Our new Snohomish County friends…
We’re looking forward to more adventures with our Snohomish County friends. We are planning to meet in Everett in late June, and will travel together to the town of Snohomish to browse the antique stores.
I hear lots of chatter and the air is full of excitement as nine seniors gather at the Edmonds Senior Center 20 minutes before the bus arrives. They have come early for instructions on the day’s agenda, bus riding and safety tips plus travel instruction on the various transportation choices that are available throughout Snohomish County. I am Sandy Schurman the SNOTRAC Program Coordinator and the program that is so popular among seniors is called Ride Around the Sound, the Bus Buddy Program (RAS). This program is an enjoyable way for seniors to become familiar with and to learn how to navigate the bus system by sharing the ride with their peers. Trips using public transportation currently leave monthly from six different sites throughout Snohomish County headed to fun destinations.
Inexperienced riders “buddy up” with experienced travelers who show the new rider how to feel at ease while riding the bus. Our goal is to have the seniors use the bus independently or with their bus buddy. When additional training is needed, we work closely with Community Transit who offers a Free Travel Training Program, which provides a personalized one-on-one training.
As the seniors arrive, each is given a trip agenda, which I prepared for them using the online transit trip planner. This printout shows them where we will transfer, the bay we arrive/depart from and how long layovers are between transfers. Part of this training encompasses how to plan a trip. Besides the general trip info from trip planner a good plan should include important phone numbers such as the transit customer service numbers along with earlier and later returns. One thing that I try to emphasize is “to prepare for the unexpected” so today’s agenda is a good example of how spending a few extra minutes planning a trip will save lots of hassle if plans do not go as expected.
We arrive 5 minutes early at our bus stop for our 9:39 am departure from Railroad Avenue & Main Street, which is the bus stop right outside the Senior Center. We depart on Community Transit bus 116 Silver Firs and are lucky that our bus arrives a few minutes early at the Lynnwood Transit Center so we are able to transfer onto our second bus, Sound Transit 511, going to Seattle 5th Ave rather than wait the 14 minutes we originally anticipated. Instructions continue throughout the trip from how to read bus stop signs to how to identify that you are at the right bus stop and much more.
Our next stop is at 5th Avenue and Marion Street in Seattle where we walk across the street to Marion Street and 4th Avenue to catch our third bus the Metro M12 Interlaken Park. After only a few minutes, our bus arrives and is quite crowded; thankfully, we only have a short Viagra way to go. On the bus, we encounter several friendly passengers that are curious as to why this large group of seniors is traveling by bus. I do not have to say a word; the seniors explain the RAS program and its benefits—- the seniors using the program are the best marketers for the Ride Around the Sound Program. At Madison Street and Boren Avenue, we get off the bus, walk southwest about three blocks to the Frye Art Museum, and arrive just as they are opening the doors at 11:00 am.
Our tour docent, another Sandy, did an excellent job of explaining the special exhibit “Degenerate Art Ensemble.” I think Mary’s blog description of this feature art exhibit, as “too outside my realm of understanding and/or comfort” was a perfect description as the consensus from most of the seniors was the art was very strange. Without the docent led tour, it would have been even more difficult to understand or appreciate this exhibit. More to the liking of the group was the Frye Collection of art that featured many German painters. The art was setup and displayed similar to how it was displayed in the Frye family salon.
Next on the agenda was lunch in the Gallery Café. My lunch was superb, I had the ½ chicken curry sandwich with a cup of garlic tomato bisque soup and my lunch partner had the homemade Mac & Cheese that looked yummy. The café is small but the service was very efficient which left us with a few minutes to browse the gift shop before our walk to the bus.
For our return trip, the bus stop was directly across the street from the stop we got off at Madison Street & Boren Avenue. We took the M12 Downtown Seattle bus to Pike Street & 4th and even had the same bus driver that remembered us and asked if we had a good time at the museum. After getting off the bus, we walked a short distance to 4th Avenue & Union Street to catch our second bus the ST 511 Ash Way P-R via Lynnwood TC. At the Lynnwood Transit Center, our third bus the CT 110 Edmonds bus was waiting for us. On the return trip home, the mood was more subdued after our long day of fun and learning the “ins and outs” of bus travel but everyone had a good time and asked where RAS was going next month.
Our trip ended as we returned to the Edmonds Senior Center at 3:15 pm.
What is SNOTRAC?
SNOTRAC short for the Snohomish County Transportation Coalition started back in 2000. It consists of a diverse partnership of human service agencies, transit agencies, school districts, advocacy groups and people with special transportation needs. SNOTRAC strives to address the transportation needs of people unable to transport themselves due to a disability, age, or income. See link below for more info
One of SNOTRAC’s goals is to help people be more aware of their transportation options, feel safe, and secure when using public transportation. For seniors living in Snohomish County, transportation is especially crucial to maintaining their independence, health, and quality of life… The SNOTRAC Ride Around the Sound, Bus Buddy Program provides travel training to seniors.
See link below for more info on SNOTRAC programs.