Lawrence Transit announces winners of story contest

Lawrence Transit System is pleased to announce the winners of its ‘Share Your Story’ writing contest for bus riders. People shared stories of using both fixed route and paratransit service to get to work, school, medical appointments, child care, shopping, and much more.

“We’ve gathered some really wonderful stories the last two years about how people are using public transportation in Lawrence,” said Robert Nugent, transit administrator. “It’s encouraging to hear that our buses provide an important lifeline for so many people in our community who would otherwise have difficulty managing their daily responsibilities.”

The three winners and their prizes are as follows:

  • First place winner Carrie Wallace was awarded 12 months of free bus fare.
  • Second place winner Melissa Monroe was awarded 6 months of free bus fare.
  • Third place winner Jamie Stallings was awarded 3 months of free bus fare.

First place winner Carrie Wallace describes her experience riding the bus with her children.

“My husband and I have two young children and one car,” Wallace writes. “Since my husband drives that one car to work before the sun comes up, I have to figure out how the rest of us will get where we need to go. Luckily, there are two separate bus stops within 200 meters of our home, and we never have to wait more than half an hour for the next one.”

The paratransit system has become a key to independence for second place winner Melissa Monroe. After she suffered a car accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down, she spent more than a year in hospitals and nursing homes far from Lawrence. Having access to transportation helped her readjust to life back home.

“I can attend school functions, shop till I drop, go out to eat, take in a show, watch a parade, or attend a festival,” Monroe says. “The bus system has helped me reintegrate into society. More importantly, both the employees and other riders have made my family and me feel welcome on the bus. We aren’t a bother or second class citizens, but part of a family.”

For third place winner Jamie Stallings, riding the bus offers a nice break from driving. After leaving her native Alaska to attend Haskell Indian Nations University, Stallings and her husband found the bus to be a convenient option in Lawrence. While she studies to become a pediatric dentist, Stallings says the bus has helped her learn better time management and budgeting. Walking to the bus stop even offers a dose of exercise.

“The bus system here has given me a break from the stress and the worry of driving,” Stallings says. “Lawrence buses are easy to understand with the help of the amazing bus drivers. Whenever I feel lost or unsure of myself of how to arrive to my destination, I just ask for help. The drivers I have met are friendly and caring people. I thank them every time I ride the bus for driving me to my destinations safely and on time.”

To read all the stories, visit www.lawrencetransit.org/transit-stories. The submissions will also be on display at the Lawrence Public Library in February.

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Media Contact: Robert Nugent, transit administrator, (785) 832-3464