So today on the bus....
visual: Very bright blue lululemon pants, lite blue burn out long sleeve peeking from beneath the beloved and almost over-worn avocado green lululemon jacket with the Elvis collar, which seemingly match my newly laundered lime green and navy Nikes carry the weight of Thanksgiving holiday and my deep purple backpack full of arm warmers, side-pockets full with my sustainable coffee cup and new, super sustainable blue "I love lululemon" SIGG water bottle.... wait for the bus today.
Approaching the bus stop, I see my 'man on wheels' surfer dude-friend, Jared. The one who insists my name is Penelope and rolls around the bus stop, wishing us all to have a great day or informing us that the "coast is clear" before the line of bus passengers disappear on to the 720 line. Well, he did not recognize me, or chose not to roll my way today. A bit disappointed, I turn to him and wave and remind HIM to have a great one and stepped up. I completely forgot to get quarters this morning at the holiday hut of a Coffee Bean by my house, so I dig the green paper out of my green jacket and slide it into the machine like an old school soda vendor. Well, of course, my dollars were crinkled and half folded. And to top it off, my bus driver informs me that it does not give change. I smile and tell him that it can be a tip for him with a little wink. He huffs and grants me a half, impatient smile. Still pushing them in, my dollars take at least four (4) tries to finally be eaten by that machine. I absolutely hate holding up the line! How in the world do the Los Angeles parking meters have a Credit Card option, yet the LA Public Transportation System does not? Insane. Who carries cash and quarters anymore....well, other than me on every other day of my bus-riding life? Who?
Finally, I find my seat in the middle of the bus with the accordion walls and roller coaster-like floor that moves when you hit a bump. I sit and look around quite a bit today. I ponder my surroundings. The Asian woman next to me does not speak English - I tried her when she sat down. I avoid the terrible Transit TV educational questions. I read the signs above the bus about free available health care, ghonneria and chlamydia home kits, and some signs in Spanish I cannot completely understand. I notice a couple graffiti tags on the railing. Oh, and there is a woman near the back inhaling a muffin that literally crumbles all down the front of her and in her chair. I think out of the 20 crumbs per bite ratio, maybe, just maybe five (5) crumbs made it in her mouth. And of course, the fabric screaming at me with its oranges, red and bright blue fibers full of who-know-what kind of unsanitary items, year-old muffin crumblies, and probably some type of virus or two (2).
I take a deep breathe.
Looking for a smile. Taking a poll of the passengers and so many open seats. Seeking my old man friends that are always so sweet to me.
Trying to choose a positive thought at this very moment.
Or, a thought-provoking inquiry....
Light Bulb above head: I recall in my days of University, I had studied an initiative for the New York subway system. In response to public perception that the subway was unsafe and causing low ridership, New York answered with an anti-graffiti project started in 1984. Hard work and major sparkle duty, the entire line was clean in 1989 and ridership had risen through and after the years of clean up. (http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/crime/reducinggraffiti/casestudyreportongraffiti?page=3).
Now, a beautiful and successful case study such as this would lead me to believe that the greater Los Angeles city would follow suit. You know, as we are embarking upon 2010 in one month, and we supposedly pave the way for a very 'green' lifestyle on the West coast, why not support it with a clean, fun, inspiring LA public transportation system that everyone is happy to ride?
I am now out for greatness for the LA Metro transportation system!
Thus, my Christmas Metro List:
In no particular order of preference....
1) Feel free to visit my previous blog regarding Metro's partnership with Yankee Candle Company for an aroma-friendly ride.
2) Get rid of the 80's fabric on the seats. I'll just take the good ol' plastic seats. Environmentally safe wet wipe swipe and we can all feel sanitary on those bad boys. We could even go with a School House Rock theme and make them all look like school chairs. Or 70's vinyl? It wipes down easily.
3) Can we get some inspiration on the advertisement space? Please? While riding my bus, I would prefer to read about goal setting, world peace, green initiatives in the greater LA region, health tips, a how-to-ride-the-bus guide, how I saved the Earth today, or maybe some jokes.
4) Credit Card machine at entrance. Or even just a transit card that you can put money on whenever you ride....with a credit card.
5) Music on the bus? I would even take some elevator music. Anything.
6) Holiday decorations. It is December 2, just throw some garland around the top. Maybe a wreath on the grill? Twinkle lights might be asking a lot, but I really see a change in ridership here with these great additives such as these.
7) We are in LA, let's put a red carpet down the middle of the aisle. Now that is some real fun!
8) A newspaper and magazine rack. That is wonderful.
9) Let's get some hand sanitizer at the entrance and exits. Totally feasible and health friendly!
10) New shock systems. I might have neck issues in a year. Not kidding. It is a bumpy ride!
11) Let's do a discount day! I would love to get on the bus for free one day. What a beautiful treat, thank you LA! Oh yes, I will definitely be back.
12) Transit TV. Put something uplifting on or get rid of it all together. Please. Throw me a Seinfeld episode or even an Everybody Loves Raymond. How about the news? People love the news. No wait, I want uplifting....a Friends episode?
13) Is there a Bus Driver Appreciation Day? No? Well, there should be. I'll work on that.
14) What about some mood lighting? In the evening, that florescent lighting makes me actually feel like I am in a bumpy, smelly, non-fun jail cell on wheels. Virgin America has purple lights in their plane. Definite cool points. How about even tinted white?
Alright, that is good for now. I am off to research my Santa Claus of the LA Metro. I will deliver these suggestions and find some answers! Do not worry friends of LA, we can all ride the fun bus together soon!
If you are reading this and you work for the LA Metro system, please forward on and have your people call my people. Or just me. I have no people. And make it via email. Thanks.
Out for greatness. For you. For me. Los Angeles. And all our public transportation systems.
You will see.