Kaity is a second year nursing student at the University of Missouri. She works at Children’s Mercy Hospital and hopes to continue a career in pediatrics after completing school in May.
As with many people who grew up with access to multiple vehicles as a means for getting around town, utilizing public transportation can be a bit of a foreign concept. Riding the Columbia Transit for an afternoon to run errands was an eye-opening experience. It quickly became evident how critical skills like time management and flexibility come into play. Buses and routes run on a schedule, so it is imperative to plan activities around bus stop times. If a consumer were to miss a bus because of an appointment running late or errands taking longer than expected, it could take upwards of 40 minutes to catch the next one, throwing one’s entire schedule off the rest of the day.
Inclement weather also presents issues for public transportation users. While crews work diligently to clear roadways, that snow often gets piled up near bus stops. This can block the shelters and access to a safe, covered area to wait for the bus. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for people hurdle over snow piles in order to board the bus. This becomes hazardous for everyone, but especially populations like children, elderly, and those with limited mobility.
Although there are some flaws in the current system, the numerous benefits to using public transportation are evident. It provides a more affordable mode of transportation. It also increases physical activity. People typically have to walk farther to and from bus stops than they would from the car to their destination. Finally, it is a fun, social experience. The bus drivers and passengers were all friendly and helpful.
In order to improve the current Columbia transit system, City Council recently passed CoMO Connect. This system moves away from a one hub system and offers 42 connectors to change buses.