The Urban Avengers’ trek began at the COTA bus stop on High Street (heading south) near 18th Avenue. While this stop was certainly not chock-full of amenities, it did provide two large, sturdy trash cans.
What was lacking at this highly utilized stop was a shelter, it was windy and people were very chilly. We arrived a few minutes early for our #2 bus, which had a scheduled arrival time of 3:59, however the bus actually arrived at 4:05, which threw us off schedule for the next bus (an eastbound #10 at Broad & High), which we hoped to catch at the scheduled time of 4:20pm, but did not make it in time.
The southbound drive down High Street was long and painful – the bus was completely over a comfortable capacity, with practically as many passengers standing as were seated (this was likely due to the high number of students from our class that were on it – the “regulars” seemed shocked that it was so crowded).
Our bus driver was very friendly and helpful, especially with assisting an elderly handicapped woman onto the bus and into a seat. This bus, while very crowded, did not seem overly noisy.
Our next leg of the trip, was supposed to consist of our group catching the eastbound #10 at 4:20 pm, but our group arrived late due to the lateness of the #2. So we waited in a *COTA shelter at the southeast corner of Broad and High for the next #10, scheduled for 4:31 (actual arrival 4:33).
The general vibe of the passengers on this bus seemed tired, quiet, and perhaps just ready to get home and relax. While the original plan was to take this bus to our chosen destination, The Franklin Park Conservatory – we had to abandon our experiment at 4:45 as we knew we would not be able to get back to the point of origin by class end-time of 5:15 pm. We had one group member leave the bus at 4:40 in order to hopefully get to back to campus for his next class by its start time of 5:30. The rest of us were prepared to attempt the entire trip, but when our bus was continually slowed by several red lights and another handicapped passenger situation, we knew we were looking at a 5:00 pm arrival at our destination (at best), and therefore abandoned the Conservatory destination.
We exited the #10 at Broad and Washington (Columbus Museum of Art), crossed Broad Street and walked 3 blocks west before ½ of our group (the women) waited on a westbound #10 bus, which we could see in the distance. The remainder of the group (the two men left) decided to walk to Broad and High and see if they would “beat the bus.”
While the girls technically “won” by arriving at Broad and High ahead of the walkers, the walkers then caught up with us while walking to the next stop (High and Long). On this final leg of the trip, 4 of us caught the next #2 heading north on High, and one group member caught the #4 which would route up Indianola Avenue to campus. This final bus stop at High and Long is extremely busy and extremely dirty. The smell of either rotten food or vomit (or both) was overwhelming and hard to escape. Our feet were literally sticking to the sidewalks in and around the several shelters. There were several shelters, which we did not enter as they were crowded. We did, however, enjoy the slanted horizontal “resting/leaning pads” which are fastened to the front of the shelters, this helped with standing. This stop, overall, was very disappointing and made for an uncomfortable wait, largely due to the smell and dirty conditions.
The final bus, which was dimly lit and very quiet, arrived at Long and High at approximately 5:12pm and we arrived at Woodruff and High Street at 5:33 pm. It is our belief that had we continued to the Conservatory as originally planned, we would not have arrived back at Woodruff & High until possibly well after 6:00 pm; so while we did not want to abandon the destination, we felt it was the correct choice based on timing.
Overall, all of the buses were clean, drivers were friendly, and we never felt that safety was an issue…with the possible exception of a pretty rambunctious Doberman guide dog-in-training that alarmed two members. The only notable equipment issue was what seemed like very sensitive brakes on the final bus, as the stops were very jerky. It was fairly easy to know where we were at all times on all buses, especially since the automatic verbal announcements communicate the stops, which we found very helpful.
The overall trip was long, and waiting was uncomfortable due to the cold, but the buses were for the most part reliable – the destination was not able to be reached largely due to the lateness of the first bus, and then followed with issues from traffic, red lights and the time it took for large volumes of people getting on and off the bus.
*The shelter at Broad and High seemed fairly new, was nice in appearance, clean, no offensive odors, was partially encased with clean glass windows, contained several long benches and ceiling heaters (however they were not in use), and had no visible damage or graffiti. The chief complaint here was that, while the roof covering would certainly be appreciated if it had been raining or snowing, it did not offer blockage from the wind, as there are large openings at the top and bottom all the way around. It may have actually even been colder inside the shelter as it seemed to act as a wind tunnel.