A different kind of ‘bus party’

Good morning, readers.

Please allow The Bus Blog to introduce a group called Cedar Rapids Bus Party and its founder, Samantha (@busparty).

Rest assured, these “bus parties” aren’t what you might imagine them to be. They have quite a different mission than providing designated drivers to the masses. Rather, Samantha organizes monthly bus parties to raise awareness of public transportation in Cedar Rapids. Click here to check out her website.

Hers is a cool concept for introducing potential new riders to public transit: Meet downtown on a Saturday morning, hop a bus, and tour a portion of the city you might not visit otherwise, all the while learning how easy it is to ride the bus, in a fun, social setting.

Samantha took this project upon herself independently, and is not employed by nor officially affiliated with Cedar Rapids Transit, though it seems safe to assume she’s someone the agency would like having in town. Definitely a transit advocate, she is.

So when Samantha visited Des Moines this weekend, your editor at The Bus Blog was happy to meet up with her, along with  Alexander Grgurich (@alexanderdsm), the chair of the Transit Riders Advisory Committee. She kicked around ideas with us, and discussed the possibility of such “bus parties” happening here in Des Moines.

It’s a discussion worth having. To get you thinking, here is her description of what bus party is:

What is a Bus Party?

A bus party is how I’m trying to raise awareness about public transportation in Cedar Rapids. The idea is to set a day and time each month for people to meet at the bus transfer station downtown and ride one of the 14 routes. And now you’re wondering why anyone would do this. Here are the top 3 reasons I think you should join us:

  • Low barrier to entry

Low barrier to entry means that you don’t have to deal with the confusion of riding the local public transit system for the first time. I have been riding the Cedar Rapids buses since 2006, and I still think the information hunt necessary to find where routes go, bus stops closest to your departure and destination sites, and stop times is ridiculous. If you haven’t seen what I’m talking about, pop over to the transit site and just find the closest stop to your house. Most people that don’t have to ride the bus stop trying at this point, but bus parties are meant to get past this hurdle. They are also meant to familiarize people with the process of getting on, paying, and making the bus stop. No big issues for sure, but these are concerns that first time riders have and excuses that prevent potential riders from starting.

  • Tour the metro area for only $1.25

Tour your town! You would pay $10-$20 to ride a bus tour in a foreign city, so why not pay $1.25 to see where you already live? I don’t have a reason to ride all of the bus routes because my daily activities don’t take me everywhere in town, but I still want to see what it’s like in different neighborhoods and scope out new places to visit. Let someone else do the driving and take the opportunity to gaze out the window. You may find a park you didn’t know about, a restaurant to try out next weekend, or a neighborhood with your dream house for sale.

  • Meet and socialize with other citizens

Meet new people or bring friends you already have. It’s a cheap way to get out and have an experience. While you can’t drink on the buses (sorry, not that kind of party), you can stay downtown after the route ride and support one of the local establishments for lunch.

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Questions or feedback? Email us at samantha@busparty.org.


Questions or comments for The Bus Blog? Send them to thebusblog@ridedart.com.