 said...

How come nobody took a picture of the look on your face when the bus missed your stop? LOL Sorry Eric... I hope you called and complained or that someone from RTA sees your post!!!

Swanny said...

Nice to see the $16 million dollar annual raise that everyone voted to give METRO is going to improving service...

taawd said...

all i want is to be able to catch the RTA in downtown cleveland close to my place. i could go up on west 25th street and catch a bus to the rapid but that's not time efficient. the closest rapid stop is on w25th and lorain (a good walk) or at settler's landing (that's going backwards and catching the train again at tower city!) rta needs to get wise to a growing downtown Cleveland population.

Village Green said...

Hey, at least you tried to do the right thing. I like the map you included in your post that shows where you were and where the bus went. You ought to forward that that to Metro customer service.

Ed Esposito said...

OMG LOL...I'm running out of letters already. Another GREAT post...let us know when you get a response from the bus folks.

Anonymous said...

Life in the Valley is just great with yet another construction project. You don't know from one day to the next what part of Portage Path will be accessible. It's difficult enough to back up or u-turn with a car. Try doing it with a bus. Parkway Estates people have a major problem convincing the construction crew that yes we do need at least one entrance /exit for our 400 houses.

Anonymous said...

I think the Mayor may have been on that bus, doing his own Dump The Pump campaign. He probably saw you and told the driver not to turn.

Good luck,


Tony said...

Eric, if I hadn't picked up a job, I could've given you a ride if you had screamed a little louder! (Well, I would've lent you K's bike, I mean, gas is $4 a gallon buddy...)
As you are learning, trying to find alternate means of commuting in Akron is just putting yourself in the role of Odysseus. The Gods will go "Aw gee, isn't that cute?" and make it be 50 degrees and rain till you get your butt back in the SUV and be a good little peon...

Colin Morris said...

Every time you start using public transit in a new town (or restart, as in your case), there are hard lessons to learn before you get comfortable with it. I empathize with those frustrations. In Chicago, Kent and Akron, I've had very cold and blustery learning curves as I misread schedules or cut it too close to departure time.

But being skipped when you were standing at the right stop? I'm definitely eager to hear the Metro response. Please, keep us posted.

(FYI, for next time - You'll need more than eight quarters to take the bus anywhere round trip. Best thing to do is hop on with $3 and buy yourself an all-day pass for unexpected trips.)

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