Sometimes transit professionals in small systems get wrapped up in chasing grants and complying with myriad federal, state, and local regulations. While these tasks must be done, it is important to remember how our bus service provides an important lifeline for our customers. As part of the research into performance, Bob collects bus stories from passengers. Why are they riding? Where are they going? What would they like to improve if they could change one aspect of their service?
Many of our passengers are generally satisfied with our services. The bus stories are offered in the context of what could be improved.
Lara loves the bus service. It allowed her to escape an abusive marriage and move to a safe house where her husband could not find her. With no car, he was unable to follow her as he had done after she first moved to a friend’s house. She is able to go to work and return safely as well as do her weekly shopping via the bus. The Sunday service allows her to work variable shifts, but she would like later evening service which would be cheaper than a taxi.
Sierra rides the bus to and from middle school. She gets up at 5:00am to get ready for school and read to her father to help him learn English. He leaves for work at 5:45am and does not get home until 4:45pm. She walks to the bus stop at 7:00am. After school she gets home before him and does her homework until he arrives. They make dinner together every evening and then she does some reading or goes to the library. Her mom died last year and she feels it is important to be with her dad. The bus allows her to get and from school without causing her dad any problems. She appreciates that the bus is always on time.
Jennifer has been riding the bus since she was in middle school. She just had a baby four weeks ago and was taking it to the doctor’s office for a scheduled check up. The weather was four degrees with snow and high winds. Her husband was sent to jail six weeks ago and will be out in about seven weeks. They cannot afford a car.
She is living with her mom who works 6:00am to 2:30am at a local fast food restaurant. Jennifer works 3:00pm to 8:00pm at the same restaurant. Her mom drives her to work and then takes care of the baby in the evening. Jennifer is unable to drive and appreciates the bus service for doing shopping and errands during the day. All the drivers and most of the passengers know her and she appreciates the concern they show for her baby. She would like the buses to run longer on Saturday afternoon and evening as it would help get more hours at work.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
Sherita lives at Four Oaks on Kirkwood. She rides the #7 and transfers to the #9 to go to work at a day care near 19th and Park. She starts work as soon as she arrives. She leaves work at 3:00pm and takes the 3:05 #9 to downtown, then the #7 home. She gets off the #7 at 4:07pm. She would like faster travel time.
Taylor works at HyVee from 10:00am to 3:00pm where he bags groceries. He gets on the #3 at 8:30am at 27th and Franklin and transfers to the #9 to HyVee arriving at 9:23am. When he finishes at 3:00pm, he rides the #2 at 3:30pm and arrives home at about 4:30pm. He graduated from Washington HS in 2007 and volunteers there with the sports programs during the fall. He would like a lower fare.
Patty works at Target on Blairs Ferry Rd. overnight, finishing work at 8:00am. Her husband takes her to work at night, but he works days so she rides the bus to get home. She gets on the #3 at 8:15am and gets off the #9 at 34th and Mansfield at about 9:15am.
She used to live in Marion and likes the website that showed her the times when she moved to her new location. She has been riding Cedar Rapids Transit since about 1981. She would like more new buses.
Sheila was going to Walmart and the library 3 times a week. The trip to Walmart was costing her $9.00 one way each time by taxi. Now the bus stop is close to where she lives and takes her directly to Walmart and across the road from the library. She says it has made her very happy and is able to go out more frequently.
Mary is now allowing her daughter to go to school by herself. The bus stops close to her house and she has to transfer at Walmart on to the Red Route. This then takes her to South High.
Kathy rides the CityGo bus 5 or 6 days a week. She works at the Holiday Inn Express. Before CityGo she said it was costing her between $50.00 to $60.00 per week to take a taxi. She buys a monthly pass every month and is trying to save money for a car.
Steven lives in a nursing home. He loves to go out to eat. He said he does not like to eat the food at the nursing home. The money he saves riding CityGo affords him the opportunity to accomplish this. He also rides the bus to the Central Mall to shop and go to the movies.
Lisa lives near Ohio and Iron. She takes the bus all the time to run errands and go to the library. She has a disability and can’t walk very far. She goes to the doctor frequently and uses CityGo to get to and from her appointments
Renee Miller moved from Chicago to Salina to be closer to her mother. Her mother is a regular paratransit passenger. Renee works two jobs. She gets on at Fairdale and Crawford and rides the 1000am Blue route trip to 7th/Walnut where she transfers to the Yellow route to get to work. She returns from work at 300pm via City Go. She then rides the 600pm trip to her janitorial job and they give her a ride home after work. She uses CityGo on Saturdays for her shopping.
She enjoys living in Salina, much nicer than Chicago (Uptown – Foster and Sheridan, my old neighborhood), and her siblings are also planning to move to Salina. If the buses ran every 30 minutes all day, it would save her some time.