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Public bus 23C Millbrook on its daily route
When we found out that local transit rider, Catherine Clarke, bought her smartphone specifically to use TransLoc’s mobile app, we had to hear more. So, we reached out to Catherine to learn about why she rides the bus and what role TransLoc plays in her commute. She told us how using public bus transportation has not only saved her money, but has increased her safety, and lowered her stress level.

Here’s the interview:

TransLoc: Why do you use public transportation?

Catherine: I love not having the stress of finding a parking space or dealing with traffic and congestion. I like that my bus driver has to deal with that and I don’t have to worry about it. It’s become a more relaxing way for me to commute to work. The other thing is, at my workplace I get to ride for free, so I ride for free and then I don’t have to pay for parking. Parking downtown is expensive and it continues to go up. I end up saving a lot of money.

TransLoc: Do you use public transportation in place of a car, or along with one?

Catherine: I use it in place of a car for commuting to work. I have also ridden the bus occasionally on a weekend to go down to the museums when I know they’re having a big event downtown. I’ll ride so I don’t have to worry about finding a place to park. Because I commute using the bus, I don’t come home and get in my car either. I think if I drove to work I would stop and run errands on the way home and I don’t do that now. I feel like I package all my errands and run them at one time— which is what they tell you to do because it’s more efficient.

TransLoc: What factors made you decide to start taking the bus?

Catherine: I’ve been riding for probably ten years and it would have to be the price of parking. Also, I just did not feel safe where I was parking and I didn’t want to pay more to park in a better location, so I just said, I’m not doing this anymore, and started riding the bus.

TransLoc: What are the frustrations of riding public transit?

Catherine: I know if I take my car and am running late I could be just five minutes late to work. But if I’m running late and I miss the bus I know I’m going to be 30 minutes late to work. Then I have to stay 30 minutes later to make that up. With a bus, you cannot be late, you have to be there. So, when something goes wrong it does get frustrating.

One of the things I love about TransLoc is that I know how long I’m going to have to wait or if I’ve missed the bus. That is important information as a commuter because I need to be at work at a certain time and then when I’m done with work I want to know that I can leave and pick up my bus and be home.

TransLoc: What role does TransLoc play in your decision to ride the bus?

Catherine: If I’m running late, I’ll look at TransLoc to see where the bus is and see if I still have time to get there, or if I need to let this one go and catch the next one. So that’s good information for me. It just cuts down on the frustration. You know exactly what your situation is and just having that information your frustration level goes way down.

TransLoc: Do you use TransLoc every time?

Catherine: Every single time. Usually I ride the CAT (Capital Area Transit) bus, but I can ride the TTA (Triangle Transit Authority) and then I just walk a mile to my house, so that’s a decision for me to make. Is it worth it for me to wait for my bus to come, or to take the TTA? When trying to make decisions like that, TransLoc helps me decide what I’m going to do.

TransLoc: How has TransLoc impacted your transit experience?

Catherine: I feel so much more informed and like I am in control of my transit decisions with TransLoc. Even though I can’t decide when the bus is going to leave to come pick me up, because I have so much more information I can see that it’s coming or that I missed it. Before, I just had to stand there and wait and see what was going to happen. I didn’t know. I didn’t have any information and there was a phone number you could call but they wouldn’t tell you anything. They just gave you the bus schedule and wouldn’t tell you what was going on in real-time, so I just had to wait.

TransLoc: You mentioned in an email that you bought a smartphone specifically so you could use TransLoc—can you elaborate?

Catherine: So I just had a flip phone before, and I saw that TransLoc was [available] on smartphones. I went on TransLoc’s website and I saw all the other campuses and other cities that used it. I [saw] what it was going to do, and I could not imagine knowing it was out there, and commuting, and not having it. It just is not worth it. I needed to know what was going on.

TransLoc: If you didn’t have TransLoc, would you continue to use public transportation?

Catherine: Fortunately, I know that wouldn’t happen, I know they wouldn’t take TransLoc away! If you want people to commute on public transit, you need to give them the tools to do that. TransLoc is definitely the best one out there.