06 January 2012

My bus.

As part of my job I am a transit advocate. I do other things, too. I was an active transit advocate before my employer paid me to be one. Perhaps getting my current gig means there is truth to the adage "Do what you love and the money will follow"? Who knows? There still aren't any good and affordable records at Itchy's but I digress.

In the next few months I am going to be talking to groups and individuals in Columbia about transit expansion in Columbia, Missouri. I will share with them the benefits our community gains from transit. I will ask them to support a community vision for expanded transit service. I can only speak to my experience and that experience has not recently included much actual transit use in Columbia.

Like a lot of folks I take transit when I am in other cities. Bigger cities. Cities where a diverse range of people take buses, light rail, trolleys, subways. Columbia is not one of those cities. I know because last week I started riding the bus. Here, when you choose transit you choose to ride with the poor.

With transportation options that include my feet, a truck and a bicycle, I am not dependent on transit to get me where I need to go. If I was transit dependent I would be satisfied with our local service. Our buses are clean, timely and take me generally near where I want to go. I observe my fellow riders and talk to them some. Or I don't and just look out the window. Taking the bus is much more mellow than driving and a lot easier than bicycling. I get to see other people, their drama, their dharma.

Today our bus driver was insulted by a young lady as she boarded the bus and could not produce for him the required student id card that allowed her to ride free or at least discount rate. The driver was uninterested in her generous offer to pleasure himself and he yelled back at her as she took her seat: "No, thank you ma'am!" No matter. I was busy catching up with an acquaintance of mine who was riding the same bus to her doctor appointment. I learned she may move to the Ozarks in Arkansas. How would I have known of her possible change of location if I had driven or biked? Nada, Nadia.

If you are in Columbia and are interested in a presentation about the benefits of transit and our local campaign to expand service please let me know by commenting here or sending me an e-mail.

See you on the Bus,

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