Streetfilms: Seattle’s Bus Chick on the Rewards of the Riding Life

Carla Saulter pens a very eclectic blog called Bus Chick, Transit Authority, which you can find on the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s web site.

Carla, who lives car-free with her husband and young daughter, is all about riding transit and inspiring
others to do the same. The bus has indeed figured prominently in her life: she
met her husband on the bus; riding has provided her with a creative
outlet for stories and interesting anecdotes; and she named her first
child for the most renowned bus rider in history.

I was bowled over when I heard that Carla actually went by bus to
give birth at the hospital (not to mention to come home
afterward). I knew then and there that I needed to profile her. I just wish I lived closer to the
Bus Chick family so I could ride the bus with them more

  • This is just excellent! Enjoying buses, trains, streets is cultivated, in addition to being, obviously, fun.

  • Great Streetfilm, Clarence! Hooray for Bus Chick, Bus Nerd and Chicklet for promoting Bus Chic.

  • Yeah but Seattle’s buses still get stuck in that cities horrendous traffic!

    In my one Seattle bus experience it took me 50 minutes to travel around 12 miles. And that wasn’t even during rush hour (it was late morning) and didn’t include the time I spent waiting for it.

    Totally unacceptable!

    The dominance of car travel in such a supposed “progressive city” totally turned me off to Seattle. I would never live there!

  • “In my one Seattle bus experience it took me 50 minutes to travel around 12 miles.”

    Well, it takes the same amount of time for the A “express” train to cover a similar distance from Inwood to the Financial District, so are we underground riders on dedicated rail lines in NYC really any better off than bus riders in Seattle? Perhaps the bigger problem is that mass transit in this country is inevitably slow because below-ground riders are stymied by old and poorly-maintained infrastructure while above-ground riders are stymied by the sheer number of motor vehicles on the road competing for the same space. For example, my commute time via subway is only reliable during business hours on weekdays; on weekends and late nights, I must choose between a slow subway (due to endless maintenance, track work, and route diversions) or a slow bus (due to large amounts of surface traffic).

  • Last time I was in Seattle, I had very fine bus experiences–from neighborhood to neighborhood, and from downtown to a suburb. In Portland, of course, I often had a bike on the front of a bus, nirvana.

  • sardrinks

    This is a great pod! Very well done and very inspiring! Go Metro!

  • LN

    Those of us that lived in Seattle for any length of time learned to ride bikes to actually get anywhere and home again on your schedule. BUT if the bus actually showed up then you could put your bike on the bus bike racks — also good for long hauls like to the airport and Tacoma.

    The rain and the hills are not as bad as everyone says, and I never had more than 5 speeds, more often 1 or 3.

    But when you tell people out there you don’t have a car they look at you like you must have something seriously wrong with you.

  • Most of the time I was in Seattle I was getting around town on my bike. And on that one bus trip I took my bike too. No other bikes on the rack the whole way but I know I was lucky.

    Another reason I would never live in Seattle is that car drivers have no clue how to pass a bicyclist. I though Jersey was bad but our homicidal drivers are light-years better than the clueless ones out there. Within 5 minutes of leaving the Burke-Gillman Trail I was passes by at least 10 drivers who would rather brush my shoulder then cross the double-yellow when nobody was driving in the oncoming lane.

    No Thank You! I’d rather stay here.

  • Cal

    Interesting how quickly a story like this leads to place-bashing.

  • I agree. Andy, no reason to be THAT negative!

    You should have seen my bus rides in San Francisco, it was not good at all. And I took a long one in LA that made me glad to have NYC options, but not gonna outright damn those cities just over that.

    This is a story about a bus riding family that is making a great go of it.

  • Yeah your right. It is a great story. I got carried away and that was uncalled for and for that I’m sorry.

    Still I was expecting so much more from Seattle and as you can tell, I was so disappointed with my visit that its hard for me to shake.

    Then again, I did get into the Space Needle for free because I was wearing my Rutgers Cycling Jersey and the lady at the ticket both was a high school girls basketball coach and was a big fan of Vivian Stringer. It’s a sad on my part that I so easily forgot about that and the other good experiences I had there and quickly only remember the bad things. And I’m an optimist or so I thought.

    Great story Clarence. My bad.

  • PO

    More power to the bus family.

    The Valley Metro in Phoenix moves at 10 mph. I can literally show up before the bus on some routes on a bike. That and I don’t have to get jerked around.

  • Christine

    Great job! Inspiring…my husband and I recently just sold our brand new BMW and decided that we can take the bus. It is cheaper and easier. We have no hassle getting around…love our drivers. BMW of Seattle, salesmen asked what are you going to do for a car? My husband responded Nike! We have got two feet that were made for walking. We have been without a car now for over 4 months. At first I thought there is no way we can do this – addicted to our cars like most of are – but it can be done. Take the bus, walk and ride your bike – IT IS LIBERATING!!!!


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