A Ride Through "Zomburbia"
When Adam Gallardo’s son, Oscar, was 5 years old, riding Cherriots was inexpensive family entertainment. At the time, Gallardo was a stay at home dad.
“We would just pick a bus and we would ride it to the end,” Gallardo said. “That could be a whole day for him. He just loved it.”
Each workday, Gallardo now walks his two sons, Oscar and Gus, to school. Then, he hops aboard the Route 2 bus. The family man, who has an easy smile and prominent Ray-Ban eyeglasses, takes a seat. His thoughts soon drift toward scary plots and fantastical characters.
Gallardo is the author of “Zomburbia” and “Zombified,” a series of successful horror novels in the zombie genre, set in Salem. He also writes comics, such as “Gear School” and “Star Wars: Infinities -- Return of the Jedi.”
His day job is working at The Book Bin, a bookstore in downtown Salem. Riding the bus to work is second nature to Gallardo, who lived in Portland for years without a car. Today, he is part of a one-car family of four in northeast Salem.
Why he rides
Gallardo values Cherriots for making Salem a more livable city, but he’s also getting a free ride to work. The Book Bin provides bus passes to employees, such as Gallardo, at no charge.
The Book Bin is among the few business in Salem that uses the Cherriots Group Pass Program. The program allows organizations to buy monthly bus passes for employees at a discounted rate.
As of fall 2017, private, for-profit business can buy a monthly bus pass for an employee for $4.80 per month (a different rate applies for government and nonprofit organizations). That compares to $45 for the standard, adult 30-day bus pass.
Trinh Le, a manager at The Book Bin, said free bus passes aren’t the deciding factor in recruiting and retaining good employees but they do help employee morale. She is also a dedicated bus rider, taking a Cherriots Regional bus from her home in Independence to get to work.
For new bus riders, Gallardo suggests visiting the Cherriots website and researching bus routes.
“When I first started riding the bus, I was always surprised at where I can get and how convenient it was,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo isn’t much of a socializer on the bus. He uses the time to think about the day ahead and mull ideas for his writing.
While he may have action-packed storylines in his head, Gallardo enjoys an uneventful bus ride: “I feel my whole life’s goal is not to have interesting stories in my real life.”
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