Last Friday at noon, Mobility Manager Catherine Wilde waited with Cortland resident Cynthia Schreffler to flag down the Route 3 bus along Homer Avenue.
Wilde was acting as a bus buddy, a service offered from time to time by the Mobility Manager. And Schreffler, who walks with the assistance of a walker, was traveling to Walmart, which involved transferring from Route 3 to Route 4 at the County Office Building. She's a frequent public transit traveler but was getting a review of the rules of First Transit, which operates locally as Cortland Transit.
Most importantly, for the safety of all passengers, anyone traveling with a walker must store the device safely between themselves and the seat in front of them or else lock and hold onto them securely, according to First Transit.
Passengers are also instructed to only take as many bags as they can hold on their lap (usually two) so they are not taking up an extra seat. And they should either wear a seat belt or have the arm-rest down so they can't fall out of the seat, says the bus company.
Passengers boarding the bus with a walker or a wheelchair must wait for the bus driver to operate the lift, which on Friday was having some difficulty engaging properly when it lowered to the pavement. Snow was getting in the way and finally the driver had to move the bus to a less snowy area to board Schreffler.
Riding a bus for the first time can be daunting; people may not know the rules or may not be sure of the transfers involved or how much it costs. That's why the Mobility Management program through Seven Valleys Health Coalition offers the assistance of a bus buddy. The buddy will walk people through the experience, helping them navigate the trip and ensuring an enjoyable experience.
If you have questions about the local bus service or need a bus buddy call 607-756-4198.