It was with some pride that I dissected this week’s East Bay Express cover story on the rise of Belgian-made Van Hool buses at AC Transit. I enjoyed seeing that regular Capricious Commuter commentator David Vartanoff was quoted in the story and that another regular voice on this blog, V Smoothe, had a scathing critique of the story on her own blog, www.abetteroakland.com.
I read Bob Gammon’s story, “The Buses from Hell,” with interest, wanting to know as much as possible about these buses that get some riders and bus drivers so angry they might be provoked to throw something at these vehicles with sleek European styling. He’s won more awards for his work than I’ve submitted entries for, so I knew this would be something good.
I mean, you can’t go wrong when you start a story with, “Pamela Daniels lost her left leg to a Van Hool bus.” Gammon is careful to give both sides of the story, including AC Transit’s description of the leg being seriously injured prior to Daniels’ tragic fall on the low-floored Van Hool bus.
But the article had a profound effect on V Smoothe, who not only titled her blog post “The Weekly from Hell,” but declared, “This paper is dead to me.”
The Expressis still quite alive for me, and I’m secretly hoping that Part II of the exposé doesn’t include any bombshells that I will be forced to explain away to my editor.
I saw Gammon at last night’s AC Transit board meeting, which I attended to hear the board table the agency staff’s fare increase proposals.
As if to rub in my aloofness when it came to bus transit and the downtrodden of our fair city, a very nice longtime rider advocate came up to me, in front of my colleagues from the Express and the Berkeley Daily Planet and said, “You’re new here. Who do you work for?” Cue peals of laughter.
Ok, so I’ve been busy with the Bay Bridge, Caltrans, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and other things having more to do with personal vehicular transportation than the proletarian alternative.
And here’s a further confession: I’ve been driving to work, 74 miles each way! I could take a train, but I’m waiting for the month to end so I can get a monthly pass for February. No, this month my carbon footprint is probably bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (I should add that he’s not as imposing up close as he is on the big screen).
There, it’s all out in the open. I’m part of the problem. Sneer all you want. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition won’t even link to my blog, I’m such an interchangeable component of the Corporate Mainstream Media Industrial Complex.
That settled, I’m going to mount my MTC transponder, drive back to my exclusive Central Valley enclave and call it a day.
Photo from www.wikipedia.com.