How One Legislator Makes Transit Work in a Busy Schedule

After David Levinson posted his article–Roll with Us Transit Challenge: March 1-7, 2015about 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.

Green Line train pulling into station

Waiting for the Green Line to pull in to the station

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:

Map of built out regional transit system

Proposed future transit system would require increased funding

 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.

Bus at bus stop

Metro Transit bus

Now I’m wondering, what’s stopping others from using transit more regularly? What are the most important improvements that need to be made for people to ride transit on a regular basis? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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?

Anne White

About Anne White

Anne White lives in the Merriam Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. She is currently the Land Use Chair for the Union Park District Council (District 13) and serves on the Governing Council of the District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (DCC). After moving to the Twin Cities in 2003, she retired from her work as a professional photographer and began working to ensure that community concerns were fully considered in planning for the Green Line LRT. Now that the line is up and running, including stations at Hamline, Victoria and Western, her main focus is on walkability, making sure that people of all ages and levels of mobility have safe, pleasant walking routes to LRT and other destinations. She was recently appointed to the St Paul Transportation Committee of the Planning Commission as the Active Living community representative.