Some of my fondest memories of growing up in Pittsburgh involve riding our trolleys and buses. I'm confident that my adolescent adventures on transit made me the committed bus rider I am today. And the earlier we can start, the better.
I went downtown on the #3 Vista earlier than usual today, sharing my ride with lots of Boise High School students. But the trip back two hours later was even better: Two dozen preschoolers and their teachers from a downtown day-care center clambered on board at 8th and Idaho and rode across downtown to story time at the library. They were all smiles and giggles, and one of the teachers told me the kids absolutely love to ride the bus.
An hour before, at the annual breakfast meeting of the Downtown Boise Association, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter remarked that his own daughter is in love with the book The Wheels on the Bus. "I'm working on a version with a train," he added. (Bieter and visiting leaders from other cities had more to say about transit and other topics. See my report at Red State Rebels.)
Right now, bus riding has a rap among too many people as the transportation option of last resort. But if we can change that image to one of fun, adventure, and camaraderie - clearly the way the preschoolers view it - not to mention that it's the right thing to do to cut traffic and air pollution ... well, maybe we can raise a generation of riders who believe public transit is the best way to go.