Saturday, April 18, 2015

Aboard VINE Transit: Inspiring letter about travel by bus

VINE Transit's Route 2, 'Laurel Street,' parked curbside along a street.
Source of image: VINE Transit
From the community I grew up in, California’s Napa Valley, Jane Kensok offers inspiring testimonial about getting around by public transit.

Kensok, who works two days per week at the Oakland Children’s Hospital, used VINE Transit’s “Route 29” express connection to the El Cerrito del Norte Bay Area Rapid Transit Station every Friday for the last seven years. According to Kensok, “It’s a real deal at $5.50 a ride, while if you drive it, the bridge toll alone is $5.”

When Kensok broke her leg this winter, she began relying on local VINE system runs.

I related to her experience, having regularly traveled by bus to work since early 2011. In my case, the impetus was soaring gas prices that made driving unsustainable.

At the time, I lived approximately 30 miles from the community where I worked. I easily spent $35 or more per week putting gas in the tank of a car. I found that, instead, I could invest $35 per month for a month-long “Fast Pass” that offered unlimited travel on bus routes within Lake County.

Even when Lake Transit increased the “Fast Pass” cost to $40 per month, it still offered considerable savings.

I also made use of Lake Transit’s “Route 3” to get to Napa Valley, where I connected with VINE Transit. This proved invaluable when pursuing my degree in Library/Information Technology. To complete a class assignment by visiting the Napa library, I rode Lake and Napa County buses.

Kensok offers this tip when charting connections between VINE Transit and Bay Area transit agencies:

“Logging on to — a site that includes all nine Bay Area counties — you enter your point of departure and destination. It will then give you the route you want — the fastest or the easiest, your option — where and what time the bus will arrive, where and when to transfer if necessary, total travel time and distance, and when the next bus will come if you miss the planned one. It even includes how many minutes it should take you to walk to and from the bus stop.”

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