Adopting new practices—like riding the bus to work instead of driving—can mean replacing familiar habits with less familiar ones. And because trying new things can feel stressful, having friends show you the way can help.
That is exactly how the League of Women Voters of Dane County’s Climate Action Subcommittee celebrated Earth Day last week. The group hosted a Ride with the Pros: April Bus Ride with Madison Metro event, where participants learned about fare options, how to plan bus rides using familiar phone apps like Google Maps, and how to load and unload a bicycle from a Madison Metro bus.
Participants included experienced bus riders who wanted to learn how to take their bikes along as well as individuals who had not used Metro Transit before.
Riders boarded the bus at the West Transfer Point and rode to a coffee shop where they talked with City of Madison and Greater Madison MPO staff about Madison’s bus system. Then everyone then rode the bus (or biked) home again, feeling more confident about using the Metro system.
I personally ride the bus to work all the time but I have never loaded a bike on to a Madison Metro bus. The event gave me confidence that this is an option for me—which will make it more likely for me to bike to the office this year.
For City of Madison and MPO staff, the event was an opportunity to speak with engaged citizens about transit policy. Participants had great questions and staff provided thoughtful answers.
The League’s event was the latest in a series of efforts to augment League and interested community members’ awareness about climate change issues and the role of infrastructure, and to inspire personal action. The League of Women Voters of Dane County has been organizing discussions and action around climate issues for years. Following their online forum in November 2021, the League’s Climate Subcommittee organized a Transportation Options Challenge, encouraging community members to replace driving alone with walking, biking and public transit. The group also maintains a blog on climate issues.
Each of us faces various small barriers to climate action. Think about steps you can take to address your own barriers, as well as what you can do to help others overcome theirs. If you are a regular bus rider, invite a friend to join you on a bus ride to help familiarize them with the system. And if you have a group that wants to learn more about the Madison Metro system, start here for resources and information:
• How to Ride – tips and tools, including trip planning resources and a YouTube video showing how to load your bike
• MetroForward – learn more about the City’s four-tier approach to creating a high-quality regional transit system
Last, if you would like your workplace, residence, or a business you frequent to help make bus riding easier, you can encourage them to display a Live Bus Departure Information Screen for the nearest stops with this easy, free tool available from Metro. The Dane County League of Women Voters is hosting a second Ride with the Pros event in May, this time focusing on BCycle. So if you want to learn how to use the BCycle network, learn more and sign up to participate in the event here.
Kathy is the Director of the Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. In that role she's leading efforts to implement the Climate Action Plan. Prior to coming to Dane County, Kathy led Cool Choices and, prior to that, she led Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program.
The Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change maintains this blog as a way to offer:
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