I just want to take a moment to say how much I love these three CTA bus routes. It's a nerdy thing to write about, let alone get excited about, but I digress. I have many friends who swear off buses, and will only take the L if faced with public transit. While buses do contribute to street congestion, it can be worth it (anyone who has tried to get to another side of the city on a Saturday afternoon knows what I mean). Buses, in general, can be more direct. They stop every few blocks, so there is not as much walking (not that I mind it). The routes are extremely straight forward, and many run 24 hours. Back to the friends of mine who swear off buses, the reason is usually that the people that take buses sometimes...well...strange. However, if you have ever been on the Red or Blue line at 4AM, it's not much different. I am the type of person to make friends anywhere: in line at the grocery store, at Dunkin Donuts, and, yes, on the bus. I think this is one of the best ways to meet locals. Many people who take buses have often been doing so for a very long time, and they are true city folks, or that's how I feel. You meet old German and Polish ladies who can tell you the best markets to get keilbasa or sauerkraut. And they always have bags....tons of bags.
The bus drivers may often seem tough as nails, too, but a little conversation can fix that. You can imagine the tons of people they come across throughout their shift.
I pretty much always take the bus if I am going anywhere on the north side. I happen to be convenient to three bus lines. If I'm going downtown or further then I take the L.
Buses are also always so warm in the wintertime! Often times, much warmer than the L. The best place to sit for warmth is in the very back against the wall.
So next time you happen to be upset because of being delayed in the subway, or, conversely, sitting in traffic for half an hour on Saturday afternoon just to go from Lincoln Square to Wicker Park, consider the bus. It may not save you time, but at least someone else will be doing the work!
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