Holiday trolley, 2002

With today the last “shopping day” before Christmas, I was thinking what the best gifts for transit users would be. I don’t mean conceptual presents, like streets clear of snow so we can get around, or a transit system that runs on time; I’m thinking about what items every transit user can use and would make a good gift. These items came to my mind quickly:

  • MP3 player.  Everyone likes i-Pods, though I like my Zune because it has the radio and a subscription service.
  • Books or even an eBook reader. I love to read on the bus, though an eBook reader may be too nerder even for me.
  • Gloves or an umbrella. Perfect for Seattle riders.
  • A backpack or messenger bag. For carrying all of the above.

Anything else come to mind?

29 Replies to “Transit User’s Christmas List”

  1. offer to buy the recipient a bus pass for one month of their choice
    travel mug
    a laminated/foldable map of seattle (for the “wait, I got on the wrong bus/missed my stop/etc, and now where the heck am I?” moments)
    flashing light or reflector to put on a bag when waiting for the bus or walking in poorly-lit areas
    Membership to the Cascade Bicycle Club (if recipient is a bike/bus user)
    Magazine subscriptions (similar to the book suggestion)
    personal hygiene products (just kidding!)

    1. A little key chain LED light. Press to Illuminate. With so many people wearing mostly dark clothing, you’re virtually invisible to any bus driver at night time.
      Don’t complain if they pass you by, IF your in stealth mode.

      1. Even opening your cell phone, and pointing it towards the bus will get their attention. Great little flashlights, in a pinch.

    1. That’s funny. My mom was just showing me those yesterday. I’m pretty sure I am getting those for Christmas.

      Also:

      GPS: I have one (got one for Christmas last year) and it has saved me so many times. Especially not being able to read street signs and all, it is incredibly useful.
      Zune: Over an iPod for reasons mentioned above (especially the radio part)
      Books on tape: Enough said
      Laptop w/wi-fi: sigh, soneday
      I’m sure there’s some other nifty gadgets that I’ll think of later.

    2. I got some when I was living in Central Oregon, and they are GREAT to have! I’ve not slipped once since using them!

  2. A good leakproof coffee mug.
    One of those grocery bags that folds up into a kiwi-sized ball.
    A squirt gun, for use on annoyingly loud cellphone talkers (ok, maybe not. but wouldn’t it be fun if everyone brought a squirt gun on the bus for just one summer day?)

    1. My 3rd/4th grade teatcher squirted kids who weren’t paying attention if she had her squirt bottle for the overhead projector by hand.

      1. At a previous office I worked at they once made the mistake of handing out miniature squirt guns as a prize for handing in our time sheets on time. The office quickly degenerated into a war-zone. More than one set of drawings ended up with water marks and the IT guy was not happy, but it was one of the more memorable days at that job.

  3. I hook a Metro keychain that has a LED light to my messenger bag. I wonder where can we get more Metro and Sound Transit promotional stuff.

    Since Seattle has a lot of free Wi-Fi and even some buses and Sounder have it, I’d go for the iPod touch. It has Wi-Fi and a web browser built in so you can check your next bus on OneBusAway.org, check your email and surf the web on the go. You can even store Metro and Sound Transit bus maps (and the ST Ride Guide) on it. You could easily combine the maps, audiobooks, e-book reader, browser, games, etc. all into one device. Oh and it can work as a flashlight, too.

    I don’t have much to add but here are my ideas:

    * Bus tickets for the occasional rider (pre-loaded ORCA card for next year)
    * Pocket-size digital camera for shutterbugs and people who love looking out the window
    * Zipcar membership to help get off that car
    * Rain jacket for those who shrug umbrellas

  4. Have to say Zune

    (disclaimer: I work for Microsoft and yes I have a Zune and a Windows Mobile smartphone)

      1. and a genuine Microsoftie Bus Rider (no car here and proud of it:). Even better, on the Eastside too where rumor has it no one rides the buses (I live in Bellevue on Route 230 and would not trade my MS badge privilege* for a car any day)

        * If you didn’t know: to pay my fare, all I have to do is show my Microsoft employee ID to the bus driver. I still hold a PugetPass for my rides into Pierce County though :\

      2. I have nothing against Microsofties, if you read it that way, it’s just an observation. For me, I LOVE my U-PASS, best value ever. Works the same way a Microsoft ID would. Now featuring full fare coverage on Pierce and Kitsap Transit. Now all they need are the ferries.

        I live on the Eastside, too, near the Brickyard P&R but I walk all the time. While it’s nothing close to Seattle, at least transit access is really great for a suburb.

      3. “Now featuring full fare coverage on Pierce and Kitsap Transit” (emphasis mine)

        You suck! ;-)

      4. I’m terribly jealous of those with passes. I don’t ride the bus enough to justify buying a pass, but have the feeling that if I did it would get me to ride the bus even more. There have certainly been times that I’ve weighed shelling out $3.50 for a short round trip on the bus versus taking a car, and the bus has often lost.

  5. HTC Touch Pro, a solid WinMo smartphone. I’m working on patching GPS into the google-based bus search systems… basically search the bus finders from wherever GPS pinpoints you. That’s a real beast to do, and I’m sure someone will beat me to it.

    1. There’s an iPhone app that does that called SeattleBus. It integrates GPS/WiFi location with realtime MyBus results. I think it was feature on this blog or Orphan Road if I remember correctly,

      1. The iPhone’s Maps application does what AJ is talking about — you can use GPS to locate you, and then get bus directions from the app. It’s awesome.

        I would recommend onebusaway.org over the iPhone App, btw. One Bus Away has really shown its promise.

  6. For other transit nerds, the Transit Maps of the World book, or any other transit books. I just got a big huge book about every single railroad in the American West for Chanukah. Very cool.

    1. How could I forget that book! I checked out “Mr Becks Underground Map” from the UW library and it details the story of the London Underground map and its evolution.

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