Transit Stories

Lawrence Transit System is pleased to announce the winners of its ‘Share Your Story’ writing contest for bus riders.

“We want to thank everyone who took the time to share with us how important the transit system is to their daily lives,” said Robert Nugent, transit administrator. “These stories illustrate what an important role public transportation plays in taking people to work, school, medical appointments, grocery shopping, and so much more.”

The three winners and their prizes are as follows:

  • First place winner Carrie Wallace was awarded 12 months of free bus fare.
  • Second place winner Melissa Monroe was awarded 6 months of free bus fare.
  • Third place winner Jamie Stallings was awarded 3 months of free bus fare.

My husband and I have two young children and one car. Since my husband drives that one car to work before the sun comes up, I have to figure out how the rest of us will get where we need to go. Luckily, there are two separate bus stops within 200 meters of our home, and we never have to wait more than half an hour for the next one.

I asked my seven-year-old what he likes in particular about riding the bus, and he replied, “Well, you don't have to walk. It's a bus!” Indeed. Sometimes I welcome a two-mile walk through neighborhoods as I meander to somewhere, but when I'd rather not, I don't have to walk either when I'm riding the bus. Not to put too fine a point on it, but not walking everywhere is an obvious benefit to all involved.

Another positive that is easily overlooked by my little boy would be the early positive social experiences of riding the bus, seeing the same drivers and riders regularly, and interacting with others. My one-year-old seems to derive great joy from playing smile games with people she sees on the bus, and I'd hazard to venture that it's not a total drag for anyone to be around a delighted, playful baby. No complaints yet, anyway, since she generally is delighted and playful when she rides the bus. Most children are. I swear she throws conspiratorial looks at me as she plays and looks out the window, as if to say, “This no car seat thing is awesome! I won't tell if you won't.”

My son had the same early bus riding experiences, and at his current advanced age of 7, he prefers to sit in the back of the bus by himself. He likes to look out the window and think. I like that he likes to do that, since in many circles sitting and thinking is replaced by sitting and socializing on cell phones. Anyway, I know that riding the bus has been good for him in that he gets this bit of independence. I believe that by the time he is eleven he would be able to ride alone, which I will probably write about when it happens.

Meanwhile, my daughter is still a baby, and she wants to be friends with everyone. So she does her baby thing, and then the family unit arrives wherever we're going... the Nature Center, Library, or maybe the Free State Aquatic Center. And everyone is in a pretty good mood too—not just because we didn't have to walk, but because riding the bus is usually really enjoyable.

Carrie Wallace

A little over two years ago, I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down. After a fourteen month stay in hospitals and nursing homes far from Lawrence, I finally returned. As I readjusted to life in the real world, Lawrence Transit has become a key to my independence.

I can attend school functions, shop till I drop, go out to eat, take in a show, watch a parade, or attend a festival. The bus system has helped me reintegrate into society. More importantly, both the employees and other riders have made my family and me feel welcome on the bus. We aren’t a bother or second class citizens, but part of a family. Thank you.

Melissa Monroe

Theodore Roosevelt quoted, “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” I do what I can to receive an education with the tools God has given me. I ride the Lawrence Transit buses because I have dreams of becoming a pediatric dentist. I work hard every day to get one step closer to my dream with the help of the buses here in Lawrence. The bus has taught me to be a better person overall with the skills of better time management, budgeting, and exercise opportunities.

Driving in the dangerous and icy roads of Alaska had given me the skill and knowledge of how to drive in dangerous conditions. The bus system here has given me a break from the stress and the worry of driving. Lawrence buses are easy to understand with the help of the amazing bus drivers. Whenever I feel lost or unsure of myself of how to arrive to my destination, I just ask for help. The drivers I have met are friendly and caring people. I thank them every time I ride the bus for driving me to my destinations safely and on time. Asking the bus drivers has saved me from the worries of being lost in Lawrence. It was scary moving here, especially since this is the furthest I have ever been away from home.

I was nervous of what to expect when my husband and I decided to move to Lawrence, Kansas, for my college education. I knew that the best way to save money in the long run was by applying to an affordable university like Haskell Indian Nations University. I would not put my family in debt by mountains of student loans. I decided to take advantage of any opportunity out there. After moving to Kansas, my husband and I had no transportation except through the buses and by taxi cabs. The expense of taxis for daily transportation was not the best option financially. My husband and I quickly learned how to utilize the bus system. Choosing the bus over taxis gives us more control over our budgeting.

Upon learning how to use the bus strategically for everyday use, I began gaining a new skill of time management. Time management is such an important skill to have because not being organized and anticipating the day’s adventures would create stress. Avoiding stress factors is hard; especially being a full-time student who anticipates a cumulative GPA of a 4.0. Riding the bus gives me plenty of time to study and do my homework while catching glimpses of the beautiful scenery outside the window. Besides the time management, I have more opportunities to put in some steps for a healthy dose of daily exercise.

I love riding the bus as much as I need it for daily use. If there were no buses for me to use, then I would be in financial debt, making it harder for my husband and I to make ends meet. Saving money is so important because we use the extra money we save towards better things like bills and for school expenses. Winning this contest will help give us more money to put towards groceries and dental school. I hope you see me best fit for this free bus fare.

Jamie Stallings

Before the bus system, I had to select a doctor, shopping area or dentist by a location near me. Now I can go anywhere in the city.

Phil Minkin

My children and I have been riding these buses for years. The drivers have gone out of their way for me concerning safety problems when others were putting myself and children in harm’s way. They have gone out of their way to make my children feel happy and safe when they were upset. They have gone out of their way to keep us warm when it was cold outside. They have been very polite and courteous to us for many, many years. We have made several life-long friends because of these people!!! I want to thank you for getting us home, to work and school, and also to our errands safe and sound every day!!! Without you guys we wouldn't be able to do any of these things!! We are very, very grateful for the Lawrence Transit!!

Renee Clark

Since I was a baby, my dad took me everywhere on the bus. Since his vision prevents him from driving, all of my child care, schooling, work, and social meet ups could not happen without the transit system, and I will forever appreciate it. I would not be where I am today if the transit system was not available to me.

Jay Duringer

I use the transit to get back and forth to work every day, and the drivers are awesome and always on schedule. Without this service, I would have to take a cab to work, which would be costly. I would recommend anyone for your services.

Mary Evans

I moved to Lawrence the bus had not started yet, but soon after, the service began. I had been riding the bus in Topeka and was very grateful to have that way to be able to get around. I started out riding it because, due to some bad actions, I had lost my driver’s license, and it was a necessity if I wanted to get around. I started out on the fixed routes, but as my physical problems grew, was very glad to find they had the para service for me.

I no longer had to feel like such a burden to my friends, and it gave me a freedom to get around on my own. It gives me a freedom have a way to go places without having to burden my friends.

At First Step House when it was up on 3rd and Florida, I assisted the girls in how to read the bus schedules. It was at work those new bus riders who did not know always how to read the schedules found their way to me and I helped them also. I felt like I was the bus lady and could help others that way. I loved to be of service.

I now ride the para bus and use it for going to work Monday through Friday and also shopping and other things like the doctors, etc. The drivers are the best and very helpful and so are the folks in the office.

It has taught me patience. Though some days I am not so good at it, I am much better. I am very grateful for the bus service and it helping me have the freedom I would not have otherwise.

Lois Guild

Theodore Roosevelt quoted, “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” I do what I can to receive an education with the tools God has given me. I ride the Lawrence Transit busses because I have dreams of becoming a Pediatric Dentist. I work hard every day to get one step closer to my dream with the help of the busses here in Lawrence. The bus has taught me to be a better person overall with the skills of better time management, budgeting, and exercise opportunities.

Driving in the dangerous and icy roads of Alaska had given me the skill and knowledge of how to drive in dangerous conditions. The bus system here has given me a break from the stress and the worry of driving. Lawrence busses are easy to understand with the help of the amazing bus drivers. Whenever I feel lost or unsure of myself of how to arrive to my destination, I just ask for help. The drivers I have met are friendly and caring people. I thank them every time I ride the bus for driving me to my destinations safely and on time. Asking the bus drivers has saved me from the worries of being lost in Lawrence. It was scary moving here, especially since this is the furthest I have ever been away from home.

I was nervous of what to expect when my husband and I decided to move to Lawrence, Kansas for my college education. Knowing the best way to save money in the long run was by applying to an affordable university like Haskell Indian Nations University. I would not put my family in debt by mountains of student loans. I decided to take advantage of any opportunity out there. After moving to Kansas, my husband and I had no transportation except through the busses and by taxi cabs. The expense of taxis for daily transportation was not the best option financially. My husband and I quickly learned how to utilize the bus system. Choosing the bus over taxis gives us more control over our budgeting.

Upon learning how to use the bus strategically for everyday use, I began gaining a new skill of time management. Time management is such an important skill to have because not being organized and anticipating the day’s adventures would create stress. Avoiding stress factors is hard; especially being a full time student who anticipates a cumulative GPA of a 4.0. Riding the bus gives me plenty of time to study and do my homework while catching glimpses of the beautiful scenery outside the window. Besides the time management, I have more opportunities to put in some steps for a healthy dose of daily exercise.

I love riding the bus as much as I need it for daily use. If there were no busses for me to use, then I would be in financial debt, making it harder for my husband and I to make ends meet. Saving money is so important because we use the extra money we save towards better things like bills and for school expenses. Winning this contest will help give us more money to put towards groceries and dental school. I hope you see me best fit for this free bus fare.

Jamie Stallings

I was always extremely anxious to ride the buses in Lawrence and managed to avoid doing it for about 3 years. I always imagined it would be gross from my experience with buses from places like Seattle and Raleigh. One day I needed to make it to my doctor's appointment, and I relied on the Lawrence Transit system for the first time, and I was amazed. I was anxious for no reason whatsoever! These buses are way more comfortable and clean as well as the employees are so friendly and take the time to help you if you're unsure about where to go! A few months ago, I was injured in a car accident that left my vehicle totaled. Not only was I anxious about driving afterwards, but I also had no means of transportation. The Lawrence Transit System was there, and I really appreciate it. I ride the bus every day to and from work, and I even use the Night Line every night and honestly I have never had any issues with either. I'm very grateful that I have transportation to doctor's appointments, work and just overall activities and errands. Especially if you're trying to get back on your feet, it can really be a relief. I even have encouraged my brother to ride the bus if he needed to, and when he rode it the first time he was just as anxious as me! He actually had no idea where he was going and the bus driver was kind enough to help him figure out his routes and when he finally got home he was ecstatic that it was easier than expected! Anyways thank you guys for everything you do, because you help so many people out and I love that you have reduced fare for Medicare beneficiaries and students, it really brightens my day that you care!

Danny Richardson

Thanks to Lawrence Transit, I'm able to have a sense of freedom and venture out into the community, as well as meet and connect with the community. When I first moved to Lawrence 5 years ago, riding the bus seemed confusing and a bit overwhelming, not quite sure where I would end up. I remember the driver was so very kind and patient in answering my questions and helping me to understand the transit guide and now I share my knowledge with new people riding the bus in helping them to get where they need to go. Lawrence Transit is truly a blessing because without them I wouldn't be able to be a part of the community!

Timothy Vrazel

I like riding the bus. It takes me from point A to point B safely. And it saves my time and money. That's why I enjoy riding the bus.

Yasser Madbouly

Tonight was my first time using the Lawrence Transit system. I was very impressed with the driver. I plan on using it to get to work and using the bus to get home.

Sarah Voll

I don't have a car. And I have to go to different places for different things. But I sometimes have to walk or I usually ride the bus. So I was hoping that I would win. Thanks for listening.

Mya Clark

The T-Lift

The T-Lift is a big bus that is white, like a plane carrying people in their flight.

There are different types of disabled people, who are independent and strong like a steeple.

My story is like all the others except a little different, I ride the bus because of all of my predicaments.

Not able to walk a great distance, or to carry things that are heavy in existence.

My disabilities are too great to mention, so two of my disabilities have previously been mention.

The T-Lift drivers are very well diverse, so riders feel comfortable to converse.

Drivers are well trained in case of emergency, they are polite, courteous, kind and self-sufficiency.

So I would suggest to take the T-Lift, which gives all disabled people a spirit of uplift.

Sharon Lee Green

I’m a student at C-Tran and I ride the 7 downtown to walk around and hang out with my friend. It’s fun to ride the bus. I’m learning to ride the bus while in school so that I will be able to use it when I get a job and need to shop. I am learning to transfer.

Shyanne Garcia

It is good to have the buses I together to work everyday life

Drew White

I get excited to ride the bus with my mom and dad. The bus drivers are so nice to me and make me laugh. There are so many things to see from the bus and different people to meet. I love the bus!

Dixie-Ann Knight

I use the transit system to take my daughter to her appointments and then to mine. It helps out a lot. I love that it gets me to my destination early so I have enough time do to what I need to do before the appointment. It is a really great way to get around Lawrence. I also love that they have a transit guide so you know which buses to take before you leave your house. I love the Lawrence Transit buses. They are a life saver in my life when you don’t have a car.

Felicia Hobbs
I started to take the bus in the beginning of freshman year at Free State High School. As a child growing up in Lawrence, for some reason I was fascinated by the buses. I never got to go on the transit buses. It felt as if the buses held some kind of mystery. Different day, Different people coming on the bus, different routes. I always wondered what it would be like riding the bus as a little girl, and I wasn't wrong. The buses are interesting. I love seeing new people and old people on the bus. I'm thankful that Lawrence cares about the citizens and that the citizens treat the buses with respect. Don't ever change Lawrence.Zakari Howard

As a para-educator for Community Transitions, I have both helped to teach our students about using the Lawrence Transit system as well as learning how to use it myself! It is an invaluable service to our students who have special needs. I especially appreciate the accommodations provided for people who use wheelchairs. We regularly ride the buses for weekly shopping and other activities. Using the Lawrence Transit system has helped students in our program to attain their educational goals. Thanks to everyone who makes the Lawrence Transit system happen every day!

Seth Swartzendruber

I really love to ride the bus because it is closer to my job!

Earlene Thomas

Service is excellent - cheerful, helpful - Lawrence good attitude

John Jervis Jr.:

I have been riding the para-transit bus for little over a year now and I am very impressed with this company on how the training of all their drivers and dispatchers mean so much. First of all, the drivers always get out of their vehicle to make sure the the rider gets to and on the bus safely. By the way when getting to their destination, the driver exits the vehicle and makes sure the passenger gets inside the building safely as well. As for me and all wheelchair passengers, the driver also helps to load passengers up on to the bus then ties the wheelchair into place with a four point safety tie down to be sure your wheelchair is secured. Then the driver also makes sure you as the passenger have a safety harness on. I am also very impressed on how the drivers and the dispatchers communicate. (examples) Whenever a driver needs to back the vehicle, they advise the dispatcher of doing so and when the move has been completed they acknowledge each other of the movement. There is no doubt in my mind that this company has SAFETY as their number(1) priority. I do believe that passengers can deal with the bus being early or late rather than being caught up in an accident and getting hurt because the drivers didn't have their safety in mind. So if you are looking for a job and you love to transport the most precious cargo on a para-van, then I must tell you these are very special people that need very special drivers as well as the very special dispatchers to do a very special job! SAFETY and SPECIAL CARE of these passengers has got to be the life time experience you could ever endure. Believe me, if I were not retired and in a wheelchair after 2 spine surgeries in three weeks, I would love to be working for the LAWRENCE/KU TRANSIT CO. You guys are the best and deserve the credit of transporting the most precious cargo in the nation. Keep up the "GREAT" work and may all of you with the Lawrence Transit system have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a "HEALTHY HAPPY NEW YEAR"!!

Robert Anderson

I use the transit system because I do not have a car. What it means to me is that I can go across the city without walking all that way. Before the transit system started, I have done just that. It would take 2-3 hours just to get to Walmart and I would have to stop at places for water, Then 2-3 hours to walk back. I was sore by the time I got home. Plus I was sunburned for being outside for so long. I would also waste part of the day walking when I could be doing other things. Now I do not have to walk all that way! It means the world to me!

Christina McDermott

A little over two years ago I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down. After a fourteen month stay in hospitals and nursing homes far from Lawrence, I finally returned. As I readjusted to life in the real world, Lawrence Transit has become a key to my independence. I can attend school functions, shop till I drop, go out to eat, take in a show, watch a parade, or attend a festival. The bus system has helped me reintegrate into society. More importantly, both the employees and other riders have made my family and me feel welcome on the bus. We aren’t a bother or second class citizens, but part of a family. Thank you.

26. Melissa Monroe

As I mentioned above, I have been riding the bus for over 13 years now. I take almost all the routes for all my family routines. All the bus drivers are wonderful, and if you ask them, they try their best to get you to your destinations. For me, the best of all is the opportunity of meeting wonderful people that I wouldn't have met if I was not taking the bus. Lastly, I am very thankful for the buses running in Lawrence.

Juliana Birdling

At first i was a bit skeptical about riding the bus, "It will be confusing," and "I’ll end up getting lost," I told myself, but in the end it was the easiest thing. The drivers are always nice, and all of the buses are convenient and on time. I work in fast food on the overnight shift, so being able to call and set up a ride to pick me up at home and take me directly to work is nice. I don’t make nearly enough money to afford a car, but three dollars a day to get to work and home is a small, but agreeable price to pay.

Vernon Little

In 2011, I learned how to ride the bus from a community transition program called C-Tran. I use the bus to get to work and back home three times a week and to also go shopping sometimes. I love the bus system because it helps me be more independent. My mom loves when I know how to use the bus because it lets me learn the city transit.

Kelsey Leonard

I have a disability. I like how they help and they get me there.

Dale Mantz

I ride the bus to save money. I have a disability. It helps me to get around town because I now use a walker.

Lori Fitzpatrick

I love using the T Lift when I go to work every day and I love how they are always on time.

Annelise Lawrence

When my car broke down, I was devastated. I loved my independence of being able to go where i wanted. Little did I know I could still do that riding the bus. The schedule is flexible, and there are many stops so I don't have to walk very far to get where I'm going. But best of all is the money I'm saving. I don't have to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance and upkeep. I ride it four days a week, getting not only myself to work but my grandson I am raising to school as well. I also love the diversity the transit system supplies. As my health is slowly deteriorating and my usual drivers see how hard it is for me to get on and off the regular bus, they have told me about the T Lift, so I will be visiting my doctor soon and may be able to keep the cheaper independence I have found.

Anne Kennedy

My husband and I have two young children and one car. Since my husband drives that one car to work before the sun comes up, I have to figure out how the rest of us will get where we need to go. Luckily, there are two separate bus stops within 200 meters of our home, and we never have to wait more than half an hour for the next one.

I asked my seven-year-old what he likes in particular about riding the bus, and he replied, "Well, you don't have to walk. It's a bus!" Indeed. Sometimes I welcome a two mile walk through neighborhoods as I meander to somewhere, but when I'd rather not, I don't have to walk either when I'm riding the bus. Not to put too fine a point on it, but not walking everywhere is an obvious benefit to all involved.

Another positive that is easily overlooked by my little boy would be the early positive social experiences of riding the bus, seeing the same drivers and riders regularly, and interacting with others. My one-year-old seems to derive great joy from playing smile games with people she sees on the bus, and I'd hazard to venture that it's not a total drag for anyone to be around a delighted, playful baby. No complaints yet, anyway, since she generally is delighted and playful when she rides the bus. Most children are. I swear she throws conspiratorial looks at me as she plays and looks out the window, as if to say, "This no car seat thing is awesome! I won't tell if you won't."

My son had the same early bus riding experiences, and at his current advanced age of 7, he prefers to sit in the back of the bus by himself. He likes to look out the window and think. I like that he likes to do that, since in many circles sitting and thinking is replaced by sitting and socializing on cell phones. Anyway, I know that riding the bus has been good for him in that he gets this bit of independence. I believe that by the time he is eleven he would be able to ride alone, which I will probably write about when it happens. For now though, he is still a little boy. On occasion, someone who makes him uncomfortable for some reason might sit a little bit too near him, too near for his taste and mine. So my son will get up and sit with me. Simple problem, simple solution. Don't quote me on this part, but I am thrilled that riding the bus has given him sorting skills (people sorting skills) in this way. And it is riding the bus that does it, because all sorts of people ride the bus. We are united by our collective desire to not walk everywhere, but in many cases, that's the main thing my son might have in common with someone else on the bus. I guess I'm trying to say, the bus teaches him (and maybe everyone) not to be oblivious, to really see others, and to know when he feels safe talking to a stranger. Or, conversely, how to emit sophisticated social cues of aloofness. He's only seven - not a teenager yet, but I can sure see those days coming. And it'll be fine, I think.

Meanwhile, my daughter is still a baby, and she wants to be friends with everyone. So she does her baby thing, and then the family unit arrives wherever we're going...the Nature Center, Library, or maybe the Free State Aquatic Center. And everyone is in a pretty good mood too - not just because we didn't have to walk, but because riding the bus is usually really enjoyable.

Carrie Wallace

I have been riding the bus for a long time. It helps me to get to work and the store to take care of my family. Appreciate the drivers and the staff for all they do. Thank you. Hope every one of your employees has a safe and wonderful holiday.

Ricky Linkous

I have lived in Lawrence since 1977. I am a townie. I digress. It bothers me when people say things, such as, 'I am self-made.' I have made it thus far with the help of my family, the people of Lawrence, and the bus company. The T Lift was made privy to me via my counselor at Bert Nash. I have PTSD. I was scared at first to use the regular bus routes. I have now graduated DBT therapy, and even have a job. The bus allows me to get to and from work. I schedule a T Lift ride to work, and a Night Line ride home. I have always found the drivers to be dependable, helpful and safe. The bus, to me, means independence. If I can do it, anyone can. With a little help, of course!!! Thank you for letting me share. And thank you for helping me.

Felicia Hernandez

During this summer, I babysat a 3 year old boy. We used the T to go around town and do fun things. If it wasn't for the bus, we would have not been able to go anywhere. I have so many great memories with him, even if we missed the bus a couple of times. I know for sure that the bus was the favorite part of my summer!

Taylor Hamby

Spring break of 2016, we decided to take an adventure and travel from 6th and Kasold to Union Station using just the bus. My mother and I had to get up early to meet our first bus. We took the 6 to the 1 to connect with the JO/K10 Connector. At Johnson County Community College, we boarded the 575 and then switched to the 856, which took us down to the Plaza. We used the Waldo Max to get from the Plaza to Crown Center and Union Station. Because of the day pass in the metro area, the round trip cost $12 per person. On the way back, the K10 Connector took us onto the KU campus and we met up with the 10, which took us downtown to the 6 which brought us back home. It was a long day, but it's something that we will definitely do again someday.

Danielle Pool