It’s #TransitThursday on a FRIDAY! We’re getting crazy in here but switching it up a little but but this guest post from our Communications Officer, Brad Schulz, was too good to wait till next week. So take a break, grab your mid-morning snack and let Brad tell you about a transit enthusiast, Frank.
I recently had the pleasure meeting one of our faithful transit riders. We’ll call him Frank. Frank uses transit to get from Chapel Hill to Hillsborough. When he’s not heading to the Senior Center, he’s running errands. All on transit.
I met Frank at a recent public meeting on bus expansion in Orange County. The meeting was about 10 miles north of Hillsborough and the last transit stop. He listened and talked and asked questions about new service the county hopes to provide with its local share of the vehicle registration fee dedicated for transit. I asked him how he got to the meeting and he told me he rode the bus to Hillsborough, and then hitched a ride to the meeting because there is no rural transit service to northern Orange County.
I left and headed back to Hillsborough and there was Frank, hoping to catch a ride back to Carrboro. I stopped and offered to help. As I drove to take him home, he told me how transit benefits him in his daily life, what it means to have those connections and that the county needs to do more to provide service for those who don’t drive or choose not to.
The next week, Frank was at another public meeting on bus service, this time in Efland. He used transit as far as he could, then got a ride to the meeting. As I was leaving, I offered him a ride. He said he didn’t need to go to Carrboro, but if I’d take him to Durham, he’d make connections downtown to get to Chapel Hill. He said the scheduled Triangle Transit bus at Durham Station would get him to Carrboro. He again told me he’s made transit a part of his life and it works for him.
There are thousands of Franks every day that transit helps. Transit can and does make the difference. Statistically, Orange and Durham counties have a high percentage of transit use in the state. Voters in both counties approved a one-half cent sales tax for new and expanded bus service. Both counties are completing plans for new service in 2015 and are looking ahead to other services as the need grows.
Yesterday, the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees gave final approval to a new express route from Hillsborough to Durham. Once it starts running, we’ll work on expanding it to Mebane. Also, Orange County maymake a decision in September on new services it will provide through Orange Public Transportation, serving areas that Frank can’t currently get to by bus.
As our region grows, so will our transit system, providing more chances for us to all take a lesson from Frank and use it in our day to day trips. We owe it to ourselves to continue to support the effort so we can continue to make the most of the life we’ve come to enjoy in the Triangle.
Brad Schulz is Triangle Transit’s Communications Officer. When he’s not sharing the good news on transit, he is attending public meetings and helping with public outreach.