The day I turned 16 (just kidding, I failed my first license test) I was super pumped to inherit my parents’ 2000 Saturn station wagon. Ever since that point, I have relied greatly on a car as my main mode of transportation, until I came to Denver. I decided to not bring my car for my semester at Wartburg West as I was going to force myself to really immerse myself into the urban lifestyle. My organization where I am completing my senior social work practicum is about five miles from the Wartburg West apartments, about 20 minutes by bus.
Public transportation is not new to me as I grew up occasionally riding the light rail around my home cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis; however, I am now using it as my daily form of transportation around Denver and I love it! Not only is public transportation economically efficient and sustainable, but it also has its own culture and provides its riders with human interaction. Bus culture is like nothing I have ever experienced before. Every age, race, ethnicity, and language is present on the bus…making people watching extremely entertaining and educational. It also acts as its own community; others will watch out for and help those on their bus. For instance, last week on my ride home from a local grocery store I was carrying more bags than I probably should have been. An older male saw me struggling as I was getting on the bus so he walked up to the front and asked if I needed help with my bags. I accepted his help as he carried my bags to an open seat on the bus and set them down.
Both Nelson and Bonita Bock are appreciative when students use public transportation as those who drive cars have less chances of human interaction. While riding the bus, I never wear my headphones with the hopes that someone will sit near me so that I can strike up a conversation. In some instances, people do not want to chit chat but in most cases, people on the bus love to have conversations with those close by. The things that I have learned from and about the people I have conversed with give me an insight into what their lives in urban Denver are like…and I have learned many things that I could live without knowing.
Future Wartburg Westers, I challenge you to come to Denver with no car or if you absolutely need to bring it that you use public transportation as much as possible.