‘Why I Ride‘ is a series where Metro employees share their transit routines – read more about the concept here.
Name: David Gutel
Position: Operations Instructor
How often do you take transit?
Five days a week, except for an occasional day when my wife lets me have the car (every 5 or 6 weeks).
If so, what lines/routes?
I live in Westminster and I report to work at Operations Central Instruction and Improvement (OCI) every morning at 6am. Either my wife or one of my boys drives me to the Wardlow station to catch the Blue Line train at 4:32am. It arrives at the 7th Street Metro Center Station at 5:09 and is usually on time. I then catch a Red or Purple train across town to Union Station and walk across the street to report to work. I love my job so it is no hardship for me (don’t ask my wife or boys their opinion on driving me to the Blue Line).
Going home is very different. I generally leave work at 2pm, walk across the street to catch a Red or Purple train to connect with the Blue Line to go home. I then ride the Blue Line to the very end in downtown Long Beach. I then have a choice depending on what time I get to Long Beach: I can catch the Metro 577 from downtown Long Beach to CSULB to connect with the OCTA 60 that takes me within 100 yards of my home or I can pay $.35 for a transfer and catch the L.B. transit # 91, 92, 93, or 94 from downtown to CSULB to connect with the OCTA 60.
The OCTA 60 previously came to downtown L.B. but with their service cut-backs, they stop at the Veterans hospital. The connection to the 60 can be tight, so sometimes I have to wait 25 minutes for the next 60. I usually walk in the door at my home around 4:25 or 4:50. If I am really lucky, occasionally I can be home at 4.
Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?
We are a one car family. My wife and I share our car with our two teen-age boys as best we can.
What is your job at Metro?
I am an instructor at OCI, training Metro bus drivers.
Do you think being a regular Metro rider is important to your job?
Absolutely! As an instructor I tell all my students to go out and ride a bus after they have been here at OCI for a couple of weeks. You would be amazed at the number of bus drivers that have never ridden a bus as a passenger. It would definitely make them a better, more empathetic driver if they ever did. As an instructor that rides buses regularly, I see both good and bad driving; habits that drivers have learned, both good and bad. That helps me as an instructor.
Why do you love transit?
I don’t fight traffic, saves on fuel, car repairs, etc. I read, sleep, balance my checkbook, play sudoku, or just watch people on my way home (the Blue Line can be very entertaining).
Is there anything else you’d like to add (anecdote, advice, etc)?
Whenever my family grouses about sharing one car I politely (or not so politely) inform them that sharing one car is one reason we are (usually) a close- knit family. The day we, or my boys get a second or third car, and I know it’s not in the too distant future, we will not be as close as we are now. I will miss the cooperation that we share now.