After 16 years, recent changes in Metro operations have made me reluctantly decide to stop commuting to work on the bus.

This was not an easy decision. I consider myself an environmentalist, and taking the bus, even though I own a car, has been part of living my values.

Additionally, I appreciated the benefits of the bus: not having to deal with traffic or poor winter road conditions; the built-in walking time to and from stops; and being able to write or do some work during my commute.

In the past, though, the bus schedule and stops corresponded very closely with my work schedule and location. The bus also ran fairly reliably, and people could usually find seats.

This is no longer the case. The consolidation of bus stops, changes in schedule and addition of Portland high school students as riders have made taking the bus a very different experience.

On the No. 4 line, I can no longer get into work shortly before 8 – my options are 7:30 or 8:10, although when I tried the 8:10 bus, it ran 10 to 15 minutes late. Morning buses are almost always standing room only, so I don’t have space to use a laptop, and even if I did, it is difficult to concentrate.

Additionally, the crowds stretch my 3-mile commute into 40 or 45 minutes, both because the bus stops more often and because when it does, half the riders need to shuffle to let people on and off. Even coming home, when the students are not a factor, I’ve found the bus running late more often than not.

I will watch for future changes in case the bus again becomes a viable option, but for now, I choose to drive.

Erica L. Bartlett

Portland