By: Aprille Byam
As I walked away from my house to start my Transit Day adventure, I realized that the premise – getting people to go car-free for a day – is largely lost in my neighborhood. Many of my neighbors commute by foot to Strong Hospital, so car/ bus doesn’t matter much to them. Hopefully, they’ll get involved in the evening activities!
I confess, I work from home, so I don’t have any commute to worry about. Today, however, I took a trip. I boarded on the Elmwood side of Strong and travelled up Genesee Park through the 19th ward to West Ave, then West Main, before pulling into the Transit Center.
I love the chance to check out details of neighborhoods from the bus. The West United Methodist church is a very cool building, and I had never absorbed the full building that houses Nick Tahoe’s – but most of all, I like looking at houses and yards and catching people about their lives. It’s something a lot of people who aren’t stuck behind a wheel do. Part of the success of The Girl on the Train is because people can identify with this basic scenario.
At first, I had the bus to myself. Then we started adding just a single person every few stops. The crowds started to grow as we turned towards downtown, and the people were as interesting as the houses.
It was my first time (!) at the Transit Center and I was impressed – it’s pretty slick and makes the transfers of downtown easier to figure out (or to figure out alternative routes when you’re busy gathering stories and miss the bus you planned on, d’oh). Others agreed.
I love this bus terminal, it’s fantastic. My favorite thing is talking to different people on the bus. I meet a lot of new friends that way.
I like this center. It’s clean, it’s nice, the bathrooms are clean, that’s one thing that I can say about it. I’m from out of state, from Jersey – Penn Station, our terminal, is older, but as far as the restrooms and things – they’re terrible. It’s nice, hopefully they can keep it up, not tear it down. The bus is much better than in Jersey – here they wait for you. Back home, you could be standing at the bus stop and if you don’t get your arm out for it the bus keeps going. Here they stop at every stop, there you have to signal, or else they keep going.
For the homeward leg, I took bus 45 down South back to Strong. I don’t think I had realized 45 was an option back in the days when I was catching rides to Kodak Office. It’s a nice route with lots of storefronts to check out.
Along the way, I met some good people. There are always those who don’t want to talk, but no one was rude or scary and there were more people who offered some thoughts than not.
ROC Transit Day is successful – people were trying the system because of it!
I’m taking the bus for the first time today. I’m excited about the idea, I used to live in Boston. The transit system is the bomb there. I’m a huge fan of public transit, but I don’t use it here. I work at Strong, so I take the U of R free shuttle. I live right downtown, so I’d be really delighted to be able to go anywhere and not drive it. I’m grateful for the free pass. I would definitely take the bus over the shuttle for the extra space, nicer driver, and smoother ride. This is nice.
I participated in ROC Transit Day last year. I did the scavenger hunt and it was a lot of fun. I don’t normally take the bus, I live in the suburbs. The timetable doesn’t usually match up. I’ve got a bus stop within a block of my house, but it’s unfortunately a lot faster to just take a car. I’d love to move back to the city, but just couldn’t beat the house price of where my wife and I found our house.
Others were seasoned riders who could already spell out the benefits of not dealing with a car.
I take the bus in the winter and bike in the summer. Today, I’m off to Sahlen Stadium to get a free ticket to a soccer game. Riding the bus is the warmest part of my winter, my house is cold, my work is cold, but the bus is really nice & warm. In the winter, the bus is my sole transportation. In the summertime, I just bike everywhere and use the bus if needed. It’s largely a financial choice. It’s about 1/3 the cost of owning a car, ¼ the cost, especially if I just bus in the winter. It’s very cheap. I’ve also noticed that I read a lot less in the summer, when biking.
I have to admit, I was hoping for some dramas – connections made on the bus, people helping each other out, even the characters that are bound to crop up in a transit situation. None of that today – it was clean and friendly, normal and quiet. That’s okay – it just means I’ll have to dig a bit further for some drama next time, maybe take a couple of round trips!
Aprille Byam is Storychick. One of three creative siblings, Aprille struggled to find her place, at times, in the corporate world. A lover of independent perspectives in literature, movies, and music, of kick-butt chicks and roller derby, and a staunch advocate for self-expression, Aprille needed to forge her own path. As a Future Experience Manager at Kodak, Aprille discovered the link between perspectives and stories and the inspiration for Storychick was born. For 2 years, Aprille has been sowing the seeds of story throughout the Rochester community. Projects are always underway!