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Parent: Help, my child likes public transport. TRANSIT: It’s ok-lah, dun worry.

TRANSIT absolutely had to publish this post. It just took us a while to stop laughing first.

The Seattle Times did a feature on well-known & respected public transport planner Ted Day, describing how his interest in public transport grew when he was a child and led him to his ideal career with King County metro (the regional transport provider).

Bus-schedule collector at 10; bus-route planner at 39(Seattle Times, 13 July 2011)

As a 10-year-old, Day already was making news for memorizing all the routes of the Metro Transit bus system. Image courtesy of Seattle Times
Today, Ted Day works as a transit planner for King County Metro. Image courtesy of Seattle Times.

For his third birthday, Teddy Day’s mom baked a cake in the shape of a bus, with yellow frosting and black stripes on the sides.

You see, Teddy loved buses and, in particular, everything about their routes: where they went, what time of day, how often, how the routes interconnected.

As the little boy grew, he would spend endless hours poring over King County Metro bus schedules.

“I wasn’t cognizant of why at the time,” says Day. “But it was a tangible thing to keep me busy. I had consistency.”

Now Ted Day is 39, and he works out of a cubicle on the fourth floor of the King Street Center in Pioneer Square.

He is a transit planner for King County Metro, part of a team that figures out routes for the system’s 9,600 bus stops.

This might not sound like an exciting job to many, but he is living out the dream that began at age 3.


The article continues from there.

Now what made this interesting was that another public transport planner, Jarrett Walker (of the blog) picked up the story and added his own thoughts.

The point of the post, dear readers, is to express that there should be hope for those interested in public transport. We’re normal, we have real interests and jobs and loved ones. So if there is a young person that you know who shows a strong interest in public transport, don’t worry about it.

They may turn their interest into a career one day. They may just volunteer their time like the members of TRANSIT. Or their interest may just remain a very satisfying hobby.

Either way, we are confident that they will be happy doing something they love.

2 replies on “Parent: Help, my child likes public transport. TRANSIT: It’s ok-lah, dun worry.”

I too love traveling by bus – so do other people who wait patiently at bus stops come rain or shine. But waiting for buses especially the ones own by KL Rapid can be frustrating.

Take what happened this morning. I and some other people were at the bus stop in front of Lorenzo, Jalan Ampang (KL bound). At about 10.30am today Friday, 22nd July 2011 we saw a bus approaching from a distance. We rushed and waved for the bus but it did not stop, rather it sped by. It was no: 30 bus and it was almost empty. Can any one explain this? I have had similar experience with Rapid buses.

Even though the black-and-white image was taken 29 years ago, Metro Transit already had buses that are equipped with wheelchair lift. I dont think the bus had the ability to knee-down like our latest RapidKL & RapidPenang buses, but most probably it used a simple & low-tech solution to install the buses with wheelchair lift.

Maybe the biggest hurdle to make our buses wheelchair-friendly is most stage buses in Malaysia have stairs, and surely the people at Metro Transit have thought about not using buses with stairs 29 years ago.

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