I’ll be honest, I’m pro-millage. What? Here in Ann Arbor, there’s a millage up for the vote on May 6 about increasing the amount of taxes we pay to support our local public transportation. I’m not writing this post, though, to talk about why I support the millage, I just want to write about why I like taking the city bus.
I’m from Arkansas. I love Arkansas. It’s my home state and I’m proud of what we Arkansans accomplish in the state and out of it. I graduated from the University of Arkansas and I’ve always lived, essentially, downtown. That means you’re within walking distance to your work, your school, your family, and your play. Because (let’s face it), public transportation in northwest Arkansas is no BART or EL or METRO or AATA or anything remotely like that.
So moving to a small city, similar to my hometown but with decent public transportation, has been a real treat for me. While my fellow Arkansan husband and I still live within walking distance to our places of work (the university library and Kerrytown shops), we both take the bus on a regular basis. We are a one-car family and, really, I think the AATA schedule allows us to be this way. I take the bus to work and I take it home, especially in the winter. The bus takes me to my shopping centers and gets me home, almost to my doorstep, every time. I take the no. 15 to the places I need to go (work, play, shopping–it’s all covered). It’s not just convenient; I really like the folks who take my bus as well. I’ve made friends, met neighbors, and have coworkers who all take my bus. I enjoy the bus for my fellow commuters almost as much as I enjoy its convenience.
Sometimes the bus is late, but really not that often. The bus drivers are friendly and professional. While I do use the university’s Blue bus, sometimes (I have to admit) the drivers scare me. They often drive too fast and seem too inexperienced (like when it seems like they’re playing the game breakaslittleaspossibleonthecurves). My AATA drivers are tried and true and I depend on them to get me to work, to play, and to errands. There have been plenty of mornings when I’ve been absolutely thankful to see the bus coming to get me, on time, down the block.
I’ve lived in a few different cities in my life, in different countries, too. Buses have made my way of life possible–getting me to school, to work, and allowing me to live in affordable neighborhoods. Sometimes taking the bus was a necessity and sometimes it was a choice. I’m pleased to live in a city where the public transportation system allows me to save money, to accomplish the things I need to do, and to live the lifestyle I’ve always lived. When I hear people complain about the AATA service, I always remind them that the AATA (for the size of our city) is a robust system. It could be better, but it’s already pretty swell.