Before riding transit for the first time, sometimes steps must be taken. Often the first one is to use a mapping tool to see whether there’s a route with a schedule that gets you where you need to go.
Taking that first step now can win you prizes, too.
In honor of Try Transit Week Sept. 23-27, the first 100 people who use the trip planner at gotriangle.org to map their most frequent drive and then send a screenshot of the map to firstname.lastname@example.org will win a prize. Everyone who participates will be entered to win one of 12 pairs of tickets to the NC State Fair, which runs Oct. 17-27 this year.
If even the thought of trying to map a trip seems daunting, though, GoTriangle’s got you covered. One of the many services the Transportation Demand Management program offers is individualized assistance.
Meredith DeAngelo’s official title is sustainable travel services associate, but she will tell you her job description is hand-holder. It’s a job she’s happy to do.
“I’ve liked getting to know our transit system and our services really well,” says DeAngelo, who has been in the job about seven months. “I have found myself starting to get really nerdy about transportation. It’s so much easier than you think it is. I had always been intimidated by public transit in the past. So if I can help people make it work for them, I’m happy.”
To get DeAngelo’s help getting started with a smarter commute, potential transit riders can fill out a form at gotriangle.org/trytransit. DeAngelo will research all available options – including carpools, vanpools and even bicycling routes, if you ask – and let you know what she finds, no matter which transit agency in the Triangle would provide the service.
One challenge for commuters in the interconnected and interdependent Triangle is that the number of transit agencies and the variety of services they provide can be confusing, says Paul Straw, GoTriangle’s sustainable travel services supervisor. GoTriangle is the regional transit provider, with routes that cross municipal and county lines. GoDurham, GoRaleigh and GoCary also operate transit service, as do Chapel Hill Transit and Orange County Public Transportation, both of which provide service free.
“So we’re glad we can give people that one contact here, that one person who’s going to take care of you and help you through the process, no matter which agency’s routes might work,” Straw says. “We can provide literal step by step instructions and make sure we include all of our services in that.”
Because voters in Wake, Durham and Orange counties all have approved half-cent sales taxes to invest in transit improvements, each year routes, frequency and access increase. So those who don’t find a workable transit map now should check back periodically because more buses will keep going more places more often.
“Individual assistance isn’t just for someone new to the area,” Straw says. “If someone is tired of their long commute, sick of congestion or if they want to have less impact on the environment, individualized assistance is a tool that’s designed to help everybody.”
And for those already using transit, DeAngelo might be able to find even more options.
“A good way to frame it is that sometimes you might find out you have more options than you think,” she says. “This is a good time to try it out. Maybe I can find something better than you already know about.”
Find out more information about Try Transit Week at gotriangle.org/trytransit.
More about Sustainable Transit Services
GoTriangle’s Employer Services Transportation Demand Management team helps employers and universities expand commuting options so their employees and students don’t have to drive alone. When transit opportunities aren’t available, TDM extends the reach of GoTriangle by forming vanpools and carpools, telework program development and bicycle and pedestrian campaigns.
These services and programs have significant impacts on commuting patterns, traffic congestion, personal health and air quality in the Triangle. The grant-funded services, programs and materials are provided through a partnership of municipalities and public transportation agencies. Find out more here.