Transit blog, day five

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Morning commutes made easy

Since I rode the last Route 5S bus out of the transit hub, it’s only fair that I would also board the first Route 5S bus out of Marion Square this morning.

As you might expect, it was a mostly quiet commute.

While I was the only person waiting at the bus stop, there were about five people already riding the bus when I boarded at 7:05 a.m. Moving along First Avenue, we picked up several more, with very few exiting. By the time we arrived at the downtown transit hub shortly after 7:30 a.m., the bus was nearly full.

Because of the way deadlines fall, I’ve already filed my Saturday column that gets printed in the paper. It discusses how difficult it can be to navigate using Cedar Rapids Transit and how much brainpower needs to be devoted to the task, especially if you are new to the service or if you regularly need to travel to different places in the city.

The Route 5S bus arrives at the Marion Square bus stop at 7:05 a.m. on May 6, 2016.
The Route 5S bus arrives at the Marion Square bus stop at 7:05 a.m. on May 6, 2016. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)

I’ll be writing in more detail about that topic at the end of next week, but I should make clear that if you are a person who goes to work at the same place and the same time each day, public transit probably won’t stress you out.

Several people I’ve met on the bus are commuters, taking public transit to and from their workplace. They enter the bus at the same (or nearly the same) bus stop each morning, and reverse the process in the evening. Once the routine is set, their only worry is being on time for their bus. It isn’t overly taxing and, in fact, many who ride find it relaxing and social, because they’ve made friends with other riders on their regular route.

If you’ve ever thought about the bus — you know, while battling traffic and cones in First Avenue construction purgatory — I’d encourage you to give it a week. You might be surprised by just how easy and pleasant it can be.

A sign promoting CR Transit is on the window of the sheltered bus stop at Marion Square on May 6, 2016. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)
A sign promoting CR Transit is on the window of the sheltered bus stop at Marion Square on May 6, 2016. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)

Another plus to riding public transit for me has been the added steps I’m taking each day. Since I’m one of those folks who wears an activity-tracking bracelet, I can tell you for certain that I’ve upped my daily step averages by 5,000 steps this week. That’s roughly the same as walking an additional 2.5 miles each day.

Even while I acknowledge that not everyone can walk longer distances, I’m personally pleased with this healthy by-product of riding the bus. There’s a lot of sitting associated with my job, and even having my activity bracelet alert me to periods of inactivity, hasn’t been as beneficial as using public transit. Hope the Blue Zones crowd is reading.

I’ll have another blog post for you tomorrow — I’ve enlisted Todd Dorman to ride with me to the west side for lunch — but don’t anticipate filing anything on Sunday.

See you on the bus.

This blog post by Lynda Waddington originally published on The Gazette website on May 6, 2016. Photo credit: Lynda Waddington/The Gazette