Caitlyn's story is part of a series on the region's public transportation set to publish on centralcurrent.org this week. Reporters will be riding buses to collect residents' perspectives. Do you use public transportation and want to be part of the series? Email email@example.com.
Caitlyn Wesolowski was getting ready to leave for work, and checked the bus schedule to decide when to leave her home in Eastwood to walk to the bus stop.
Centro’s mobile app estimated that the bus was 26 minutes away, so she thought she had plenty of time. Five minutes later, the app alerted her that her bus was actually two minutes away. Frantically, she sprinted to the stop and made it just in time to catch the bus.
Wesolowski, 19, moved with her family to Syracuse from Arkansas in August 2022. Without consistent access to a car, she had to find a way to get to her retail job at Destiny USA and other places around the city. During her free time, Wesolowski and her mother have used buses to explore Central New York.
She is now comfortable navigating the bus system, but said Centro’s mobile app is unreliable and can impact her ability to accommodate her work schedule, she said.
And because buses run infrequently to the mall, Wesolowski often waits up to an hour for a bus that takes her home from work.
In her free time, she enjoys walking nature trails, and found that the bus routes do not service parks outside the city like Green Lakes State Park or Beaver Lake Nature Center. She has to Uber or ask a family member to give her a ride if she wants to spend time at those two parks.
“There’s not a bus that even goes remotely close to those areas,” Wesolowski said.
At times, she is uneasy on the bus, and worries about her safety when traveling alone. She sometimes sees people who appear to be in crisis interact with other riders in ways she feels are threatening. She makes phone calls and tries to avoid an uncomfortable encounter by taking up the seat next to her.
This past week, a bus driver was training a new driver on Wesolowski’s route to work. The addition of another Centro employee made Wesolowski feel safer. She wishes there was a way to increase Centro staff presence on buses to help in the event of a conflict.
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