As you may know, I’ve been taking a break from the 7/49 for art-time-school reasons detailed here, instead driving suburban routes in North King County. This whole North Base adventure (I haven’t picked up there since they deleted the 358) has been nothing if not charming. The operative word is pleasant. Five years ago I might’ve said boring, but there’s no reason to put a pejorative label on transporting low maintenance, gainfully employed north-end residents.
The generally subdued air has its own pleasures. After four straight years of driving the 7/49 exclusively at night, I’ve been downright shocked at the sheer numbers of people up here who are healthily equipped to take care of themselves. They do things like follow rules, pay fare, and even wake up at terminals… in droves!! Such responsibility! I’d look around in confusion, almost disappointed. Where was I? What town was this??
Truthfully, it’s been a thrill to be reminded how well so much of the population is doing. I’m not just referring to affluent white folks, but the steadily growing immigrant presence in North King County, many of whom are faces I once served on the 7, but who have been pushed out due to the gentrification happening in Rainer Valley. (I can recall an even earlier time when those I knew on the 7 were people I once served on the 3/4, back before the Central District bumped everyone further south.) Never mind the completely different type of bus service;* it’s a beautiful place to live.