No ride created equal: views on Lansing mass transit

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By Haywood Liggett
Listen Up, Lansing staff reporter

Local citizens relying solely on public transportation are giving mixed reviews on public transportation in the city.

Numerous people have taken the bus at least once. However, a vast amount of the populous have access to a vehicle of their own, or that of a family member, close friend, significant other etc. But there are a large number of Lansing citizens that rely exclusively on public transportation.

CATA, Lansing’s only bus system, is one of typical ways those without vehicles get around. According to statistics from its website, in 2014 CATA recorded 11,585,003 passenger trips.

There are those like Jason Whittenburg, a 45-year-old Lansing resident, who has had nothing but positive experiences relying on public transportation for all of his travel. This includes work, church, his hospital visits and to local stores.

“CATA is awesome,” he said. “I did two tours in Iraq and came back with little money. I still don’t have much. But the drivers have always accommodated me. There were times where I didn’t have enough to ride and they still let me get on. It’s always positive.”

Reggie Christian, a 39-year-old man who has been relying solely on CATA to get around for 16 years, also for the most part said he has had a mostly positive experience.

“There have been a a few bumps in the road through the years,” he said. But if you’ve been riding as long as I have, how can you not expect that. You can generally count on the experience to be pleasant as long as you account for time.”

Obviously if public transportation was a horrible experience for everyone it wouldn’t have been around this long. But for those that rely solely on CATA bus to get around, they run into problems a lot more frequently than the person that only rides periodically.

Another Lansing resident, 15-year-old Tayla James, explained that after having to ride the bus every day for a year and a half, she’s about ready to build a car herself so she doesn’t have to take public transit again.

“It’s been all bad since I started taking the bus. I’ve been driven past, almost ran over, the bus drivers always have attitudes, they’ve made me late for school on multiple occasions, I could go on forever,” she said. “The only reason I still take the bus is because it’s my only option right now.”

She’s not alone in her sentiments. Lansing Community College student Keon Davis, 23, also expressed that he has encountered obstacles relying only on public transportation to get around town, but had a few ideas about how to fix that.

“Man I’ve been taking the bus for six years. They are normally pretty good about being on time, but there are certain routes that just have so many people on them,? he said. “They get slowed down because they are constantly stopping for people to get on and off. It can get super crowded.”

Davis suggested that for the more crowded routes, CATA should run buses more periodically. That way people don’t have to wait as long, and they can have a more pleasant riding experience with a less crowded bus. And if they want to just swing for the fences they should just invest in bugger vehicles.

“It’s simple. They just need a few more buses so we can all ride in peace on the popular routes. If that doesn’t work they should just build buses that hold twice the amount of people.”

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