Why I Ride: Save Money for Retirement with Fare Free Bus Service

Asked how long she had been riding the bus, Diane says, “Six months… but it could have been six years!” A co-worker had been riding the bus and told Diane how easy it was, but Diane was hesitant. “I didn’t want to add more time to my commute. What if I needed my car?”

She wasn’t motivated to try taking the bus until she started budgeting for retirement. By taking fare-free Island Transit, Diane calculated she saves $300 a month on gas, not to mention car maintenance.

“We had a bus schedule at work and I also went online and found the website was very easy to use,” she says.

Once she studied the schedule she had to figure out where to meet the bus. “There was a bus stop, but where would I park?” She settled on a park-and-ride two miles away.

That leaves the other 20 miles of her commute to Island Transit. She listens to podcasts, books on tape, music, or just looks out the window at the beauty around her. “Seven years of driving and like, I didn’t know that was there! You miss so much when you have to drive,” Diane says.

“I’m definitely over the hump. I’m like a pro! I arrive at work much more relaxed. People at work have noticed and some have asked me about it. They’re really quite curious. My husband is intrigued, too. I think as gas prices go up, more people will use the bus.”

Diane used to take the bus from Issaquah to Seattle – those buses were much more crowded. “I had to stand for the first 15 minutes of my commute.”

On Whidbey there’s plenty of room. “We’re in a small community so you see the same people on the bus and just have an overall feeling of small town compared to the buses in Seattle.”

Diane emphasizes how safe she feels taking Island Transit, noting each bus has hand sanitizer at the doorway and everyone wears a mask. “I don’t have to worry about hitting a deer on the road, I’m saving a lot of money, and doing my small part to help our environment.”

Island Transit offers Travel Training and Ride with a Guide bus tours for people who need help getting started. Just call 360-678-7771 if you have questions or want to set up an appointment.

Diane’s advice to others considering taking by bus? “Just give it a try. New things are intimidating but that goes away very quickly once you try it. I think you’ll find you arrive at your destination much more relaxed and in a better mood. We live in a beautiful place, being able to view it without having to drive is a really nice experience. And think about the money you’ll save!”

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