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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Downtown buses free no more

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Barcelona, but I prefer public transportation over driving. In all the cities I’ve lived since, I always had to pay to ride the bus or subway. When I moved here six years ago and learned that bus trips within downtown were free, I thought it was quite a perk.
Come Saturday, though, there won’t be any such thing as a free ride. How do you feel about that? I posed the question to a few random bus commuters I met Tuesday afternoon on my way to a sketching assignment.
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Kathina Moreno said it’s been really convenient not having to pay to get around downtown during the three-weeks she’s lived here since moving from Denver. What now? “I guess I’ll just have to pay,” she said.
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Nadia Flores, of West Seattle, said she feels bad for the people who use the bus but can’t afford to pay the fare. She works at a downtown restaurant and commutes by bus daily from West Seattle.
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Traci Brady, a University of Washington student from South Seattle, said eliminating the free-ride zone is not going to address the real problem: Metro buses are old, not to mention smelly. “I call this the garbage can,” she said pointing to an articulated trolley bus that went by.
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Frank Sheldone was sitting in the back of bus 7 when I introduced myself and asked if he’d mind being sketched. His take on the issue: “I pay for my fare,” he said, but “the ones who can’t afford it will be upset.”
About the sketches: These 7″ by 10″ ink sketches are as as raw as my work gets. I had no time to color them on the spot, and even decided to skip color all together for the sake of posting them sooner. You can also see I didn’t even crop out my notes in the margins. Sorry if you can’t read those. I don’t even understand my own handwriting sometimes!

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