On the Busy Number 1 Route

Don’t call me Ishmael.

In his adventurous novel, “Moby Dick,” Herman Melville’s protagonist Ishmael tells us why he feels the need to go to sea. He says in part, “Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul…and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper-hand of me that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.”

How ghastly. I have never felt an urge, not even an iota of one, to assault people, even when my hypos have had me in a sturdy headlock. And certainly I have never felt a “damp, drizzly November” in any part of my soul. When I do I’ll make sure to buy more life insurance.

Poor Ishmael. He would not have made a good bus operator. It would stress him out easily. Especially if he had to work the number 1 route, which I do every weekday after I finish the Leander Express.

The number 1 is our busiest line. I drive the 1L, which goes from Tech Ridge Park & Ride at Howard Lane to Southpark Meadows, at the new shopping center at Slaughter and I-35. On the map in the schedule booklet it looks almost like the Mississippi River.

Because it is so busy and taxing on operators, I had to look at it from another angle and see what it affords me. I found a prize. It is ripe with opportunity to help others. Like assisting a visually-impaired man cross a busy downtown street so he can hop on another bus; helping an elderly lady unload her groceries; helping a young mom carry the stroller on board; helping confused out-of-towners with information; or, helping all my passengers by staying on time so they won’t miss their connecting route. These opportunities, as they pop-up, I hit out of the park like a slugger. Because I know if I allow one opportunity to help someone go without my aid, I will never get it back.

4 thoughts on “On the Busy Number 1 Route

  1. Grant

    I am a 1L/1M rider (I take both, since the furthest south I’ll go is to William Cannon, to transfer to the 333 if I’m making a full ride home–but I also ride it between the two campuses I teach at). Despite some initial dislike of the route, it has become one of my favorites, always an engaging adventure through a true cross-section of Austin’s bus commuters. Southpark meadows has got to be a beast, I’m sure, considering the traffic snags I encounter there whenever I drive down that way, but I’m glad you all are running the 1L that far south now. Thanks for driving; I know you guys put a lot of work in, and sometimes have to put up with some grumpy riders.

  2. Don Dickson

    I dearly wish that Capital Metro would reinvent the Dillo route to take some of the pressure off the 1L/1M in the downtown area. At rush hour, particularly the afternoon rush hour, it is crammed to the gills, very slow and very uncomfortable.

    I also wish Capital Metro would reduce the number of bus stops along Congress Avenue between Cesar Chavez and the Capitol. There is simply no reason to have eight stops within eight blocks. It slows down the progress of the buses, and the buses slow down the progress of other traffic. And if the stops were at 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th, or even 2-4-6-8-9th, I can’t imagine any riders would be so greatly inconvenienced.

    It is doubly insane for the 101 to make eight stops in eight blocks. Try 2nd, 6th and 10th.

    If the Congress Dillo ran from the Capitol to 26th in one direction and the Capitol to Oltorf in the other, I bet the 1L/1M would run a heckuvalot faster and would be a heckuvalot more comfortable.

  3. Don Dickson

    I’m sorry to hear about Michele’s feet, but I believe that very few riders would be grossly inconvenienced if the buses stopped at 4th instead of 3rd, and 6th instead of 5th.

    The problem is that all these stops, coupled with the traffic lights, create tremendous amounts of congestion on Congress Avenue. And they create dangerous conditions, too, judging by the number of times I have seen car drivers try to make right turns in front of buses from the inside lane. The buses cannot pass each other without missing a stop, so they proceed along the avenue only as fast as the slowest of them can go. During the rush hours, particularly the evening rush hour, I can walk from Cesar Chavez to the Capitol faster than a bus can cover the same distance.

    Fewer stops along Congress Ave. would mean shorter and safer trips for riders, and less congestion for other motorists.

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