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

Transit Stories: Sonny Williams

Cincinnati, OH I’m a 73-year-old disabled veteran with PTSD. After spending some time in different places around the country, I came back to Cincinnati. I use the Metro, our bus system, to get to my VA appointments, the grocery store, and the bank. I move around with a cane.  Even with the pandemic, I’ve never stopped riding the bus. I’ll be riding one today. That’s the only way I can get around. I don’t drive. If it’s raining or snowing, or if there’s a storm, I take the bus even though I might have to stand in the rain. It’s a lifeline for where I need to go.  We need public transit to be affordable for everyone. In Cincinnati last year we voted for taxes to run the Metro, and they’re still raising the fares. The fares are going from $1.75 to $2.00, saying it’s easier for people to pull $2.00 out of their pocket than $1.75, which is ridiculous. The cost of a fare card for an elderly person is going up $5.00 a month. Rather than raising costs, we should keep fares down so everyone can take public transit as they need. When I got out of the


Transit Stories: Sohna Jeanty

(She/Her) | Atlanta, Georgia I’m originally from DC. When I moved to Georgia, I had a car. I soon gave up the car because driving in the city was a bit much. Public transit was my other option, but the transit system took some getting used to. I’ve had good experiences and not-so-good ones. The train system here in Atlanta is different than in DC. I will say that I do like how I only had to pay a flat rate to board the bus versus how I paid DC rates depending on peak times and zones. I don’t like how some of the systems connect, don’t connect, how difficult it is to transfer, and overall how that works. The organization MARTA Army has its way of helping people get acclimated with transit and it made my transition into using public transit down here a lot smoother. But, it takes a while to understand the system and I wish there was something done by the transit agency.  I moved to the city because I needed to have accessibility. Transit provided me that. I enjoy it. I prefer to take the bus to certain places versus waiting on an Uber. I


Transit Stories: Shalese Ford

Boston, Massachusetts I grew up in Boston but went to college in Ohio, and when I went to Cleveland or Columbus I could see how broken their transit was. Anything I said about MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), it was like, I take it all back.  But there’s still plenty to improve here. I’d majored in environmental studies and thought maybe I could get a job with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or an environmental non-profit. But this was 2009, and the job market was absolute shit. So, I took a job as a dog grooming assistant at a Petco in Dedham. My family had a car but they used it for their own needs. I didn’t make a lot of money and used transit. A lot of what I earned went to transportation, just refilling the cards. And, because I was taking a bus, a train, and another bus, I spent a lot of time traveling.  Sometimes I’d have to close out the grooming section and, depending on when I was getting out, I’d be getting one of the last buses. I had a 15- to 20-minute walk to the bus stop, and if I didn’t time it just


Transit Stories: Rose Driscoll

Cleveland, OH I love taking the bus. I love not having to worry about parking or pay for the upkeep of a car. I love putting on my headphones and using the time that I would spend driving to text my friends and family. But I also rely on the bus for transportation because I have brain injuries that make it very difficult for me to drive.  I got a concussion in June 2018 and after that my doctor suggested that I give up driving. If it wasn’t for the RTA, I would not have been able to get to my classes and my clinical rotations on time so that I could become a nurse. I would not be able to get to work or see my family on the other side of town. Catching a transfer is the most difficult part of using transit; I’ve been stuck in Public Square for more than half an hour before, sometimes late at night coming home to the west side from evening classes at Tri-C. As a student, that was really worrying because I’d have my laptop with me and I was nervous that I’d forget it or someone might try to


Transit Stories: Paolo Solorzano

Aurora, CO I started going to RTD (Regional Transportation District) board meetings back in 2017. I wanted to know why bus service had gotten so unreliable, and I wanted them to fix it. At the time, I was trying very hard to get my life back on track. I’d gone through a period of mental and emotional disorders and substance abuse. I was on probation and got a job at a grocery store. I’d get off work at 10 pm, 11 pm at night and take the last bus back home. The trip took an hour on a good day. But the schedules they gave out didn’t line up with the actual service. Often the bus would come 10 or 20 minutes late, which meant missing a transfer. Sometimes the bus just wouldn’t show up at all. So, the two hours round-trip turned into four.  The explanation I kept hearing from RTD and in the news was: bus operator shortage. I was picking up my life then, making an hourly wage, with funds really tight. And, in that situation, you’re trying to build your reputation, show you’re putting your life together, start building a career. I wondered, “Will I ever


Transit Stories: Mary Rachel Taylor

Chicago, Illinois I’m grateful to have public transportation. I grew up in a town in North Carolina in a town that only had one public bus, but it was very important for me growing up, so living in a place with transit is important to me. When I was thinking of moving to a new city, one of the factors I took into consideration was, “Does this place have a good public transit system?” This necessity was what narrowed down my options. I considered moving to Portland because I have family there and my degree is in sustainable development, but the transit system there would not meet my needs. That’s why I moved to Chicago. I believed the transportation system that exists here would work for me. I sold my car when I first moved to Chicago, before having the job that I currently do. At my previous job, I worked in the city and got around fine using transit. Then I got my current job as an Executive Director of a therapeutic equine center for families with disabilities. To get to my job, I have to commute out from the main city of Chicago and into the suburbs. Although