After David Levinson posted his article–Roll with Us Transit Challenge: March 1-7, 2015—about the campaign to get state legislators to ride transit for a week, I e-mailed a few legislators to encourage them to participate in the challenge. Although I knew the House members I contacted were likely supporters of building out and maintaining a robust regional transit system, I agreed with the initiators of the challenge that it was important for all State Senators and House Representatives to experience what it’s like to depend on transit to get to work, the grocery store and other destinations, as they debate how to fund transit, both in the current budget and longer term.
Freshman Representative Dave Pinto replied by sharing two tweets he sent out as he took the challenge and figured out how to make transit work for his busy schedule:
— Dave Pinto (@davepinto) March 2, 2015
— Dave Pinto (@davepinto) March 3, 2015
His tweets address head-on one of the major deterrents that discourage busy people from relying on transit to get around — in most cases, you have to allow at least twice as long for each trip. When I began using transit a couple of years ago, I struggled with scheduling, and was frequently late to meetings. But now I’ve learned to allow more time between appointments, and to use that time productively, as demonstrated by Dave Pinto in his tweets. I also enjoy meeting and talking to people on the bus — not so much on the Green Line — and looking out the window. One of the buses I use the most is the #63, which goes along Grand Avenue to downtown Saint Paul. My favorite part of the trip is going down the hill into the downtown, with a glorious view of the city and the Mississippi River.
And I wonder what were the results of the Transit Challenge for legislators? Will any of them increase their transit use as a result of their experience?