Current mood: accomplished
This is a story of how a supposedly impossible commute became at least do-able, even if it was not very fast. If I had to do it again, I would at least know how.
I had a two-day temp job at an office building in Warrendale PA (roughly here; I walked to this specific spot from the worksite, as mentioned below), about 10 miles from my house. I drove there Monday and drove home, but because my wife works nights, I had to find alternative transportation for Tuesday. Getting there, I arranged to meet a co-worker to carpool, but I was on my own getting home.
As the work day ended, nobody was heading my way, so I sat in the lobby, stuck. Outside it was raining, and the idea of walking 10 miles in a 45 degree drizzle loomed. What to do!
I knew there was an outbound transit trip that went past the place, but was not aware of any inbound afternoon service. I hoped that I might be able to beg my way onto an outbound trip in hopes the driver would be making a "deadhead" (empty) trip back Downtown for another outbound run. Once Downtown, I could catch my regular route that passes a quarter mile from my home.
Turns out it was easier than that! I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, that there was an inbound trip. In fact, there were a couple of them, and if I had known about it beforehand, could actually have caught an earlier trip while I sulked in the lobby, with a very short wait.
As it was, though, after waiting 30 minutes for that next bus, I was Downtown in 25 more minutes, 10 minutes later was headed back outbound, and 30 minutes after that was home and dry. All told, it took a bit under two hours from deciding to give up begging a ride, to sitting in my own house.
Morals of the story:
- If you do not know that transit service exists, it cannot help you.
- If you know it exists but do not where or when to catch it, it cannot help you.
- Having options means you are not stranded.
- The system might not get you there quickly, but it does work.
Even better, the bus Downtown was one of the big, 10-wheel, over-the-road buses, identical in many respect to the rigs that Greyhound uses. Wow, they are nice to ride.
The real problem was the "V"-shaped commute. Driving that 10 miles takes almost 30 tedious suburban traffic minutes, but far less than the 100-plus-minute bus trip. For those who live the other side of town, though, using this option might make a good bit of sense.