Monday, September 28, 2009

Riding the bus

Here in Bellingham, the bus system (the Whatcom Transportation Authority) is truly great. I've got a bus stop right down at the end of the driveway of the apartment complex where we live. I ride the bus to the gym every weekday morning, catching it at 7:53am for the 10-minute ride to town. Sometimes, just for fun, I'll walk down the street after the gym workout and catch the 401 to Fairhaven. Bellingham is made up of 23 different neighborhoods, which all came together from the consolidation of three different townships in 1904, joining together to become the City of Bellingham.

When we moved here more than a year ago, I had no idea of the great benefits of the city that I would learn to love: not only the bus system, but its proximity to Vancouver, B.C. (30 miles north) and Seattle, 85 miles south. On my bus ride to Fairhaven, only a 15-minute ride, I see Bellingham Bay to my right (picture taken from the bus), and condos and homes to my left as we travel down to Fairhaven. My three most favorite destinations are the Village Bookstore, my massage therapist's office, and Boulevard Park, which is a wonderful walk along Bellingham Bay.

 The main thing is that my husband and I still have two cars, because neither of us can agree on whose car will go, but we only need one. The bus allows me to ride UNLIMITED for $35 for three months of riding (as a senior). So I can choose to get onto a bus and just scan my bus pass and ride from the Canadian border about 18 miles north, to Mt. Vernon, 30 miles south. And I can ride back and forth all day long if I wanted to. Is this amazing, or what?

This picture shows the inside of one of the newer buses. A passenger has just pulled the cord to get the bus to let him off at the next stop. As you can see, the bus is used, but not heavily. This was taken at about noon on a Saturday.

And this bus (the #10) is my ride back to the bus stop at the end of my driveway. It only goes around every hour, but the other one I can ride home if I'm willing to walk a block to my apartment comes every other half hour. I find the ability to get home every half hour to be more than adequate. I'm still thinking about getting rid of one of our cars, but for now, not driving means I save gas, and wear and tear, and I get to enjoy my fellow passengers. I'm so pleased to have such a great system available to me!


  1. WOW! that is a good deal! In Boston a round trip on a bus is about $2.50 now. When I lived nearer to Boston my monthly combo bus/subway pass was over $100 and a monthly train pass to get me in and out of Boston now that I'm up on the north shore is about $200. I should move to Washington!

  2. That's great! You seem to have found the perfect retirement area. In a lot of cities around here, senior citizens do not like having to ride the bus. When I lived in the city, my next-door-neighbor was mugged waiting for the bus. They banged her up pretty bad. She was in her 80s and headed to her volunteer job at the hospital. I'm glad you have such a great community. How do we make them all like that?

  3. We have a bus that runs through our town heading either north or south, but I haven't used it yet. I am content to stay home during the week and haven't ventured any further than my children's homes. (The furthest is an hour away.) Hubby does the lion share of the driving and we are very fortunate that he drives a company car for work

    You do seem to be in a perfect location... and not far from Canada, eh?

  4. That's really a great deal!
    When I lived on Cape Cod, they had a bus than ran from Hyannis to Provincetown and all it cost was a dollar and you could catch anywhere along the route.
    Here in the 'boonies' we have no bus routes!
    Sunny :)

  5. We have a great bus system down here in Vancouver as well. I love riding the bus and since I'm in school I get a discounted bus pass. It's nice!

  6. It seems like you found a very comfortable place to live in. The buses looks neat and well organized. Unlike here, buses in the streets are like king of the roads, they stop where they want to stop, the bus drivers are not well disciplined. I prefer riding trains which are more cleaner and well organized in handling passengers. I don't ride the bus anymore.


  7. I don't think our bus system is nearly as well organized or user friendly. Then again, I have't tried it so I just don't know...
    I have to have a vehicle, what with the toddler and all. Besides, we are conveniently located and a number of the places I go are within a 5 minute drive. Aside from that, I'd have to drive somewhere just to be able to catch a bus; the city buses don't ride by my neighborhood.

    Be sure to stop by today; my ultrasound is this morning. I should know soon (hopefully) whether Peanut is a he or a she!

  8. I went everywhere by bus when I was at uni - a great way to get about in Glasgow as the tube system just goes round and round - it is called by the locals 'The Clockwork Orange' because the rubes are orange too! You get a great deal in your home country and good for ou making use of it. Our counry is grid-locked by traffic as the train system was depleted in the 50's so you have to go south to go east or west. No wonder everyone takes their car but traffic jams are the norm now. I too have an old Mercedes as a second car but we don't need a second car as we are both working from home but I can't bear to part with it as it cost and arm and a leg and still runs beautifully. I am very attached to it! One day I will let it go but now for now - the old lady has serviced me well and I know I will wipe away the tears when I say a final good-bye!

  9. We have local bus service that is affordable also. My husband and I used to ride it to town for the convenience of saving gas and not having to park. Sounds like you have a really great transportation set up there.

  10. It is a nice looking bus. Clean too.

  11. Your very lucky to have a regular, clean bus service available to you. Unfortunately in our small town, we only have the smaller buses that take folks to the doctor, grocery store, etc.
    Fifteen miles down the road, they have a full bus service, taking you to Nashville.
    However we do have a train, that runs, and stops at three different towns, before it reaches it's Nashville destination.
    In England you are eligible for a free bus pass if your sixty years or older, and can be used to travel the entire country.

  12. I am catching up reading all the blogs and I just read all your past posts which are very informative and fun as usual with lovely photographs. We do not have a bus close by so if the cars don’t work – we stay at home. Thanks for commenting on my blog while I was away. I just called my daughter in California to wish her a happy birthday and she told me something that I thought would make you laugh. She looked at her birth certificate to see at what time she was born and noticed under “race” for father they had written “Caucasian/white” and for mother, they had written ”French.” I think this is hilarious, don’t they realize that there are French citizens who are white, black, yellow or whatever, and that to be French is not a “race” – I thought you’d get a kick out of that – I did.

  13. My husband takes the bus to work. I keep meaning to bike more. But I need to get my but in gear...Ha!

  14. It looks like you do have a great bus system over your way, affordable and clean as well. You are in a good area, Seattle is close but not too close and the border is a short drive away for visits to BC.

    Congrats on winning the key chain, it's just a little something but cute. Could you email me your mailing address? Thanks.


  15. I loved this post D-Jan, comparing your life with mine. I just love to put on your shoes every now and then and see what it is like to be you, so to speak, if you don't mind! What I noticed here is that the bus looks wonderful, new and bright and shiny, you have to pay! Our seniors, i.e. people over 60, get to ride free! and that you still have two cars even though you need but one! Get rid of it NOW...! You go to the gym every day!!!!! wow, and I've never been once in my whole life. You go to the massage parlour? I've never been there either! Isn't it great, the way we live our lives differently. Would you like me to post my bus ride and journey to work? as a comparison? My love to you,
    Blessings, Star

  16. We live way to far in the sticks to have a bus system, I think we probably have to drive about 85 miles to the nearest city bus system. I would probably go more places by myself if I could ride the bus. :)

  17. How I wish we had buses to utilize where I live! In fact, our little town is so rural we don't even have access to a taxi!! The nearest town with bus access or taxi access is about 35 miles away, and they are small towns without much of a schedule for rides, etc.


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