It would be odd to imagine the sounds of a city without the hum of car engines or the exhaling sound a bus makes just before it comes to a rest. Having an outstanding transportation network in your community is essential for people of all incomes to get to their jobs, stores, and to see their friends. Beyond the convenience and aid that an outstanding transportation network provides, it also often saves the rider money, relieves congestion on the roads, keeps the air healthier for the community, and helps the country’s economy.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), 35 million Americans board some form of public transportation each day. This saves the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year and reduces carbon emissions across the country. The country isn’t the only one saving money. Some families have saved up to $9,700 a year by using public transportation.
What makes a transportation network outstanding? A city with an outstanding transportation network is better connected with its citizens. In St. Joseph, Missouri, the public transit is called The Ride. With some unique services, The Ride strives to personally and professionally meet the needs of its community, and the community benefits.
One of the most personal aspects of The Ride is the service provided of picking up customers off the beaten path. Regular bus routes run from one side of town to the other, but some people have a difficult time getting to those bus stops. With prearranged pick-ups, riders with mobility problems can be picked up just outside their front door. All buses are also equipped with wheel chair lifts to safely help their customers climb aboard.
The St. Joseph Public Transit also offers, at limited times, a service called Nite Ride for customers who work night shifts and untraditional shifts. In a community filled with manufacturing jobs and medical jobs that keep working all through the night, The Ride meets the needs of its customers who had to find a way to get to work so they could keep providing for their families.
An outstanding transportation network tries to meet the specific needs of the community’s citizens while keeping in line with the goals of efficient, safe, and affordable transportation. Some citizens opt to take their bike to work to help avoid traffic congestion, to get fit, to help improve the environment, and to save some money. In recent years, the St. Joseph Bicycle Club has evolved into a very active group. More recently, it is not uncommon to see a bicycle zoom down Noyes Boulevard with the other car traffic.
The Ride now offers bicycle racks on the public transit buses for bicyclists in St Joseph. When buses can make it possible for bikers to get over overpasses and busy highways so they can pedal on quiet parkways, the bus company has benefitted themselves, the individual, the city, and the environment. Outstanding transportation networks offer benefits to the community that go beyond just a ride.