Saturday, August 3, 2013

The IE Transit Challenge, Part 1

One of the problems with improving the fortunes of public transit in traditionally auto-dependent places is that people are creatures of habit. They looked in to taking the bus once a decade or two ago, and it was hard, so they didn't do it, or they simply don't think about alternative transportation so long as their car keeps running. And this is at least partially understandable-- moving through the city on transit takes a little more knowledge and planning than moving through it in a car. So I'm issuing a challenge to you-- yes, you, dear reader-- if you're one of those people who is sympathetic to cutting car use, but who doesn't regularly use our local transit system for whatever reason.

For the first four Saturdays in August, I'm going to post up an assignment for those of you who want to make a change in your own personal travel habits, but are unsure how to get started. Feel free to follow along, and comment with your experiences below.

First assignment! Find out about the transit routes that serve your home. Where are the nearest bus stops to you? What routes serve those stops? Where do those routes go? (Both endpoints and interesting destination along the way.) How often can you catch a bus, and what are the hours of service? On weekdays? On weekends?

You may be asking how one finds out this sort of information. In order to find your nearest bus stop, if you don't already know where it is, you might cast your gaze over to Google Maps. Zoom in pretty close, and little blue bus stop icons will start appearing. Look for them on major streets nearby. You might also try taking a look at the System Map for an idea of what streets near you host bus service-- here's RTA's and here's Omni's. (Not sure which one you are? RTA serves Riverside County and Omnitrans serves San Bernardino County.)

Once you've found your stop, either look at the system map or the stop itself for the routes it serves. (The bus stop sign will generally have route numbers on it.) And once you've found the route that serves your stop, the rest of the information you'll need can be found on the timetable for that route. (Omni, RTA)

By the way, you may have noticed that I didn't say anything about fares above. Both Omni and RTA have the same fare structure for casual riders-- $1.50 per boarding or $4 for a day pass.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

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