March 05, 2024

Bus Strike!

The Twin Cities bus drivers went on strike yesterday morning at 2 am, so with it being a tad too cold to bike and without a carpool, I decided to do something I'd never done before -- rely on the old Heel-Toe Express to get me to work. It took about forty minutes of steady hoofing to get from Uptown to the Press. I took my camera along the way, so I'd like to present to you a rough pictorial timeline of my morning adventures.

lyndale 7:55 am -- I approach the intersection of Lyndale and 24th. Normally, this intersection is bustling with people crossing from Muddy Waters to the bus stop. Yesterday morning? Barren.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Pawlenty administration. How it seems to be for one group of people at the expense of other groups. I'm certainly in the group that has had to pay for Pawlenty's refusal to raise taxes. I've seen none of the benefit of that position. Instead, my health care has gone up, because the U pays less. Property taxes went up, so my rent shortly followed. And first my bus pass cost went up, and now the buses are on strike and I'm walking my ass to work. In short, Pawlenty has been quite the inconvenience to me.

harriet 7:58 am -- Pausing at the corner of 24th and Harriet, I look up the street toward my old apartment.

I've recently discovered that this part of Minneapolis is the old basin for Lake Blaisdell, which was part of the Minneapolis chain of lakes until it was filled in to make room for the city's expansion, oh, about 1890. I'll be looking into that!

ticket 8:08 am -- The wind teases the ripped remains of a parking ticket on a side street near Nicollet Ave.

Soon after pausing to take this photo, I passed a man who was walking up onto people's porches and taking the aluminum cans they had left out for recycling and filling up a giant bag that he was lugging around.

interstate 8:17 am -- Traffic courses underneath Blaisdell Avenue, separated from me by a chainlink fence, an apropos symbol of my carlessness.

I walked down Marquette and passed the Metro Transit office where you can buy bus passes. It was closed, and four guys were working the picket. I passed them by and they smiled and I smiled back and said hi. I know they didn't want to strike. The union has been making concessions for the past few years because they had been promised a nice health care benefit for retirees. Now Metro Transit wants to take that away as well. Frankly, I applaud the union for striking. The people in charge of Minnesota are an atrocious bunch. With their commitment to not raise taxes, they've completely gutted the supportive infrastructure of this state -- education, public health care and prevention, public transportation -- that made Minnesota such a wonderfully progressive place (comparably). I'm glad the union has drawn a line -- why should bus drivers suffer just because folks out in Edina can save on taxes to afford another SUV?

downtown 8:25 am -- The blank sides of downtown Minneapolis skyscrapers indifferently throw back the reflections of scurrying pedestrians.

From Metro Transit's position, they've made a fair offer -- and simply have no money to offer bus drivers what they want. But they don't have any money because Pawlenty refuses to raise taxes. This position is clearly benefitting some at the expense of others. I hope people take note.

I was about ten minutes late to work. Today I got a ride from a neighbor, and as long as the snow and cold weather keeps up I won't want to bike; I'll get a ride or walk. This strike could last a while though.

Posted by jason at March 5, 2024 06:32 PM

Hey there. I found your site via Cecile's StrikeBlog. Yesterday I also walked to work, and documented my adventures here: but I failed to discuss the implications of the strike. I couldn't agree with your positions more. Unfortunately I don't see an end to this any time soon...and with the way things are going in our fair state, I doubt the resolution that is settled on will be the best one for all involved. Sigh.

Posted by: Sharyn at March 10, 2024 07:12 AM