As a Colorado Springs citizen, whether you ride the Metro Busses or not, one thing is for sure: you notice them. Being blue, orange, purple and silver in color, these giant public assisters are hard to miss.
Within the last six-months, the Mountain Metropolitan Transit has been revamping their routes. According to The Gazette, they have expanded their Saturday services. Two routes increased frequency, arriving every 30-minutes rather than every hour, and other routes are now running later than in the past.
I haven’t been on a bus since I was a small child. I used to take it to Walmart with my grandma who never had a car. I had a special hate for the Metro because my cousins and I always had a ton of bags to carry back from the bus stop to my grandma’s apartment.
As an adult with two cars, I couldn’t imagine myself on the bus again, until it became a class assignment.
On the morning of March 11, I left my house at about 9:45 a.m., parked my car at the Kum & Go gas station across from the Metro bus stop and walked to the medal bench.
As I approached, I greeted Jacob Reid, a 44-year-old rider who loves cigarettes–he smoked two in the 13 minutes that we waited for the Metro to pick us up. He told me, “I
ride the bus because I need to get to work and I lost my license due to legal issues long ago.” Reid wasn’t a fan of taking the bus, though he admitted it saved him money.
Today was payday for Reid, he was anxious for the bus to come because it was his day off.
He was off to the “funky” part of Colorado Springs–Manitou Springs. “I’m ready to hit the penny arcade and enjoy a few beers at The Ancient Mariner Tavern. I usually hate the bus, but on paydays, I love it!” he told me.
Mid-conversation, the Metro bus #606 pulled to a screeching stop to pick us up, I followed in after Reid so I would have some guidance as to what I should do.
When it was my turn to get a bus pass, Rowland Brown, bus driver of almost a year told me that it was $2 for a one-way pass, or $4 for an all-day pass. I inserted the money, and out popped my all-day Metro ticket.
I felt a kind of “all eyes on me” feeling as I walked on, but I continued on to the middle of the bus until I found an open seat. I sat in front of a group of teenage boys and faced the front of the bus, wondering everybody’s story–trying to guess things like: where they were going and why they were on the bus in the first place.
There were a wide variety of ages and all types of people on the bus. The Metro offered special seat accommodations for the elderly, should the bus be too packed. And according to The Colorado Springs Business Journal, they offer free rides to active military personnel the whole month of April.
The Colorado Springs Metro website also offers a chart of common places that will allow riders to navigate through the town easier. The specific chart that is included is located in the “Senior Riders” portion of their website. This brought back memories to when I was a kid carrying grandma’s groceries back to her apartment.
As the bus went from stop to stop, I spoke to a few riders, but Jacob Hall was the most enthusiastic to talk with me.
Mr. Hall was a kind man, very smiley and up-beat. As I moved up to a seat closer to him and introduced myself, he explained to me that he took the bus because since he retired, he was a home body, so he gave his car to his daughter.
“I couldn’t buy her one, so the dad thing to do was to give my own up. She was supposed to give me a ride to take Taco (his dog) to the vet, but something came up–something always comes up.” Hall said
Overall, he was satisfied with the timelines and prices of the bus.
As for somebody that doesn’t need to take the bus, it is ultimately inconvenient. A drive to Manitou Springs 20-minutes or so opposed to the hour 46 minutes that it took on the bus.
Public transportation is cheap, easily accessible and a sole means of transportation for people of all sorts in the community. If you have time to spare, I would recommend the Metro Bus as a reliable transportation source.