Why I ride: Diana takes the bus to work, and to meet new people

Diana has been using Island Transit since she was a kid. Now she is teaching her sons how to use the bus.

Diana is a pro on Island Transit. She grew up in Oak Harbor and has used the bus since she was a kid. She rode the bus to get to the after-school activities and meet up with her friends; she knows all the North Whidbey routes and schedules. Diana recommends to new riders to rely on the bus schedule posted on the Island Transit website where she also gets rider alerts or to download the RouteShout 2.0 app where you can see your bus coming in real time.

As an adult commuting to work on Island Transit, she has made many new friends on the bus. When you take the same bus together every day you get to know each other. Diana is such an expert she has been teaching others how to read the schedule and use the bus. Now she is teaching her two sons how to use the bus. She says some parents are concerned about the colorful characters that sometimes ride the bus, but the bus drivers are trained in situational awareness and will intercede if there is a problem. “They do a good job,” she said, “It’s a safe place for people to encounter those unlike themselves.”

Diana works just north of Oak Harbor. It’s a long walk to the nearest bus stop so she is glad the bus will stop for her when she flags them down. Island Transit can stop anywhere along the bus route that is safe. If you want the bus to stop on the highway, pick a place where there is room for a forty-foot bus to pull completely out of the traffic lane. By now the bus drivers know where to expect Diana. She wears a reflective vest and brings a small flashlight so they can see her on dark days. It also makes her visible to other motorists so she is safer as she is waiting on the shoulder.

Not only does Diana commute by bus, she also uses the bus to go shopping, run errands, visit friends and before the pandemic, she used it to volunteer at the Whidbey Playhouse. She misses her friends at the theatre and looks forward to volunteering at the playhouse when it is safe to do so again.

Diana has tried taking other public transit systems but prefers Island Transit. “The drivers are nicer than other systems and the buses are clean. The buses go any place you need to go.” Her advice is to show up early, but don’t be upset if the bus is a little late. Usually they’ll come within a few minutes of their scheduled time. And if you need help getting started, Island Transit has free travel training. Or just ask Diana.

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