Confessions Of A Rochester Bus Rider

I was born in Chicago.  Yeah, the windy city, it’s a great town.  Go Cubbies!

Ahem anyway, in places like Chicago and New York City, people from all walks of life take public transportation, from the CEO to the custodian (both just as important in my mind!) because it’s simply easier and cheaper than driving a car.  Parking costs are astronomical, and good luck finding a space.  Roads are congested and difficult to navigate.  Even owning a car is more expensive!

Here in Rochester, our driver-friendly city full of parking lots and expressways gives us the freedom to drive our cars anywhere without really having to think about it.  In fact, our somewhat wealthy suburban-driven metro area has “driven” us to become one of the largest auto markets in the nation!

As a result, public transportation in Rochester is predominantly utilized as a necessity rather than a convenience.  A large number of commuters in Rochester can’t afford a car and rely on RTS’s service every day to get to and from work.  This has led to the common misconception in our community that the bus is “transportation for poor people.”  Obviously, this is a myth that needs to be dispelled if we are going to move forward toward a more vibrant Rochester with a healthy transportation network for all citizens.

Riders like myself use RTS for the convenience and ease of use.  I have a perfectly fine car, but I actually prefer to take the bus (in concert with my bike!) around the city for a number of reasons that the average non-bus rider in Rochester might not consider.  Keep an open mind and follow me on this for a moment.

I Like Being Driven – I’m a busy guy, but aren’t we all?  I have a chance every day to be driven to work for a dollar.  How cool is that?  Instead of the road having my full attention as I drive to work, I can take the bus and answer emails, catch up on the news, listen to some good music and check my calendar for the week, all while getting to where I need to go.  Multi-tasking=1, car=0!

I Can Take My Bike – Often RTS doesn’t go exactly where I need to go, but it comes close.  To get me the rest of the way, I can plop my bike on the bus’s bike rack at no charge and blend my bus experience with a little human powered transpo, burning a couple calories in the process.  Winning.

I Like To Drink – On the weekends, I like to hang out with my amazing Rochester friends.  We like to support our local bars and restaurants, and we like to have a few pops while we’re out enjoying the Roc nightlife.  When I want to drink in Rochester, RTS provides me with a safe alternative to driving, and let me tell you, it’s so much cheaper than a cab!  And oh by the way $2 round trip is a WHHHOOOOLLEEE lot cheaper than a DWI.

I Hate Paying For Parking – Parking in Rochester is actually pretty plentiful, but I could write a novel on how many times I’ve heard friends say  “we were gonna come out tonight, but I didn’t wanna pay for parking, and…”

You get the idea.  When you can take RTS, you get off the bus and go where you need to go… period.  No worries about where you’re gonna stash your ball and chain… I mean your car.

Buses Are Better For The Environment… And Traffic… And Safety – Let’s say you’re on a bus with 30 people.  That’s 20-30 cars that aren’t on the road.  That means less harmful greenhouse gases being pumping into our atmosphere.  That means 20-30 fewer cars on the road for you to get stuck in traffic behind.  And finally, buses are one of the safest forms of transportation in America!

The Transit Center Is Awesome – I don’t always need a connecting bus, but when I do, it’s great to spend a couple minutes in Rochester’s Transit Center.

IMG_7563

A visually spectacular modern structure, the station provides folks who need to transfer buses a beautiful shelter from the harsh elements we know all too well here in the Roc.

I Get To Surround Myself With My Fellow Rochestarian – This is the most important component to me.  If you truly love your city, you appreciate people from all walks of life.  You make the effort to show a smile to every person you see and let them know that we are all in this together.  Riding the bus gives me that opportunity… it gives me the chance to have the occasional conversation with a stranger, maybe someone I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to talk to.  It allows me to learn about the people in my community every day.  I don’t have to make assumptions, I can actually have a dialogue with people that are like me, and people that aren’t.  Through these encounters, I gain a better knowledge of what it is to be a Rochestarian.

Do you have questions about the bus?  Give me a shout, I can help you out.  😉  See you out there!

 

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3 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Rochester Bus Rider

  1. You must be living in la la land. NO ONE talks to each other anywhere in Rochester, much less a bus or train stop. At Wegmans, try starting a conversation on a long line. Most are angry the line is long, and if anyone DOES engage you in a conversation, it is probably to accuse you of cutting in line. Maybe chatty friendly people is the case in Buffalo, but most people run around here, head staring at the ground, avoiding eye contact. If you try to start a conversation with a stranger, you are looked as a “weirdo” here. It is just not my experience.

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    1. Fumetti, thank you for your reply. First of all, I’ve had many friendly conversations on the bus. I’ve observed many more. You’re right, not everyone wants to do it, but you pick your spots.

      Second, the fact that you say people don’t talk to each other here in Rochester is precisely why I am writing articles like these… If we are going to build a stronger Rochester, we need to get out of our bubbles and start having those conversations in the lines at Wegmans or on the bus. My motive is not to point out what’s bad about Roxhester, it’s to motivate all of us to do what we can to make it better every day 🙂

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      1. Agreed. I commute weekdays between Park/Culver and S. Clinton. When not on bike, on the bus.

        The best place to start up a random conversation is at a bus stop. Since the consolidation of stops, I might have to walk two blocks instead of basically rolling out of my door to a stop, but I am also wayyyy less likely to be alone at the stop.

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