Join Renew Donate Gift It
Site Search Show Navigation

So Many Reasons to Try TransitPrint

Thriving Communities | June 3, 2010 | By Hannah Clark

Wednesday’s “Try Transit Day” highlights regular bus service to Traverse City from 17 villages, provided by BATA, Benzie Bus, and Kalkaska Transportation Agency.

The events on the news today-the oil spill, climate change, the war in Iraq, our obesity epidemic-are ever more incessant reminders that we should cut back on driving to use less gasoline. But in Northern Michigan, where many of us live far from work, school, and shopping, leaving the car in the garage often seems impossible.

That is why next Monday through Friday, June 7 to 11, is Smart Commute Week. It’s dedicated to reminding commuters that it’s not only possible to ditch your single occupancy vehicle, but it also can be fun, easy, and convenient. Many companies and organizations are strongly encouraging their workers to bike, walk, carpool, or take public transit to work.

There’s even some spirited inter-business competition going on!

And if you live well outside of Traverse City but work there, next Wednesday, June 9, is for you.

It’s called “Try Transit Day,” and this year it’s pointed right at people who commute from far outside of our town. Many folks don’t know that there are now regularly scheduled bus lines connecting 17 different villages throughout Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, and Kalkaska Counties to downtown Traverse City. So it’s becoming easier and easier to smart commute, even if you live too far away to walk or bike to work.

All of these buses stop regularly at specific times throughout the day-perfect for a commuter on a schedule!

Those who still think “dial-a-ride” when they think of transit should give the region’s public transit systems a try. To help, the Institute published a brochure that describes the region’s growing schedule of bus routes and stops connecting Traverse City to villages throughout the four-county area.

And if you need more convincing, consider this: Riding the bus doesn’t just get you to work on time-it can be fun too! Check out this short video of me, on a full bus, riding with eight of my neighbors and four bikes for evidence!

Taking transit even just a couple times a week not only helps the environment, but also saves you money on gas, parking, and you car’s wear and tear.

So, get on the bus! See how transit could fit into your commute, and check out the fun activities scheduled for Wednesday, Try Transit Day, while you’re at it:

  • Free Commuter Breakfasts, 7 to 9 a.m., at the BATA Transit Center, catered by the Warehouse Lounge, and at Hagerty Insurance, on Cass St.
  • Buses begin arriving in Traverse City at 7:20 (Benzie Bus), 7:30 (BATA Village Connectors), and 7:45 (Kalkaska Public Transit).
  • Local celebrities, bus agency directors, and other community leaders will be riding buses to the Transit Center in the morning.
  • A brief press conference and panel discussion at 8:15 a.m. at the Transit Center will discuss our regional transit system.
  • Two free yoga classes at Yen Yoga, 330 E. Front Street. 8:00 a.m. Hot Yoga, 8:30 a.m. Vinyasa Flow.
  • Smart Commute Week Happy Hour at Right Brain Brewery, 5 to 7p.m.
  • Special late BATA bus service on the three Village Connector routes depart the Transit Center at 7:00 p.m.
  • Happy hour prices at Right Brain all week, until 7 p.m., for smart commuters who wear their Smart Commute Week button.

Hannah Clark, a former MLUI intern and recent University of Michigan graduate, is now our policy assistant specializing in transportation. Reach her at hannah@mlui.org.