Friday, April 2, 2010

Pregnancy and the CTA

I've started to write about this before and how much I hate taking the El train when I'm pregnant during the winter because people can't tell I'm pregnant and rarely give up their seats for me. That and I have to walk up two flights of stairs or take an elevator sure to trap me until my due date, leaving me huffing and puffing or praying that the doors open when I arrive on the platform. And the whole feeling I get when the train is taking curves at speeds faster than I like just makes me think I'm going to be on the train that tips over and causes mass chaos. Will they tend to me first since I'm pregnant? Will the belly protect me from disaster? Am I more likely to be injured severely because no one gave me their seat? I'm too busy and stressed to deal with this crap.

So, I wised up and started taking the bus yesterday. It turns out, after some hunting on the CTA website, I can walk five blocks and go almost door to door with Ada's daycare instead of trekking to the El, huffing up 2 flights of stairs and being pissed that I don't get a seat. Sweet. I don't really like the bus, mainly due to all of the potholes and the jerkiness of the trip, but it is cheaper, faster, involves less walking, and doesn't involve stairs. The recording reminding passengers to give their seats up to passengers who are elderly or disabled, also includes "expectant mothers" which don't get promoted on the El. I feel like I've moved up in the transportation world just a notch.

And the CTA has a few new features that let me know when the bus will arrive at my stop so I don't have to wait so long, which I love. There is a bus tracker that works online for some routes, but I can't get my stupid blackberry to figure that out yet, and a "bus texter" feature where I can text a code and it tells me how far away the bus is from the stop. Love it.

I almost forgot to add that I really enjoy being able to thank my bus driver for the ride, too. I can say "good morning" when I get on, and "thanks" when I get off unlike having the El driver locked in a box at the front of the train with your only hope of communicating being that you accidentally hit the emergency button in the train car or happen to walk by his or her open window as they pull up to the platform. And instead of thinking the train will tip over and cause a mass catastrophe, I now dream about how, if I went into labor, the bus is already driving right by my hospital and could just run express, dumping people out that get off before the hospital so they could wait for the next bus, and taking the rest with us as they whisk me there mid-contractions. It's a much nicer daydream to have, and since the bus driver is now my friend since I said hello to him or her, it's all good. He's got my back. Ridiculous. I know.

Moral of the story: When it comes to public transit, know your options, and keep them open.

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