By Emily Beloate
When I came to college in Spokane, I got a job as a Disney princess for children’s birthday parties. It was my dream job. I got to see the look in the eyes of the children when they saw their favorite princess walking up the driveway, and hear their voices as they sang along to “Let it Go” from Frozen. But there was one problem. I didn’t have a car, and I needed a way to get to and from my workplace. So I started relying on Spokane Transit Authority (STA), the local bus system, to get around town.
Riding the bus for the first time can be scary. But there are ways to make it a positive experience. These few steps are ways you can make your first time riding the Spokane bus a positive experience.
Spokane Transit Authority’s mission is “providing safe, accessible, convenient, and efficient public transportation services” to the Spokane area. Beth Bousley, the Director of Communications and Customer Service for Spokane Transit Authority, said “we pride ourselves in providing a service to Spokane that goes above and beyond just a mode of travel.” Spokane Transit Authority tries to give their customers the best service possible, so they supply many different resources to help you understand the system. Before your first time riding the bus, take the time to look at the Spokane Transit Authority website and research the different routes, stops, and fares. If you have any specific questions, you can even call them with questions at 328-RIDE (7433) or visit The Plaza, their central location downtown.
Locate the Stop
All over Spokane, you can see benches and blue and green signs that are the locations for the bus stops. Generally, you can find one that is within walking distance of where you are. If you know you’re going to be riding the bus in the future, find the stop closest to you in advance. This way, you know exactly where the stop is and there is no way for you to get lost. Take a walk with a friend to the road or take a bike ride to locate the stop in the days previous to riding the bus. You’ll feel much more comfortable and confident if you know exactly where you’re going when the day comes.
Busses run on a tight schedule, and you don’t want to miss one. Arrive at your stop 5-10 minutes early. Samantha Mittmann, a Whitworth student who has often taken the bus to get to work, suggests getting there a few minutes early. Mittmann said “I always make sure to get there a few minutes early, that way I can relax a little bit more.” By doing this, you allow yourself ample time if anything were to go wrong, and you’re less likely to miss the bus when it comes around.
Talk to the Driver
If you’re worried about being on the wrong bus or missing your stop, talk to the bus driver when you step onto the bus. Mittmann said “The first time I rode the bus, I asked the driver about my stop. He was really helpful and had a good sense of humor.” Many of the drivers are happy to help and have answers to any questions you may have. If you’re riding the bus for the first time, let the driver know and double check your destination. If nothing else, it will help reassure you and let you relax for the ride.
Breathe & Relax
By this step, you’ve done everything you can to make sure you’re going to arrive at your destination. There’s no need to worry anymore. Put in a pair of headphones, listen to your favorite song, and be on the lookout for your stop.
It’s normal to be intimidated the first time you ride the bus. But hey, if I can do it wearing Disney princess make-up, so can you.
Customer Service Call Center: 328-RIDE (7433)
The Bus Shop
701 West Riverside Avenue
Spokane, Wa 99201