Many Winnipeg commuters have been inspired by the Commuter Challenge to adopt new ways of getting to work. Whether because of personal health, to save on costs or to help the environment, Winnipeggers are discovering the many benefits of choosing sustainable commuting options. Listen to the stories of these Winnipeg commuters who have been able to reap the rewards of sustainable commuting.
Make your commute social time!
A couple of weeks ago, my co-worker Lea and I took a critical look at how we bus home at the end of the day. We both travel from downtown to the north edge of Winnipeg, on two separate but similar bus routes. Instead of being alone during our journeys, we figured that we could both take a different route in between the other two. We still have to walk roughly the same distance after the bus drops us off but at least we get to make most of the journey together.
Commuting is a lot more fun together! We get to talk and unwind after work and our time on the bus seems to pass much more quickly. I’ve quickly gotten used to our new arrangement and I’m disappointed on the days when our schedules don’t align and we travel separately. Even though our shared commute may not be the best option in the winter, it’s much more enjoyable during the rest of the year!
You don’t have to be a transit nerd like me to find a new busing option. Try Winnipeg Transit’s Navigo trip planner at http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo to discover the options available to you. There are also many TransitTOOLS that allow you to get real-time updates on your bus by phone, text message, Twitter, or smartphone browser anywhere, anytime. Knowing the different route choices for your destination gives you more flexibility and minimizes the time you spend waiting for transit, especially if your preferred bus is running late.
Trying new forms of commuting has social as well as environmental benefits. Being able to travel with someone who regularly commutes by transit or active transportation makes it more enjoyable to try something new. If you are already an active commuter, offer to show a friend, family member, or co-worker the ropes. You’ll both gain a commuting buddy and help make your trip a fun part of your day!
Biking to work good for the city
Stefano Grande, Executive Director, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
If you add it all up, the price of driving is a cost to our city. From continual road repair to significant and adverse environmental effects, our dependence on cars continues to shift focused downtown development to urban sprawl.
Active transportation, carpooling or transit provides immediate benefits to our communities and our city, produces less congestion and pollution, helps us connect with one another, and improves our health and productivity.
That downtown vibrancy we like to talk about is only possible if we bring people downtown. And we can do this by taking the lead from other cities who have adopted progressive transportation models that promote transit use, land use patterns that encourage transit (zoning that favors density and mixed use, for example), and create infrastructure for walking and cycling. This is why I bike to work – to continue to urge our city to invest in all modes of transportation and there is certainly room for them all. Let’s get going!
Why walk to work?
Al Perron from Investor’s Group regularly walks to work all year round, even on days with a wind-chill of -52C. When asked about why he chooses to walk to work, he had the following to say.
“I do it for the daily physical exercise, stress reduction and cost savings,” said Al. “I am fortunate to live only 30 minutes walking distance from my workplace and I have found it to be a very convenient way to add an hour of daily physical activity for the last 25 years.”
“By walking and leaving the car at home, the cost savings are huge,” said Al. “As we all live in a fast paced environment, walking to and from work has allowed me the time to slow the pace down and enjoy my surroundings that are missed when commuting by vehicle. It allows the benefit of meeting numerous other commuters that I often see and talk to daily. You definitely get to fully appreciate the four seasons that we have. ”
“Walking is one of the best ways to becoming physically active and to keep healthy,” said Al. “It allows you to be refreshed when you arrive at work as it provides you with a lot more energy. Also, I believe that the greatest benefit to my daily walk has been regarding my health. Unfortunately all members of my extended family (brothers, sister and parents) have diabetes and I believe that this daily routine has kept this health issue at bay.”
“The overall benefit is to maintain a healthy active lifestyle for many years,” said Al. “It all starts with one step at a time. Try it, you’ll like it!”
Taking Winnipeg Transit to work
Hopping on the bus is an easy, affordable and comfortable way of reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on our roads. Not only does it cut down the costs of parking, gas and vehicle maintenance but it also adds opportunities for personal time into a busy schedule. And with the variety of helpful resources from Winnipeg Transit, such as the Navigo bus trip planner and the Bus Guide for mobile devices, taking the bus has never been more convenient and easy. Just ask Susan Wardekker, who started taking the bus when her husband needed their only vehicle for his work. Because leaving the house at 5:30 a.m. was not appealing, taking the bus was the logical option for her.
“What started as a necessity has become a great cost saving and, for me, a fun and convenient way to commute to work,” said Susan. “I have met some really fascinating people on the bus over the years, some of whom are now also really good life-long friends. It’s a surprisingly unconventional networking system. As well, riding the bus on the journey to work gives you an opportunity to take the time to reflect on your plan of action for the day and on the way home to de-stress or to reflect on your plan of action for the remainder of the day.”
“Give transit a try, you might be surprised,” said Susan. “You may even find that it could work into a healthy habit”.
Biking to work
Biking is a year-round activity that gets you outdoors, promotes regular physical activity and can help one feel reconnected to their community. Even in the extreme Winnipeg weather, biking is a practical and worthwhile method of getting to work. Stuart Williams bikes to work in the downtown area year round, and has seen for himself the many benefits of getting on his bike.
“Biking to work reduces cost, increases health and is great way to wake up and start the day,” said Stuart. “For me it’s faster than, or almost as fast as, the bus, depending on the season and how many layers I have to put on. In the winter it’s certainly warmer than waiting for the bus! I like getting some exercise as part of my commute. I save money and pollution relative to riding the bus. I like the mental break the ride home gives me at the end of the day.”
“Try biking to work for a while,” said Stuart. “Like any exercise, for most people it’s hard to get motivated to start your workout, but you never regret it afterwards, you’re always happy you did, and you wonder why it was so hard to get started in the first place.”