I walked to the bus today instead of biking, but more importantly, while waiting for the O12 McKnight Rd express to arrive, the slower 12 McKnight Shopper showed up one stop away, so I ran to catch that. Why ride a slower bus? Because it's empty, while the O12 would have already been almost full.
Both routes start at the cinema complex three miles up the road. Since the last big round of service cuts, the last inbound express goes past my stop at 8:00, whereas before the last express was at 9:00, with a couple more in between. Since that change, that last express gets filled to the brim, even with the 60-seat articulated bus in service. Standard 40-foot buses only have about 38 seats. Even though I am about the fifth bus stop on a 12-mile trip, that last O12 is full enough most of the time that I'm lucky to sit at all.
I have always put my commute time to good use, if possible. It's one of the biggest selling points about transit. Between leaving my house and getting to work, I can study, do pleasure reading, prepare my day, prepare Toastmasters speeches, even take a nap. I've sewn on buttons, figured out the family budget, addressed Christmas cards, any number of things. But it's a lot easier to do if I can spread out over two or three seats. Just having the ability to extend one's elbows makes doing anything a lot easier.
By the time the 12 Shopper gets downtown, there will be quite a few people on it, but it won't be jammed full. I was the first one on, and had the bus to myself for the first mile or so. It's the same bus I catch when I bike to Northway Mall, so I'm familiar enough with it. It's just nice to have options, and especially nice to have room to work.
As it turned out, it was quite full upon arriving downtown, but by that point, I had already put my materials away, so it wasn't an issue.