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Thank you for riding SMART!
Welcome to The Commuter, where we'll give you the inside scoop on current happenings at SMART, from service changes to personal experiences from riders. The Commuter (TC) keeps you informed and up-to-date on what's happening in the world of public transit.
Why I made the switch
The Commuter brings a special story this issue! Meet the "Bus Ladies"! These women forged their friendships on the bus and are each other's strongest supporters.
Lisa (far right) celebrates her birthday with friends, including Betty (far left, back row).
When Lisa Borucki was dealing with personal losses, two wonderfully supportive women came to her home. They offered soup, tea and sympathy. Those two women were from Lisa's group of friends who laughingly dubbed themselves the "Bus Ladies."
The Bus Ladies' friendships began before Lisa started riding the bus. When Lisa began riding the bus, she instantly noticed Betty--"Betty talks to everyone!" said Lisa affectionately. Betty, and about six other women, had developed quick friendships during their daily commutes, and Lisa was promptly folded into the group.
When one of their own passed away, the Bus Ladies made a promise. "We decided we needed to get together outside of our daily bus rides," said Betty.
After years of commuting together, the women now ride different routes: some take the 830, others the 125 or 200. But they endeavor to meet up with each other outside of work at least once a month.
Lisa credits the SMART bus for allowing her to meet these women, whom she would have never met otherwise, and in making lifelong friendships.
"I am honestly blessed to have friends like these," said Betty. "I can laugh and cry with them and know I won't be judged."
What's New at SMART
Keeping up with the news...
As you may know last month Governor Snyder signed a package of bills creating the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties–a reality after 50 years of effort! This legislation provides the structure, guidelines and a future vision of public transit for the southeast Michigan region.
The RTA will have the ability to coordinate services between SMART and DDOT (not merge) and a new bus rapid transit system. It also provides funding opportunities that will require voter approval. The first step is the appointment of the RTA Board of Directors to start the dialogue and begin planning.
Though the legislation is in the early stages, this is positive for both southeast Michigan and SMART. As always, we will continue to provide our customers with the same high quality service they have come to expect.
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Winter Weather Advisories
It's that time of year again when you wake up and look out your window to check the weather. Do you want to know if the bus is being held up by snow? Check online at smartbus.org, Facebook/rideSMARTbus or your local radio and TV stations for the most up-to-date news. Service decisions are made very early in the morning--before the first bus is sent out--on whether or not service will run for the day. Only in extreme weather will service be altered. When service is in operation, be aware that delays are possible with inclement weather.
Please remember to be extra cautious when waiting outside, too. Stand in a safe spot and a safe distance away from the bus when it pulls up to your stop-you never know where a patch of ice may have formed. Always signal by waving to the driver so that you know you've been spotted-especially if rain or snow is falling, it is dark outside or a mound of snow is blocking the driver from seeing you. Be prepared, and dress in warm layers in case the bus is delayed. At least one article of bright clothing is advised so that you're visible when it's dark outside.
* * *Ring, Ring!
If you've called our Customer Service line recently, you may have noticed changes. A new phone system has been installed at SMART and has been designed around our customers' need to get the information you want quickly and easily. The menu options have been updated, so please be sure to listen carefully.
Transit TalkTransit Fairs For All
SMART has actively participated in numerous transit fairs at businesses and organizations located within our service area, alongside other public transit groups including vanpooling and carpooling. The purpose is to bring employees' awareness to alternative rides to work. Representatives from SMART set up a table with system maps, route schedules and other pertinent information. They are ready to take questions and answer them on the spot to help current and new riders figure out how SMART can work for their commute.
If you'd like your employer to host a transit fair so your fellow employees can learn about these alternative rides to work, contact us at email@example.com. There are openings January through April. Schedule your Transit Fair today!
Offering Assistance to Others
We all have moments of uncertainty when we see someone we think may need help, but we aren't sure how to offer assistance, or if it is even wanted. Someone juggling bags as they try to find their bus pass, an elderly person carefully treading slippery sidewalks, or a person in a wheelchair struggling up a ramp...how do you go about helping them?
"It's great to offer them assistance," explains Michael Patten, SMART's ADA Coordinator, "but don't be offended if they decline." It's better to ask than to just assume they need help and then cause offense.
Possible ways to offer help:
"Do you need any help?" or "May I help?"
If they say yes, you can then ask, "How can I best help you?"
Perhaps you see a visually impaired person who you think might need some help. Always ask first. "You need to make sure that person realizes you're talking to them," says Michael, "Try 'excuse me, I see you are using a white cane. Can I help you?'" This way you don't startle the person by talking loudly or touching them suddenly.
A simple question can have great impact on a person, and your offer will be appreciated regardless of whether it is taken up or not.