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Ways to support Greensboro public transit

by Spoma Jovanovic and her students at UNCG and Dudley High School*

Read Bus Journal

If you’ve never ridden a bus in Greensboro, you can now do so without ever leaving your home by following the adventures of 75-year old local author and bookstore owner Al Brilliant. His 100-page Bus Journal offers a social critique of our society and how we treat the mostly invisible people who ride the city buses. Readers are taken on an adventure through Greensboro to learn about the complexities of race in America, the US obsession with gasoline-fueled automobiles and a host of other community issues that require our collective attention.

Celebrate GTA’s 20 th anniversary

Twenty years ago, bus fare in Greensboro was 50 cents. In 2011, riding the bus is still a bargain at $1.30 per trip with most buses leaving the downtown Depot every 30 minutes to fan out across the city on 15 routes. The Greensboro Transit Authority took over city public transportation service in 1991 from Duke Power Co. Today, GTA is governed by a nine-person board appointed for two-year terms by the Greensboro City Council.

Save gas

You’ll do the earth a favor when you ride a bus, and the power savings will be even more when you board one of three brand-new diesel-electric hybrid buses just introduced to Greensboro roads last month. The buses use electricity stored in rooftop batteries for lower speeds and a regenerative braking system captures energy every time the driver releases the accelerator. The city estimates the new buses will cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 percent.

Adopt a stop

Want a way to showcase the good deeds of your Girl Scout troop, fraternity, faith group or youth club? Just clean up any one of the city’s bus stops four times a year and you’ll get a sign at the bus stop for your efforts. You can plant flowers, pick up litter, report damage and give your bus stop that extra dose of tender, loving care. Best of all :lots of publicity and it’s free!

Ride for free with a college ID

If you’re a college student in Greensboro, you can ride any GTA or HEAT bus for free! Save your pennies for what you really need — books, school supplies and food. And when you want to go to the mall, downtown, to another college, or elsewhere around town, just jump on a bus, Monday to Friday to start (or end) your adventure starting at 5:15 a.m.

March for a change

Join Dudley High School students on Friday at 9 a.m. — rain or shine — as they march from their school to the site of a soon-to-be installed bus shelter at Pear and English streets. The school’s brand new service learning club, Dudley 4 CHANGE (Come Help a New Greensboro Evolve), is hosting the march with student-made signs proclaiming, “Stand Up to Sit Down,” “Benches for Everyone” and “Save our Legs.”

Hop on a bus… you might just learn something new

If you’re like most in Greensboro, you have never even been on a city bus. But it’s easy, and you might even see a new side of Greensboro, just like the 300 students at UNCG who did as part of their Communication & Community class for the last couple of years. They ride the bus for an hour, see new sites around town and talk to bus riders about their jobs, families and hobbies. That’s right, riding the bus is the perfect place to get introduced to new places and to strike up conversation with new friends.

Adopt a bench

The city of Greensboro’s coffers may be low with more budget cuts to come, but you, your business or your civic organization can help out bus riders by donating $500 for a new bench.

Dudley High School students have raised that amount and more — now they’re inviting the entire community to join their efforts to make sure everyone waiting for the bus has a place to sit. Only 10 percent of the city’s bus stops currently have a bus bench or shelter.

Dudley and UNCG students speak out

Listen to what the kids have to say; they know what they’re talking about! Kiera Baskerville, Dudley High School: “With so few bus shelters at the bus stops, I believe this makes people feel left out and unimportant. I think that if we put in more bus benches and shelters, more people will ride the bus.” Osbey Corbitt, Dudley High School senior: “The more bus benches and shelters, the better! I believe elderly people should have the right to sit while waiting for the transportation they are paying for.” Paula Hernandez, Wesley McBride and Terra McGee, UNCG students: “We were astonished at how few benches and shelters we saw while riding the bus throughout Greensboro. What does it say about our city when we don’t accommodate the needs of our citizens? We want to see changes in the future.”

Join the campaign for BUBBS — Bringing Us Benches & Bus Shelters

Students are speaking to civic groups — invite them, they’ll come! — in the park, with the homeless, and anyone who wants to improve services for public transit riders. Join their latest initiative to let the Greensboro City Council know just how many people care by visiting www.petitiononline.com/gta/petition.html.

*For the past two school years, students at UNCG in the Department of Communication Studies have teamed up with students at Dudley High School to increase awareness of and advocate for public transportation in the community.

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