Commuting can be soul-crushing: The traffic, the exhaust, the monotony.

But there's a better way.

A few lucky bus riders in Taipei, Taiwan, are swapping the concrete jungle for the real thing thanks to a innovative art installation on a city bus.


Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

Taiwan's "forest bus" offers riders the chance to sit among lilies, orchids, and ferns on moss-covered seats.

Florist Alfie Lin and designer Xiao Qing-Yang converted a 20-seater bus into a mobile solarium designed to resemble an imaginary forest.

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

The duo adorned the space with real plants and flowers local to Taipei, making the ride a trip for all of the senses.

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

The bus route rolls past some of Taipei's popular attractions and destinations, so tourists and locals alike will have a chance to experience the project. The installation is a way to celebrate green spaces and add some outdoor elements to the travel routines of local commuters.

"The main reason is I think Taiwan should have its own view on nature," Lin told AFP.

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

Taipei is no stranger to green space, boasting parks large and small including Yangmingshan, a national park partly within the city limits. But even with beautiful parks and reserves, Taipei is populous and bustling, so getting out to enjoy the great outdoors may be easier said than done. Luckily, the forest bus is making it a little simpler.

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

The forest bus is free and running for a limited time, but many riders hope to make it permanent.

The lush commute is a nice change of pace from Taipei's packed city buses and is garnering lots of attention on social media. Because, save for a few allergy sufferers, who wouldn't want to ride among beautiful flowers and plants?

"I feel happy and relaxed on the bus smelling the flowers and plants," passenger Celine Wei told AFP. "I hope it can become a regular service on a double-decker. It would become something special to Taipei."

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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