Taking public transit saves money, time and the planet – one less carbon footprint at a time

The adventures of a Coupeville Middle School teacher

Terry has an adventurous spirit. She taught school in Colombia for two years before coming to teach Science at the Coupeville Middle School in 1996. Terry started commuting by bus from the get-go.

“The bus is very convenient, reliable and free,” she says.

She says she’s saved a lot of gas money over the years and reduced her carbon footprint. “When I drove my car, I would always end up staying late. The bus would help me leave at a reasonable time after school. I commuted by bus about 90 percent of the school year.”

She recently retired but still takes the bus when she substitutes for the school district.

Terry is an avid cyclist and has often put her bike on the bus so she can go for a ride after work. She used to meet other bus and bike commuters for a friendly 20-mile ride. They would all be wearing their bright green and gold colors for visibility.

In 26 years of riding Island Transit she has gotten to know the other bus commuters and the drivers. She has taught some of their kids and has become friends on and off the bus. Terry is also a Soroptimist, aids seniors, and is a volunteer fire fighter – so it would be understandable if she nodded off on the bus to work. But she keeps busy, checking emails, studying papers, reading the news, making good use of every spare minute.

As a teacher, Terry was known for her adventurous field trips. She has taken groups of students to Thailand, the Amazon, and Iceland as well as more local adventures by both land and by sea.

She encourages her students to use the bus and has incorporated the bus as part of her field trips. The class would go to South Whidbey State Park or Fort Casey by bus – plus reducing their carbon footprint by taking the bus fit into her science curriculum.

Besides her adventures on Whidbey, Terry took public transit while teaching in Columbia, from Whidbey to SeaTac, and to the University of Washington for teacher training. In comparison to other transit systems, she says Island Transit is much cleaner and the drivers have always been really nice and helpful.

Once when it snowed and her bus had to stop five miles from her house, an Island Transit Road Support van came and gave her a lift home. “They go out of their way for their riders.”

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