Alexandra Mikowski, a regional mobile crisis program director at Liberty Resources, is used to getting in her car and going places for work. But when she volunteered at the Innovative Readiness Training program at Homer Intermediate School last week, Mikowski decided to take the Cortland Transit bus for one of her shifts.
Because of her family having a car in the shop last week, Mikowski took the Route 3 bus for her afternoon shift on Monday, July 15 and she says she learned a lot from the experience.
"It was great to kind of relax while on the bus," said Mikowski. "I was able to get some work done and respond to some emails, which you can't do while driving."
She also learned more about the bus routes and gained an appreciation for what many people go through every day. She missed the 11 a.m. bus because she'd forgotten to get exact change- the $1.50 needed to take Routes 1-4 in the city of Cortland.
But she hopped on the next one and although she was ten minutes late for her shift, it didn't really matter because the first half-hour was orientation anyway.
However, Mikowski realizes this is not the case for everyone.
"I do recognize that if I was going to an appointment, being ten minutes late might be a significant problem, the doctor may not want to see you," she said.
On the way home, Mikowski took the Route 3 bus, which pulled right up to the front door of the school, to the county office building. Then she transferred to the Route 1 bus and took that to a few blocks within her house, walking the rest.
The experience made her think more about the transportation challenges many people face, especially first-mile/ last-mile hurdles for the mobility impaired. While the Lime Bikes in town could be helpful to some, as Mikowski considered them- they wouldn't be accessible to all.
Mikowski urges everyone to try taking the bus, even if they don't have to.
"I would encourage people to take it even if they don't need to use the bus, to know what it's like to use it," she said.
"Then it gives you a little more understanding if someone is supposed to come to an appointment with you or for lunch, to know what the bus schedule is like so then you can plan something that actually works for someone."