A lot! Eager readers expecting a slam on Regional Transit – read on – you might be surprised. That’s another story to be written by someone with an opposing point of view, of which I’m sure there are many. In two years of consistently riding Regional Transit, the complaints I’ve heard run the gamut.
What hasn’t been heard – why nine times out of ten, I ditch my car in favor of Regional Transit? When I started riding the bus, I received numerous offers of rides along with groans of pity when I mentioned I’d be bussing over. To this day, I’ve not yet managed to convince my friends that riding the bus is fun! It’s not just a cost factor – it’s everything from a sense of community to the chance to read the newspaper.
Contrary to popular belief, most drivers do want to talk to and help people. I’ve seen drivers stop on a dime for what’s deemed in the public transit community as “a runner”. I’ve seen them go out of their way to help an elderly or disabled person, and I’ve seen the riders courteously offer their seats to other riders when the bus is full. I’ve personally experienced this, having been offered a seat numerous times when standing on the bus. I’ve made acquaintances and learned about new things happening in the community, and, nine times out of ten, I arrive at work on time.
While I have long been a proponent of Regional Transit, last week, my belief in the system was cemented when I left my lunch on the previous bus or on the island at the connecting point. I mentioned it to my driver, who said that when he went back to the connecting point, he’d check to see if it was there, stated the time he would be back at the stop near my work, and left. Right – I knew I’d never see that lunch again. Ever the optimist, however, I proceeded to the stop at the allotted time, and there he was – right on time – and – there was my lunch! It had to have taken a tremendous effort of coordination for him to recover the lunch and bring it back to me. I really enjoyed my lunch that day!
My opinion is that the issues that most people experience are not due to inadequacies on the part of the drivers, they are due to inadequacies in funding, support, and lack of knowledge about how to use the system – but that’s for another story.
Every morning, I look forward to my brisk (usually very brisk) walk to the bus stop. I get exercise, fresh air, reading time, and save money to boot. Who knows who I will meet or what I will learn today? I need to close for now…I have a bus to catch.