Update on Active Commuting in Omaha!
14
DECEMBER, 2016

We continue to be a one vehicle couple. I’ve been taking the bus to work/walking home for about 3 months now. Due to some back trouble Adorable Husband just started riding the bus downtown to work/walking back. So far, so good!

Riding the bus to work is fabulous. It’s great to let someone else navigate while I just sit back and listen to music. I make an effort not to sing along, lest I’d be become the weird lady on the bus.

Perhaps you’ve been considering riding the bus, too. Allow me to offer a few tips:

THE BIGGEST THING TO KNOW:
The bus waits for no one. Be at the stop at least 5 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.

They’re not a limo and you’re not Elvis.

It’s nothing personal. They’ve got a schedule to keep.

One day I thought I could play with time a little bit and noooooo. The bus rolled right by as I stepped out our south door. It was a deflating experience that gave me a flashback to 4th-grade bus-missing. But here’s the dealie-o: grown up bus taking is stress-free. Another bus came in 15 minutes. Problem solved. And lesson learned.

I now have a daily alarm set on my phone to ring 5 minutes before it’s time to leave the condo.

Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Check out the Omaha Metro

Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Check out the Omaha Metro

About the Fares

An adult fare for a 1-way ride is $1.25. Express routes, students, elderly/disabled/Medicare/ride + transfer cards are priced differently. Visit here for the full scoop.

Bus Myth Buster

You don’t have to have exact change to ride the bus. Let me sing it to you to accentuate the importance:

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVVEEEE EXXXXAACCCT CHANGE bobbity beeee bop!

I have people tell me all the time that one reason they don’t frequently bus commute is that having exact change is a drag.

But you YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVVEEEE EXXXXAACCCT CHANGE bobbity beeee bop!

Fare boxes accept all U.S. coins and bills up to $20, and Metro bus pre-paid fare cards. Bus drivers are not allowed to make change or handle money. So, if you need change, the fare box will issue a Value Card as “change”. Value Cards are not redeemable for actual cash and are valid for 90 days after issuance.

Just to liven things up a little, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the value card could also be redeemed for chocolate? I’ll call the bus folks and make the suggestion.

"Do I feel safe at the stop? Do I feel safe on the bus? I’m happy to report: Yes and Yes."

Don’t Pass on the Passes

The passes make the payment process fast and easy. No money to mess with or coins to drop and roll down the street. You can buy bus passes at most grocery store customer service desks or on the Metro Bus website here.

I buy mine either at Supermercado Nuestra Familia at 2900 Leavenworth Street or Baker's Supermarket at 888 S Saddle Creek Rd.

Important and comforting to know: The day and time that you ride is printed on the back of your pass so you can easily keep track of how many rides you have left.

Are you still with me? It’s all stuff that Bus Ridies (hip nickname I just made up for bus riders) need to know.

I Get Asked That A Lot

The most frequently asked questions I get asked about bus riding:

Do I feel safe at the stop? Do I feel safe on the bus?

I’m happy to report: Yes and Yes. I’ve never been approached by someone who made me feel unsafe or threatened. Perhaps because I ride during morning rush hour? It would be interesting to get the perspective from a frequent evening rider.

Are the busses dirty?

No. Many buses look brand new and all are clean.

What about winter riding? How terrible is it to wait for the bus on a cold day?

It’s really not bad. I dress warmly and have a winter coat with a big, cozy hood. Since we don’t have a parking spot in the underground parking garage, if I drove to work I’d still have to warm up the truck, perhaps scrape ice or clean off snow. I’d still be out in the cold for several minutes anywho. At least this way, I don’t have to do anything but stand and play on my phone with mittened hands.

Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - The Condos at 3000 Farnam
Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Lovely Sky During the Walk Home
Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Walking Past the Dewy Park Tennis Courts
Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Westbound Bus Stop - Just Outside the Condos at 3000 Farnam
Update on Active Commuting in Omaha! - Probably not going to use the snowshoes to commute!!

Probably not going to use the snowshoes to commute!!

A Few Final Thoughts

I keep a few things in my desk drawer at work to make active commuting a little easier, especially for the walk home: spare pair of ear muffs, a rotation of comfy old running shoes, a charger so I can make sure my wireless Bluetooth headphones are charged and ready for duty.

So far I haven’t taken the bus home. I walk the 1.5 miles. If it’s raining Adorable Husband will hop in the truck to pick me up once he gets home…to the delight and teasing of my coworkers. Why yes, I do melt in the rain! Walking home is a great way to decompress from the day as Mother Nature starts painting a watercolor sunset. It's a great transition time to switch brain gears from work mode to home mode. I have some hearty winter boots so I’m hoping to continue walking home until it just gets too crazy wintery. I have snowshoes, but even I think that might be taking it a bit too far.

So far I haven’t taken the bus anywhere other than to work. When I have weekend errands, I drive. Transporting a lot of groceries on the bus would be challenging. If you’ve mastered this, leave a comment, please, on how best to master it.

Interesting fun fact: According to the rules page on the Metro Transit website, you can travel with a pet as long as it’s in a cage or a service animal. I suppose they mean a cat or dog or rabbit or turtle and not say, a honey badger. Although there was nothing on the page that said you can't bring a honey badger. Watch for me on the news.

Metro Transit understands that newbies to the bus are uncertain about the process so they created this awesome, short video about how to ride.

Coming in 2018

Our already awesome Metro Transit system is getting even better with the Bus Rapid Transit coming in 2018. Get ready to be wowed! Real time apps to track your bus, snazzy wait stations with bike friendly amenities, and more! Learn more here.