Adventures in Public Transit when Traveling


“Bouldering” by bus

Similarly free of safety devices as the bouldering crowd, some adventurous souls choose to use the local public transportation systems (buses or trains not cabs/Uber/Lyft) when traveling.  It *is* an adventure to see the parts of the area the locals frequent on the schedule offered by transit (and returning!).  It is a logistical adventure to plan lodging and sightseeing when depending on the bus. Logistics also means having the appropriate payment (or finding out if any pass/es will work for the party).

Lodging: accessible by local bus?

One of the challenges the public transportation advocate encounters when planning her/his trip is ascertaining if the local inn/B&B/motel is accessible.  While MapQuest/Google Maps/Bing Maps help with online mapping, what is often less than clear is which route/s serve one’s “room”.  I.e., certainly Trivago is easy to use when finding *low cost* lodgings but less helpful when finding *public transportation accessible* ones.  Generally, neither the Trivago summary page nor even the property’s website will feature *ANY* local public transportation information (stop, route or frequency of service).  Information on the number of parking spaces is more often highlighted than transit is included.

Biloxi/Gulfport, MS

Having an event that took me to Biloxi, Mississippi, I looked into public transit there.  Coast Transit Authority, (the non-profit provider of public transportation) serves the three coastal counties of Mississippi (Hancock, Harrison and Jackson).  Since the conference locale did not wish to extend the block rate prior to the event, the adventure into finding a room for the interim (between arrival and conference) began.  Using the criteria of low priced *AND* transit accessible made the search longer and more tedious, as the route map from CTA was used in a separate window from the lodging search/detail to confirm the match.  While there, a combination of three-day pass (for the non-senior passenger), individual fare and senior fares made for an interesting and adventure-filled (will we have transit back?) visit.  FYI: CTA still uses a zone-based system where crossing a zone triggers another fare; e.g., Gulfport to Biloxi is a two-zone trip.

Ramona Winkelbauer is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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