Smartphones are the Swiss Army knives of green commuting. With a smartphone, a commuter can find out when the next bus comes using the Metro app. Google Maps will generate the best route for bikers, walkers or metro riders. Ride sharing apps like Lyft and Uber will bring a driver to your location to give you a ride to your destination. A Metro rider’s phone becomes the best tool to make sure she won’t get stranded.
Yesterday evening, I had a fully charged phone when I caught the 16 into downtown for an event at Bar 107. I don’t know if it was because of how camera-happy I was during my bus ride or because of the bad phone reception at the bar, but I left Bar 107 with a dead phone battery.
After Bar 107, I caught the 92 with some friends to the Red Lion in Silver Lake for some German food and a night cap. Fortunately, I was traveling with friends so I didn’t need to look up which bus I’d need to catch. It wasn’t long after I finished my bratwurst and sauerkraut that I began to feel drowsy and ready to head home.
I started to wonder how I was going to get home. I’m not familiar with any buses that would directly connect me from the Red Lion to Koreatown. I wasn’t even aware of a bus in that area that was still running at that hour. I couldn’t call a Lyft, as I originally planned, with a dead phone. I was thinking my best bet would be to wait in front of the bar until a cab inevitably pulled up.
Fortunately, I was at the Red Lion with good friends who offered me a ride, so I was spared from the potential crisis. However, the whole situation got me thinking about what I could do to avoid getting stranded like that again. I should probably begin keeping my charger in my purse. There isn’t always a power outlet nearby, but there is bound to be one at some point where I could plug in long enough to get a Lyft. It would probably have done me good to have looked up the various routes before I even left the house that night. I’m sure I wouldn’t have remembered the exact bus lines and times, but it would give me an idea early on about my options. Will a bus line on that street run past midnight? Will I need to make a transfer? It would help to have answers to these questions before they have to be asked.
Are you a green commuter with a backup plan for when you need to find your way home? Share with us!