Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Annoying, Yet Environmentally Friendly Buses

I ride the bus every day to and from work. It's way better than driving, even on days when the bus is packed or is behind schedule. I can always zone out on the bus whereas I could never do that while driving. Lately, however, the bus rides have been a little more inconvenient than usual.

Minneapolis has been making a concerted effort to overhaul their busing system in order to make it more environmentally friendly and quieter. In order to do this, they've been rolling out hybrid buses that use less fuel and aren't the noise machines the older buses are. I applaud their effort and am behind them 100%... except when it comes to the design of the hybrid buses.

The old, standard buses are set up pretty much like your average school bus--airplane seating style. There are rows of seats that face forwards, allowing 4 people to sit in each row (2 on each side of the aisle). It's the most effective use of the space. The new buses, however, eschew this design for the front half of the bus and just have two long benches along each side of the bus. This significantly limits the amount of seats available. Because of this, people cram into these seats, extremely squished and on top of that, there are a lot more people stuck standing, making it hard for people getting on and off of the bus. Wading through people is no fun, especially now in winter when everyone is in large coats and carrying cold weather clothing items.

I am really curious to know why the hybrid buses took on such an odd design because it doesn't seem to really make practical sense to have the current design. Do people that take buses in other cities have these crazily set up buses as well or is Minneapolis an anomaly?

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