by Christine Green
What a day! I started ROC Transit Day at Collegetown near Strong Hospital and the University of Rochester campus. My friend, Kelly, met me there and our adventure began…
1) Bus 50: My first Rochester bus ride. I felt like such a goof! How have I lived in the Rochester area for 14 years and not ever rode a bus? Well, there I was on my way to the Rochester Public Market via the downtown Transit Center. Of course, the public market is an adventure in and of itself…we sampled mulberries, bought fruit and veggies, purchased a hanging basket of flowers, ate empanadas, and drank carrot juice. We participated in a workshop organized by Foodlink and learned all about how to eat healthy on a budget.
2) Bus 39: Next we chose to catch the number 39 at the corner of Trinidad and Union. Sounds easy, right? Well, we couldn’t find the bus stop sign! A quick and simple call to RTS connected me to an extremely kind and patient representative who directed me to the stop and called the driver so that he could be on the lookout for us. I wasn’t too hard to spot since I was the crazy lady carrying a potted plant and waving my bus pass in the air.
3) Bus31/Transit Center: We met an awesome guy named Louis at the Transit Center. Louis told us all about how to take a bike on the bus, even taking the time to show us how the mechanism works. After we boarded the bus we saw him help a lady with two children and stroller, folding and stowing the awkward gadget while she held her very sleepy toddler in her arms. We also met a kind young lady who let me put my plant on the seat next to her (I think my new nickname is officially Crazy Plant Lady), and I met a kind elderly lady who even rose from her seat to say good-bye when we had reached our stop. Lots of good people. Bus 31 took us to Park and Goodman where we fueled up on bread from Great Harvest Bread and perused Parkleigh.
4) Bus 47: At this point I was officially tired and a *wee* bit cranky from the heat. When our bus arrived I was more than happy to board the clean, air-conditioned, and shaded bus back to the Transit Center.
5) Bus 50: Our last bus ride! This bus took us back to Collegetown where we officially ended our day’s adventures.
I learned a few things about the Roc transit system and about public transportation in general.
I learned that the RTS bus app and the customer service at RTS are top-notch. We had a few hitches here and there, but for the most part we made it everywhere we wanted to go using this app and calling into to RTS. I also realized how very little I know about Rochester, something I want to remedy. Now that summer is really here I hope to spend more time exploring the city and seeing the sites. I learned, too, that three bucks will take you all over the area all day and you don’t have to spend a dime on gas. Pretty sweet deal, if you think about it. Oh, and take it from the Crazy Plant Lady, portulaca plants can take some rough handling on several bus rides.
A few tips for those who want to ride the bus around Rochester (or anywhere, really): Be like Louis. For many people riding the bus with strollers, wheel chairs, groceries, and small kids can be difficult and possibly overwhelming. Lend a hand, give up your seat, offer a smile. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seriously, EVERYONE we interacted with today when we needed directions or help were more than willing to offer advice and assistance. Finally, plan ahead. Sure you can use your smart phone or the trip planner screen at the Transit Station, but if you are able to plan out your route and stops before you leave you’ll definitely save time.
Christine Green is a writer and personal assistant in NY. She has been published in Story Bleed, Genesee Valley Parent, aaduna, the Democrat and Chronicle, the American Cancer Society’s Choose You Blog, Healthy Urban Kitchen, Germ Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, & Naptime Notebook, and Mused Literary Review. She has essays in the anthologies Mother Muse and Motherly Musings. She hosts Words on the Verge, a monthly literary reading and salon in Brockport, NY.