Friday, December 19, 2008

And December's Commuter of the Month is...

Congratulations to our December Commuter of the Month...Bill Gurley! Bill is a long-time rider of the Halls Express bus, and he was nominated by two of his fellow KAT commuters who thought he deserved to be recognized for enthusiastically promoting transit to his neighbors in Halls and Fountain City as well as his co-workers at U.T.

Gail Chapman sent us an email telling us about a web site Bill had created to help spread the word about the Hall Express to folks that work downtown, U.T. and TVA. (Good stuff!) And fellow rider Doug Brown tells us, "This gentleman lives and breathes conservation in all avenues from home refuse through travel. He travels the KAT Halls Express. A helpful, kindred spirit with no hate towards anyone. Almost reminds me of the hippy days of the 60's. He even has a short beard. To overlook him would be a shame indeed." Well, that's when we knew we had a winner.We asked Bill to tell us a little about his commute, and how he came to be such a staunch supporter of transit. Bill told us, "I've been working at UT for 24 years. Over the years, I had considered trying out riding the bus several times, but didn't get around to it until about three years ago. Now I feel really stupid that I waited so long! The commuters who ride the Halls Express are a diverse and really friendly group of people. We all enjoy, at various times, talking, reading, listening to music, and just relaxing, while commuting to and from work. My initial motivation for riding the bus was my own environmental concern. I would like to see mass transit grow in our area; I would love to see more people choose transit over "riding alone." But now that I have jumped into transit, I have realized the joy of not fighting the traffic on my own, so there are selfish reasons for riding the bus too!"As most people know by now, the KAT Express routes were threatened with extinction last year. The riders of the Halls Express organized ourselves with a Google Groups list and began a campaign of contacting public officials and media outlets to try to reverse the decision to eliminate express routes. Farragut and Cedar Bluff folks also joined in, and eventually we were able to save our routes. All of the Halls riders are great ambassadors for transit!"
We're glad to have such enthusiastic Smart Trip members like Bill, and congratulate him as our Commuter of the Month! We'll be happily sending him a $25 gift card to Mast General Store to say thanks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some nice words from one of our Commuter Challenge winners...

We now have 5 people in our carpool and I have really been enjoying the camaraderie. Since different people are riding and driving every day, it's difficult to keep track of who owes who a ride. I invented a system where each rider gives the driver one of his business cards whenever he rides. When the rider drives, he gets his cards back from whoever has driven for him before, or else they give him one of their cards. So far it's worked very well.
Considering the money I've saved on gas, the new friends I've made, not to mention the nice prizes you offer, it's well worth the small inconvenience of working to a more rigid schedule.
--Bill Schwenterly