Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Muskegon Lumberjack sponsored bus seat stands on opposite side of street from the bus stop.

I wanted to sit down at the bus stop at Shermac, the corner of Sherman and McCracken, a corner on the border between Muskegon and Norton Shores. There's a little concrete base on a street lamp there, so I was resting against the cold concrete and tweeting, making good use of time. I heard the big whoosh and rumble of the Henry Lakeshore bus rushing by, and muttered a grumble under my breath.

I called the MATS number posted on the web page and I got an answering machine in the bus station downtown, across the street from the Indian Cemetary and the soon to be open Social Security building. All buses will go to the new Social Security office, and a new bus terminal soon will upgrade that section of town. Super, but how about connecting the Muskegon and Grand Haven systems too? The Harvey bus goes to almost the Ottawa County border, to the corner of Grand Haven Road and Pontaluna. The Harbor Transit buses, dispatched the way taxis are dispatched, go to the corner of Grand Haven and Van Wagoner.

That's a mere distance of two and a half miles. Two and a half miles that must be walked, hitched or bicycled. Can't get a taxi from Grand Haven or Muskegon for that stretch because the cabs want a minimum of twelve dollars when picking up that far from base.

So I stopped into the Cherokee Restaurant to cool my heels and take my dinner. Muskegon's system runs every hour, so I wasn't going to gawk on Shermac's sidewalk. Cherokee had just added the dinner menu, which included cedar planked tilapia and perch caught in Lake Erie, plus steaks and chops. My Italian dressing tasted chemical, reminiscent of latex paint, and my waitress brought me a fresh chef salad and tossed a discount my way.

So at 7:05 PM, I am standing clearly by a bus stop sign and the Henry Lakeshore bus blew by me again. I grimaced, waved my umbrella and eventually it stopped. The bus driver explained it was the bus stop for the run that goes north on McCracken. How for the love of public transportation would one know that distinction? There's a list of stops given on the web page. The new bus stop posts have no route markings. Plus, the really outgoing and helpful bus driver, the only woman I've noted driving the bus, picks me up there. I certainly liked the system more when allowed to flag a bus down at any safe place.

I deboarded the bus to get a prescription for Norvasc filled. I had the script filled partially at the Walmart at Sherman and US-31, so the clerk had to go through the procedure of requesting the script returned. So I got it filled for three months just for convenience sake. I have never adjusted well to systems. Thinking about taking a cab the rest of the way home or walking, avoiding two buses.

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