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The airport bus has made travelling by transit ridiculously easy, and inexpensive.

Last week I went from my house near Quinpool to Manhattan and back, all by transit. Well, except for the plane.



My alarm goes off at 4:30am. I have to get up---I have an appointment at 5:20am and need to move. Quick shower, some fruit and a cup of coffee, out the door by 4:50am. The streets are dead. Although the sun isn't up you can tell spring is about to burst. Birdsong fills the early morning. Quinpool Road is quiet, not a single car. A light is on at Freeman's, they are still open. On foot, I jaywalk every intersection. As I cross the Common and approach downtown Halifax, big trucks dominate the streets. Work is still being done while most of the city sleeps. At 5:15am I step on the 320 MetroX bus to the airport. One dollar on top of my bus pass as the cost to get to the airport is a steal. Six other people are with me on the expedition. As the bus meanders through the streets, the city starts to wake and soon there are more people on the streets than on the bus. Dartmouth Terminal is quiet. One person finishes his coffee and boards the bus, making eight people saving money and emissions this morning. As we leave the terminal, a couple has a conversation at the back of the bus, others sleep. I attempt to join the sleepers.

At the bus stops in Fall River, one person gets off the bus, no one boards. We pass by the Park and Ride which appears to be packed with cars. I check my printed itinerary: 6:09am is the time the bus is supposed to end the trip, it pulls into the airport and stops at 6:08am.

At the airport I catch a plane for Newark. I have to spend three days in Manhattan for work. After landing I jump on a train travelling through the swamp and post-industrial wreckage that is the New Jersey Meadowlands. The train enters a tunnel under the Hudson River, next stop Penn Station. Penn is so packed with people I need to ask for directions twice and still end up walking to Times Square. Three more days of subways, walking in the sun, cafes, Central Park softball and work on the thirty-third floor and it's time to head home. A train ride back under the Hudson and through Meadowlands returns me Newark Airport. I board the 7:30pm direct flight to Stanfield International Airport.

After customs I need to wait 20 minutes for the 320 MetroX. It shows up 15 minutes early. A young woman requires change for a five to in order to board the bus---she is accommodated. Nine people in total board the bus at the airport. One dollar plus my bus pass is the transit steal of my trip. The bus leaves on time, at 11:15pm.

The bus stops this time at Pratt & Whitney Drive, one person gets on. The ride is dark and quiet, all the riders are subdued. One person gets on at the Fall River Park and Ride. The bus hits every stop on time. I get off the bus at the Dartmouth Bridge Terminal. I need to take the #1 bus home. The Dartmouth Bridge Terminal is quiet and very much in shutting-down-mode. The #1 is early and has to wait before it can leave. Lots of people get off the bus, a few load back on. The bus leaves on time. I recognize a couple 320 MetroX riders getting on the #1 bus in front of Scotia Square---I think to myself if they made the switch in Dartmouth life would have been a little easier. As the #1 bus moves through the city it starts filling up. Sixty-six minutes from the airport to home.

If I take the two one-dollar receipts from the 320 MetroX and make copies of these receipts, I can send them into work for a refund and declare them on my taxes and get paid roughly seventy cents to ride the 320 MetroX to the airport. Worst-case scenario: the $6.50 it cost me to ride the 320 MetroX bus would be tax deductible.

Best deal I've ever had.

Aaron Eisses is a software developing, transit riding, everyday walking, weekend biking, urban gardening techno farmer who lives in Halifax and works in Bedford.

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