Hehehehehehe. A little joke for folks reading Braille. GRT is great. Yes, yes it is. It’s the contraction for great, but Grand River Transit, which is GRT, is also great…at least so far. Here’s why.
When I was preparing to move, I was trying to be all efficient and things. Learn about things in advance, you know, so my move could be suuuper smooth. Yeah…about that, best laid plans and all. So I called up Grand River Transit. I think I must have given that woman the laugh of the day. Here’s what I said.
“Tell me about the bus system. What are the routes and such. Is there a booklet on buses for beginners?”
Heheheheheheheheheh. There was a pause. A big pause. And then she said “Where…where do you want to go?” I didn’t know, said I was moving to the city, am trying to figure it out. I was annoyed. Why wouldn’t they help me figure this out? Well, now I understand.
I dare ya to do something. Go to the EasyGo trip planner and trigger the route number dropdown. Then let it blow your mind how many routes there are in this friggin town. And they all don’t pull in at the same time. And they have *lines* of routes. And…and…and…yug!
After bugging the hell out of everyone I could, the general consensus was “You won’t learn the whole system. Just get a handle on the ones you use all the time, and only use the rest if you need them on a case by case basis.” Ok, ok. Will do. I give, I cave.
The bus drivers have been super nice. Every single one I’ve met has been cool. They never make me feel like I’m bothering them. I think one thought I was nuts. I asked him if he stopped at a certain stop and he said yes. Then we were getting close to it and I started frantically searching for the bell pulling thing and saying “I can’t pull my bell but that’s my stop!” He just said “Don’t worry…I was going to let you know anyway.” Poor guy, he doesn’t know from what transit system I have come.
Plus, the staff I’ve called have been super. I have so far dealt with 3 separate ticket agents up at the booth, and they have all been way cool. I asked for an accessible way to get at schedules, and the staff I talked to sent me a metric boatload of information. When she couldn’t give me the rest of the info I asked for, she called back and apologized profusely. She also gave me some tips and tricks to get at other information, like EasyGo codes for the bus stops.
Yeah…I guess I should explain what that is. So they have this number you can text, and every bus stop has a code. You wack that code at that number and it tells you the next 3 buses expected at that stop and when. How…cool…is…that? My mind, it just exploded.
Something that also makes me do the happy dance: automatic stop calling! That alone eased bunches of my fears on those first few days I took the bus because I honestly didn’t know how long a route should take to somewhere. It was kinda cool to sit back and hear streets read off. It’s so nice to be able to pull my own bell.
In this town, I also have access to Paratransit if I need it. Pretty awesome. I probably won’t use it a crap ton, but it’s nice to know the option is there. I am using it this Wednesday to get somewhere…we’ll see how that goes. I also can buy taxi scrip, which is also uber helpful. So for each book of tickets you pay $20 but you get $40 in cab fare. The tickets come in 5’s, 2’s and 1’s and they even made 5 holes in the 5’s, 2 holes in the 2’s and 1 hole in the 1’s…so I know what I’m giving a cabby!
Another bit of awesome that this transit system has is you can even call for route planning assistance on Saturday! Seriously! Today, if I work up the nerve, I’m going to call and find out how to get to a certain destination to pick up some Christmas gift goodness. And I’m going to call today. And they’re open in the evening! Woe man! I don’t have to squeeze it between 8:30 and 4:30.
I’ve also noticed how many more businesses are aware of what bus services their area, unlike what happens in Guelph. Most times I can ask the business and they’ll tell me which bus to take and how far it will drop me from their location. This indicates to me that more people actually use GRT, which is a good sign.
The one thing that’s overwhelming right now is good God that bus terminal is friggin complicated. Stairs are everywhere. Open spaces everywhere. So easy to get lost. Eventually I’ll look back at this post and laugh, but for now, good crap the terminal tries to eat me, especially in the mornings on my way to work.
Sheesh! I think I’ve actually gotten through everything I set out to write in 1 post. It took me 4 of ’em, but there it is. Oh, and stay tuned for the Metro Movers Mowdown. It’s comin’, believe me.