Assignment Spotlight: Kara Sjostrom

Public Transportation Challenge Reflection

On Friday afternoon, I visited Sazza Pizza with Lindsey. The trip was relatively quick, taking only about an hour and a half in total. Before leaving, we used the google maps website to plan our trip. The website instructed us to walk down Iliff Avenue to the bus stop on South University Boulevard. From there, it instructed us to take bus number 24 to the stop at South University Boulevard and Orchard Road. From the bus stop, it estimated about a four-minute walk to Sazza Pizza. These directions seemed pretty straightforward and I expected our trip to include no difficulties. However, this was not the case. Although our trip was successful overall, there were a few hitches along the way.

Lindsey and I left Johnson-McFarlane Hall about ten minutes before the bus was expected to arrive at the bus station. Upon reaching South University Boulevard, we crossed the street and walked to the bus station that was in our sight. The sign had “Bus 24” written on it, so we expected it to be the correct stop. Nonetheless, being fairly unexperienced with public transportation, we were not entirely confident that we were in the right place. So, Lindsey pulled up the google maps application to check. It turned out that we were in fact at the wrong stop. Luckily, the stop we were supposed to be at was only across the street and down a short way. We were able to reach the stop before the expected arrival time and had a bit of waiting time as the bus arrived about five minutes late.

It was very easy to board the bus. Upon boarding, I placed my RTD pass against the scanner which covered the fee. The bus was close to empty when we boarded. There were a few people that appeared to be students as well, and a few other people dressed in semi professional outfits. I would assume that the students had student RTD passes, and the adults had monthly RTD passes or maybe just paid the fair. I am greatly appreciative of the student RTD pass. A one-way bus ride in Denver costs $2.25. To take this trip without the RTD pass would have cost both Lindsey and I $5.00 each, amounting in a total of $10.00. When we calculated how much in gas money the trip would have cost us if we drove together, we found that the round trip would have cost a little over $1.00. While taking public transit without an RTD pass to get to Sazza Pizza is far more expensive than driving, I am sure that for longer commutes the pay off for taking public transit is greater. Because of this large fee to get to close destinations, my student RTD pass is very valuable to me.

After riding the bus for 20 minutes, we reached our stop. Upon approaching our stop, the stop was announced. However, Lindsey and I were in the middle of a conversation and did not hear the stop be announced. But, we realized that our stop was approaching with enough time to pull the chord. Once dropped off at our stop we used the google maps app to get walking directions to Sazza Pizza. The directions brought us to the general area of the restaurant, and we were able to find it without too much effort.

We stayed at the restaurant for a half an hour and enjoyed a cheese pizza. I found the pizza to be a bit expensive, but very delicious. It was very similar to the pizza served at a restaurant in my hometown called Punch Pizza. By doing a bit of snooping around on Sazza’s website I discovered that they are an environmentally-friendly company. Their pizza’s are made with all-natural, organic ingredients that are bought from sustainable and local growers and suppliers. All of their to-go containers and utensils are compostable. Their furniture and cups are made of recycled materials. Their silverware and employee shirts were donated for reuse by customers. Overall, they are a restaurant with some pretty cool sustainable actions going on.

While at the restaurant, I also downloaded the google maps application. To get to Sazza we had used the google maps application on Lindsey’s phone. On my phone, I had the apple version of maps. But, the apple version of maps does not provide public transportation directions, so it was not useful in directing us to Sazza. Using my newly downloaded google maps application, I was then able to look up which bus would be taking us home and what time it would arrive. We found that we had about 20 minutes to kill before bus 24 would arrive at the bus station.

There were a lot of different shops and restaurants in this area. Some of the locations of interest around Sazza included Trader Joe’s, T.J. Maxx & Home Goods, Petsmart, Pancake House. Lindsey and I chose to spend our 20 minutes at Petsmart. We were expecting to pet hamsters and other small rodents, but this Petsmart only had fish. This was a little disappointing. Despite that fact, we still had fun. After a bit, we made our way to the bus station using directions from the google maps application. The bus stop was just outside Petsmart, yet it took us about five minutes of wandering to find it. The directions from google maps were not very clear and we had trouble understanding them. But, as before, we made it to the stop with time to spare.

We boarded bus 24 at the expected time of arrival and it was an uneventful ride home. There were about the same amount and types of people as we experienced on the ride there. I think that most people that take public transit do so by choice. Traffic can be crazy and I think public transportation is more convenient. Also, taking public transportation is much better for our environment, as it emits much less carbon dioxide than cars. The ride lasted about 20 minutes and we got off at South University Boulevard & Iliff Avenue. We then walked back to Johnson-McFarlane Hall. It was easier to get home than to get to Sazza Pizza because we knew exactly where we were going to on the way home. We were familiar with the area around campus, but were not familiar with the area around Sazza Pizza.

Overall, I found the trip to be enjoyable and informative. I learned the benefit of the google maps application, became a bit more experienced in taking public transit, learned about a sustainable business, ate good pizza, and became familiarized with a new part of town. Taking public transportation can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but with experience I think I could be able to rely on it as my main source of transportation. The RTD system in Denver is very impressive, and I hope to utilize it a great amount while I am here.

Written by Kara Sjostrom, ESLLC 2015-2016

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