Transit Tuesday: Guerda Synal

New York, NY – The Elmont Cultural Center

I am new to the country and have lived in the Elmont community for one year. I am married and have two children, a six-year-old girl and a seven-month-old girl. We left Haiti because of unrest and violence.

I don’t speak English very well yet. I want to take ESL classes, but it is difficult to get around, and I don’t have someone to watch the children. I think I will work on that later but for now I watch television. I am picking up a few words. Because I don’t speak English very well, it makes it difficult to understand how to take the bus and where. It would help if the information were in different languages, especially Haitian-Creole and Spanish, but some places don’t even have English signs and schedules for the bus.

On the weekend it is very hard to take the bus.  They run late or not at all.  I’ve heard that there is a driver shortage, that buses break down and I never know the schedule and have no idea why they don’t show up. You simply stay at the bus stop until a bus shows up or go back home and call an Uber. This is if I want to see family or go shopping. It was too hard on my own when my husband wasn’t around. I gave up traveling with the children on the weekends.

Sometimes I have had to wait almost an hour for a bus to come. That was especially hard when I was pregnant with my youngest girl.  When it rained there was no shelter or place to sit down to wait for the bus.  Then I would get on a crowded bus after waiting so long at the bus stop and not have anywhere to sit down.  If the buses ran more often, they wouldn’t be so crowded.

My family and I can’t get a car right now, but it would be easier if we had a car so we could get to the pediatrician, look for work, shop, and get to our immigration appointments. It takes more than an hour to do anything. This is why most of the time we have to call for a taxi. Sometimes we don’t have the money and we have to get help from someone paying for the fare or giving us a ride.

We rely on the buses to get us everywhere so we can become part of this country.  We need bus shelters to protect us in bad weather and we need buses to come frequently and reliably, even on nights and weekends.   

About Transit Stories

Transit Stories” is a series of real-life experiences with public transit in the U.S. We feature the first-hand experience of public transit riders from across the country. From large cities to small towns, we will document the experiences of the millions of users of busses, trains, ferries, and other forms of public transit in the US. Public transit is essential to our communities, to cooling the planet, to advancing equity. Transit is essential to our very lives.

There is a unique opportunity for the country to make a historic investment in public transit funding to help the country build back better. 

For media inquiries, contact Doug Gordon,



A project of Just Strategy