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Posts in Category: How We Roll

How We Roll

Why we chose to Get on Board 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:04:00 PM

Taking transit provides some obvious benefits, like saving thousands of dollars a year on gas, repairs and car insurance and having the freedom to safely use the phone that’s become an extension of your right hand. But as many Metro Transit employees can tell you, there are many other reasons to Get on Board.

To celebrate the American Public Transportation Association's National Get on Board Day, we’re highlighting some of the unique reasons our employees chose to take the bus or train.

Tell us why you ride for a chance to win a $50 Go-To Card. E-mail ridersalmanac@metrotransit.org or share your reason on Twitter using the hashtag #getonboard. We’ll chose three responses at random.

Moments of Zen

My commute acts like a daily meditation. Not having to drive gives me the time and freedom to de-stress by just listening to music in my headphones. This is especially important to me to help me mentally prepare for each day during my morning commute.

Karyssa Jackson, Green Line

Spend some quality time with Harry

Usually I read or do crosswords on my phone – I’m 20 years late but am finally reading the Harry Potter series. 

Michaela Ahern, Routes 46 or 74, A Line, Blue Line

Make a BFF

You never know who you’ll meet on board. Recently, I became reacquainted with a friend from college who rides the bus. Now we catch up often.

Steve Baisden, Route 355

Appreciate random acts of kindness

I like how my daughters and I have had random positive encounters with perfect strangers. A lady on Route 10 once gave my youngest daughter a fresh flower from her bouquet.

Jeremy Hop, Blue Line, bike

Togetherness

Every once in a while there are moments with a real sense of shared community. I’ve seen people immediately surround and care for someone who fainted and I’ve laughed along with everyone else when a little kid said something funny. It’s a good reminder that we’re all in this world together.

Glenn Gilbert, Route 61, A Line

Get a breath of fresh air

My commute is sometimes the most relaxing part of the day. It feels good to come into the office after a little physical activity and fresh air, or to catch up on the news or a podcast while riding the train.

Shaun Morrell, Blue Line, Route 21, bike

Earn bragging rights

The benefits for me are immense. I get regular exercise from walking – frequently taking more than 10,000 steps a day. 

Jovita Oghumah, Route 768

More room in the garage

My wife and I bought a house near the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station about 11 years ago because we wanted walkable and green areas nearby and wanted to live near light rail. Thanks to the convenience of the Blue Line, about four years ago we started sharing just one car. 

Charles Carlson, Blue Line

Find your good luck charm

I had a woman tell me twins are good luck in her culture and asked if she could sit next to us. Another time, my kids were crabby and an older gentleman started singing Sinatra to them. People really identify with children and when they see them on transit they want to say hello.

Christina Morrison, A Line, Blue Line

Catch some zzzzs

It’s a smoother commute both ways with few surprises. Going home, I traded the stress of fighting the traffic for fighting to stay awake, so I didn’t miss my stop. I’ll take that trade. 

Mike Conlon, Northstar

Enjoy some "me time”

Riding transit is 100 percent “me time.” I can read, play Candy Crush, catch up on e-mails, or listen to podcasts.

Kecli Stones, Blue Line

How We Roll

How We Roll: Senior Planner Scott Thompson 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region.

These “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Scott Thompson, Senior Planner

How do you get to work?

I commute almost exclusively on transit. My commute usually begins and ends at SouthWest Transit's SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie. Depending on the weather, I either walk or transfer to another bus to get to the Heywood Office where I work. Sometimes I'll park at the Blue Line's 28th Avenue Station Park & Ride and take light rail. 

Service Development has a friendly competition and a traveling trophy for whomever takes transit, bikes or walks every month. Last year, I took 752 transit trips. That might sound like a lot, but I have co-workers who have taken even more trips! 

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

I enjoy avoiding the headache of driving and dealing with traffic. Considering all the transit advantages we have now -- including MnPASS and shoulder lanes, and Marq2 in downtown Minneapolis -- I’m always surprised at the number people who continue to sit in traffic in their cars as my bus goes past. 

How does taking transit impact your work?

I try to use transit as much as possible during the work day. I plan service in St. Paul and surrounding communities so I often find myself taking the Green Line to get to meetings in the East Metro. We have terrific tools that help planners make better decisions about our service, but there's no substitute for personally experiencing what our customers experience.

Are there any other transportation services you find invaluable?

Transit has been important to my entire family. About 8 years ago, my mother quit driving and started using Metro Mobility, the Council's transportation service for individuals who can't use regular route transit. Without Metro Mobility, our family would have become responsible for all her transportation needs or she would have needed to live in an assisted living facility much earlier than she did. Instead, she was able to continue living independently at her home in Richfield. She couldn’t say enough good things about how kind all the drivers were to her and how deeply she appreciated the service. My family and I will always be grateful.

How We Roll Minneapolis Northstar

How We Roll: Mike Conlon 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Thursday, February 28, 2019 3:11:00 PM

Mike Conlon

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region.

These “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Mike Conlon, Director of Rail and Bus Safety

How do you get to work?

I drive from my home in Lino Lakes to the Fridley Park & Ride, where I get on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line. Fifteen minutes later I’m at Target Field and take a short walk to Heywood.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

Skipping the traffic between Minneapolis and Fridley. When construction started on Interstate 94 in 2017, the alternate roads became completely jammed. Construction in Minneapolis also meant there were too many users – automobiles, pedestrians, cyclists – for the available space. 

Under those conditions, it became clear that it would be easier and take less time to take Northstar. It’s a smoother commute both ways with few surprises. Going home, I traded the stress of fighting the traffic for fighting to stay awake, so I didn’t miss my stop. I’ll take that trade. 

Why is it important to you to ride transit?

It’s important for three reasons: pain, preference and perspective.

There was nothing altruistic in my decision to make transit a part of my daily commute. I did it because the pain of continuing to drive outweighed the pain of the change. 

But I also ride transit because I like it. It suits me. In every city I visit, whether it’s for business or pleasure, I use transit. I’ve taught safety classes for the Federal Transit Administration in 20 major U.S. cities and used the transit in each of those cities. I insisted on seeing and using the maglev (a magnetically propelled train) in Shanghai, China, as well as the local and high-speed rail there, and in Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong. I look forward to using the local and high-speed rail in Italy soon.

There is also something serendipitous about my local transit trips. If you pay attention, you can see some real kindness being practiced. When I ride Route 18 sometimes, I see folks make a spot for someone who may not be as able to get around, and it doesn’t matter how crowded the bus is. It just happens. Ten people launch into action, some finding another spot for themselves and others lifting the seat to make room. I am grateful for having noticed. 

How We Roll

How We Roll: Shaun Morrell  

Posted by John Komarek | Friday, January 18, 2019 4:40:00 PM

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region.

These “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Shaun Morrell, Manager of Scheduling and Systems Support

How do you get to work?

My family and I bike, take Route 21 or the Blue Line or drive together, depending on the weather and our plans for that day. When the weather's nice, my wife Noelle and I like to start the day riding our bikes together along the Midtown Greenway. We pull our 3-year-old son, Simon, in a trailer. We split off at the Sabo Bridge. Noelle takes Simon to daycare in the morning and leaves the trailer there during the day. Then I pick him up in the afternoon.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

My commute is sometimes the most relaxing part of the day. It feels good to come into the office after a little physical activity and fresh air, or to catch up on the news or a podcast while riding the train.

Why is it important to you to ride transit?

I worry a lot about the damage humans are doing to the air, water, wilderness and climate. I believe transit is one way we can use resources more wisely and reduce our impact on the environment. That keeps me motivated, both as a transit employee and as a rider.

How do you get around outside of your commute?

As much as we can, we like to bike or walk to places in our neighborhood (Longfellow) for shopping, eating out, socializing, and recreation. We use our car for bigger shopping trips and longer distances.

How We Roll

How We Roll: Michaela Ahern 

Posted by John Komarek | Friday, December 14, 2018 1:15:00 PM

Many Metro Transit employees are committed to sustainable transportation, riding the bus or train, biking or walking to work and other destinations across the region. “How We Roll” profiles illustrate how much we have in common with our customers when it comes to how we get around. See you out there!

Michaela Ahern, Data Management Analyst, Service Development

How do you get to work?

I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood with a lot of great transit options within walking distance from my house. In the morning, I’ll take either the 46, 74, or the A Line to the Blue Line. If it’s raining or I’m feeling lazy, I’ll take the 134 because there are a few trips that stop just steps from my front door. Going home, I always take the Blue Line and transfer at the 46th Street Station to whichever bus is leaving first for Highland Park.

During the summer and fall, I’ll ride my bike to work or combine a bus or train ride with a bike ride. Last year I joined a bike team and found that bike commuting was a good way to get training time in instead of trying to juggle family time and workouts in the evening. I bought a fat bike this year, so maybe I’ll try winter bike commuting occasionally.

What do you enjoy most about your commute?

Not having to drive! Usually I read or do crosswords on my phone – I’m 20 years late but am finally reading the Harry Potter series. I appreciate leaving the annoyances of traffic to the bus and train operators, who handle bad drivers and crummy weather with more skill and grace than I ever would. I’ve also been able to get to know other employees through conversations on the bus or train or on the walk to Heywood from Target Field.

Riding transit and making transfers also helps inform my work in Service Development. I can see how important accurate running and recovery time is to operators trying to maintain a schedule, and I can also empathize with customers when they’re trying to make a connection work.

How do you get around outside of your commute?

I walk or bike to a lot of places in my neighborhood and now both of my boys (5 and 7) can ride their own bikes so we’ll bike up to the library or playground together. Weekends are when we usually do car errands or when we use our truck to go camping in the summer. My husband likes driving, so even when I’m not commuting I still don’t have to drive very often.

My kids love riding the bus. Their favorite seats are the ones in the very back because they don’t have to be buckled into a seatbelt and they can take turns pulling the cord. My 7-year-old now insists on putting his fare in by himself and hanging onto the transfer, which works out most of the time. We take the 74 when we go to the Science Museum in downtown St. Paul, the 23 to the Riverview and the Blue Line to the airport.

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