An Open Letter to the Winston-Salem Transit Authority

I am not a regular transit commuter, but I am an occasional user of WSTA buses, albeit an admittedly infrequent one. One of those occasions was Friday, April 2, which is apparently a holiday for city and state employees, but not for many other people.

On that Friday morning, I needed to drop off my car for service and did so assuming that I could take the bus home. I made this assumption because there was no indication whatsoever on WSTA’s website or phone system that the buses would not be running. Who knows how long I might have been standing at the bus stop had someone not yelled out his car window to let me know about the mistake I was making.

I understand that regular riders are probably very familiar with the holiday schedule. I know that transit budgets are stretched pretty thin. But how much effort does it really take to add a note to your website and a message on your phone system to let people know that there will be no service on a specific day? There’s not even a general holiday schedule posted on the website as far as I can see. Frankly, that would seem like pretty basic element to me.

It’s occasional riders like me that WSTA presumably wants to attract. We’re also a powerful swing vote who generally support transit when bond issues are proposed. With customer service lapses like this, though, it’s little wonder that people who have a choice generally choose not to take the bus.

All the same, the experience provided me with the chance to take a (very hilly) 4 km hike home on a busy four-lane road with no sidewalks. It might have been a nice change of pace if I’d planned to do it. Or had time.

The Next Chapter

So tomorrow is my husband’s last day at work. Unlike so many these days, he hasn’t been canned. He’s voluntarily giving up his job so that we can actually start living together again.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, Mark has been commuting cross-country to San Francisco for a good part of the past four and a half years, since a few months after we moved back east. It was roughly ten to fourteen days a month in the early years, but in the past two years, he’s only been home about six to eight days a month, and that time has been split between here and Pittsburgh. So essentially, we’re kind of starting over again as a cohabiting couple.

I’m very excited. I’m also a little nervous, because this means it’s my turn to be the primary breadwinner for a while. And because I frankly have no idea where we might be living in six months; that part depends on which (if either) of two jobs I’m currently in the running for becomes “the one”. The leading contender is local, and is in fact in the same place (and in more or less the same position) I’m currently at right now. But it’s not a certainty by any means. We could end up living in Pittsburgh and working at McDonald’s for all I know. Either way, I’ll keep you posted.

Whatever happens next, I’m sure it will be something of an adventure. And once I’m past the current uncertainty, and once we’ve spent some quality time getting to know each other again and having road trips and spending Sunday afternoons playing with our databases, I’ll try to be a bit more forthcoming with the exciting accounts thereof.