For my birthday last week I bought myself a day pass for the bus. I didn’t mean to. I was meeting a friend for birthday breakfast and intended to walk downtown, but it was raining, or almost raining, or threatening to rain, so I was discouraged. I could have driven, but there is nothing as disheartening as driving when I’m ready for a walk. The bus seemed a reasonable compromise which would lessen my time in the rain, but also provide a bit of a walk. I might even be able to walk home after breakfast if the rain stopped. The real clincher was that if I got a day pass I’d have a little piece of paper with my birthday printed on it. Fancy. I might frame it.
I was glad to have the day pass because on my way home it was raining harder so I really didn’t want to walk. Also, when I went to catch the number 3 bus that would take me from Yates St right into James bay it flew right past me before I could even cross the street to get to the bus stop. I tried to make it into a positive: maybe I’d like to stop somewhere and buy a birthday present for myself! But I couldn’t think of anything I wanted for my birthday. I already have a stash of treats and I have a lot of clothes. I didn’t feel like trying on shoes. And I was a little damp at this point. The busses (plural, since I missed the direct one) I took to get home were nice and dry and warm and not too busy during mid-morning. I ended up stopping at the BC Liquor Store not far from my house and browsing around a bit for some birthday liquor. A new gin or some fruity cans? No. Bourbon.
I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy taking the bus. Albeit, when it’s not choc-a-bloc full of gross people. I meant to use them more over the winter, but I didn’t due to factors including forgetting and bonus COVID strains going on. Also since I gave up my buss pass at the start of the pandemic, it’s not quite the same. I used to jump on willy-nilly, even if just for a stop or two, just because I could. Now I have little tickets, which are finite, and when using one-at-a-time, they are limited to just one trip. A day pass is fine, but then I have to make sure I’m going to use it at least twice in the day to make up for the two tickets it costs.
I meant to use the tickets for getting me to work but I never have. I’m too happy walking in. Not to mentioned smug and pleased with myself. Etc. Not to mention the bus I thought I’d catch leaves almost half and hour after I’m usually ready to go (now that I’ve been walking in and having to leave early to accommodate that.)
Below I will copy and paste some memories of bus passes of yesteryear that I wrote up some time ago with the intention of incorporating seamlessly into a blog post. Instead, here’s this:
Have I written about my bus pass?
In Victoria there’s a group bus pass program called ProPass where if there are enough people in an organization, they can get a discounted bus pass. When I started work for government, only permanent employees were eligible to get one so I have 2.5 years of an agonizing wait before I could get one. Getting this pass would mean I had made it, I thought.
I’ve always liked taking the bus. Before I had a car it was a nice alternative to walking. And even since getting a car I’d choose taking the bus over driving, since I’m not a big fan of getting behind the wheel. I like the freedom of not being in charge of the route, and traffic. With where I live it doesn’t even take that much longer to walk anywhere downtown than in would be to take any method of vehicle transport. Walking is even quicker, sometimes, depending on bus schedules.
I remember visiting Victoria as a teenager and noting the busses on the roads. My dream was to move to Victoria and take the busses all over town. I’m a person with big ambition.
I actually did move to Victoria for university, and during my second year is when they started giving all students a cheap but manditory bus pass as part of the fees. Even though I lived on campus I was thrilled. I definatly got my money’s worth with just toodling off campus now an then, even if I wasn’t commuting. I’d go on bus adventures, just getting on a bus to see where it ended up.
When I was at Camosun then had the same program, where my student card was my bus pass, only then I had tu use it to commute to school, and also to work, and to dance class. I was busy then and it was nice to not have to worry about how I was going to get everywhere.
It was the same when I lived in Vancovuer and was an UBC student for a year. I explored all of Vancouver with my student bus pass, even taking a loop around the sky train one day, just for fun. (Acutally that was even less exciting than it sounds.)
A few years later, back in Victoria, and having finally got a permanent position, the first thing I did was fill out the paperwork to get my ProPass. Mission accomplished. I kept it even after I got my car, but I did start to think about getting rid of it. It was nice to have because the $60ish is cost was cheaper than parking downtown everyday, which was silly to do since I live so close, and it was just a 10 or so minute ride on the bus (30mins from my aptartment to my office with walking and wait time). But… it was only a 10 minute ride on the bus, and I could walk nearly the whole way to work in that same 30 minutes. So I did run the numbers a few times to see if I should get rid of it.
I really only felt encouraged to get rid of it during the pandemic. I wasn’t charged for it for the first couple of months, but once they started charging again I took the sign that I hadn’t been on a bus in that whole time to get rid of it. Also, they made it easy to give it up: they only needed a photo of my cut-up card instead of handing it in in person. Easy.
But also not easy? I didn’t want to give it up. I had worked hard to get it and it felt like I was giving up that dream that previous Lindsie had wanted so badly. I quickly decided that present Lindsie would be annoyed to pay for something that she wasn’t using and cut it up. As a compromise (I guess?), I still have the pieces for if I start to feel nostalgic (PS. This hasn’t happened).