A Tale of Three Cities

I voted for rail both times it was on the ballot. Each time before election day I campaigned for it on a personal level. I had two reasons for voting for rail service in Austin. First, I had used commuter rail in California before moving to Texas and experienced the benefits it offered and saw how much people enjoyed it.  Second, and more importantly, I thought of it not so much as a need for us now but as a need for our great grandchildren and their children.

Go back with me in time to the late 80’s, early 90’s. At that time I was an assistant manager in a bookstore in Hollywood. And as fun and wild as it is in Hollywood, it was even more fun and wild in Tijuana. Plus it was a dangerous city, which was an added attraction for me. Kind of like some people are attracted to unsuitable people.

To get to “T.J.” I took Amtrak from downtown Los Angeles to downtown San Diego. There, in the same station, I would buy a one-way ticket for the commuter rail for two dollars. Then get on the red line to San Ysidro, the last town in California. A very small town. I think it was the size of Austin’s downtown and surrounding business district. It had more dirt roads than paved. Continue reading “A Tale of Three Cities”

Route 300

Today I found myself on the 300 route. That is the route I’ve been working since October. Today I also found, with help from little friends, a better me.

The best way to explain is to give an example of what a typical morning is like on the 300. I would pull my bus out of the Capital Metro gate about 4:20 in the morning. Life in Austin is remarkably quiet and still at this time. My assignment called for me to travel on Pleasant Valley to Cesar Chavez, then north on I-35 to North Lamar Transfer Center. Very quiescent was this drive but instead of drifting to daydreaming I would become reflective. It was the best time to write poetry. Unfortunately I was driving a bus instead of sitting at my desk. Continue reading “Route 300”


Where have I been that I was unaware of the “Adopt-a-Stop” program? Usually I am quick to join a program that helps clean the environment. I joined as soon as I learned about it last week.

Capital Metro’s “Adopt-a-Stop” program allows businesses, churches, schools, families or individuals to adopt a bus stop and take care of it. Sounds like fun? It is. Sounds self rewarding? It is. Sounds important? It is.

I adopted the bus stop at the “Y” in Oak Hill. It is only three-quarter mile from my home. I pass by it going to work and again returning home. From the street it looked like it did not need much work to clean up. I took with me a broom, a rake, a scoop and a five gallon trash bag. The bag filled up quickly. I picked up about 100 cigarette butts. Eeeww! Continue reading “Adopt-a-Stop”

More Roadeo

I didn’t win. But I did go up against Arthur Murillo, who is a three-time world champion. That is my consolation prize to myself.

Congratulations, Arthur. I said this to him privately and now publicly.

In April, Arthur will compete for the International Title in Cleveland, Ohio. I talked with him Monday and I can report he is cautiously optimistic at this time. “Like I told you, Leo, you’ve got to think positive. You have to say to yourself, ‘I can win this.'”

If you have Arthur as your driver (he drives the 300 route), say congratulations to him and wish him well on the International Competition.

It’s Roadeo Time

Capital Metro’s local Bus and Paratransit Roadeo competition will be held this Sunday, November 1, at the Leander Station and Park & Ride.

I am competing this year in the 35-foot bus competition. This past weekend I practiced maneuvering a bus through a 10-piece obstacle course, each challenge made to be tougher, more treacherous and mind boggling to get through than the one before. Continue reading “It’s Roadeo Time”

One Million Miles and Counting

Last week in a makeshift ceremony I was presented my plaque foLeor reaching the million mile safe driving mark. The award was given to me by the National Safety Council. It was presented to me by Tony Dugas, from the Capital Metro Safety Department, and Erica McKewen took pics. I also received some patches, which earlier today I took to the cleaners to have them sewn onto my uniform.

Continue reading “One Million Miles and Counting”

A Tale of Two Cities: Cool Art Along the 101

This summer my route was the 101. It was created to help with the heavy passenger load of the number 1 route. I think it is the easiest route a driver can do. I do not know any driver who disagrees with this conclusion. Passengers who have to take the 1 route prefer and love taking the 101 instead when possible because it is fast. It feels like taking a bus equipped with turbocharge.

Something else I like about doing the 101 was going down the “Drag” and “SoCo.” It is the drawings and murals on buildings I get to see. It reminds me of going down Hollywood Boulevard, which has lively artwork also. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Cities: Cool Art Along the 101”