The following is a true story:
I swooped into Vancouver B.C. last Thursday for a 10 -hour reporting trip and by late afternoon was running 15 minutes behind for my last interview. So I called the interviewee’s assistant, said I was flagging a cab and that I hoped to be there soon.
Why not take the bus, she asked. I responded, uncertainly, what with waiting for the bus and travel time—the meeting was about 3 miles away–who knew when I’d arrive. Then I glanced up from the phone booth—yes I was calling from a phone booth, that’s another story—and saw the bus in question, the #8 Fraser, which, it then dawned on me, had passed by twice in 15 minutes.
One Hour Later
The interview was over, and I needed to find the nearest SkyTrain--Vancouver’s light rapid transit system that connects to YVR International Airport.
Hop the bus on the corner, and you’ll get there directly, advised the guy I’d been interviewing.
But I was in a rush and skeptical.
“How often does the bus come?” I asked.
“Every five minutes.“
So I walked outside and climbed straight onto the #41 bus, which deposited me at the Oakridge Centre station. I took the escalator underground, where a digital sign indicated the wait time for the next Canada line train to YVR– 3 minutes.
On Saturday, the Oregonian published a story about new PBOT director Tom Miller and his “true choice” transportation vision—which would include, among other things, more frequent bus service so commuters wouldn’t languish at pdx bus stops.
I don’t know how this vision intersects with Tri-Met’s recent history of service cuts. But I do know what the slogan for Miller’s new policy should be. Every. Five. Minutes.