Hop on Board with Pastor Amy Carter

I’M ON BOARD because public transportation and I go way back.

– Amy Carter, Pastor, University Congregational Church

When I was a kid, I grew up in Tokyo, which has the most sophisticated transportation system in the world. I grew up using buses and trains and bicycles to get around.  In Tokyo, they had bicycle parking lots just like we are starting to have here in Missoula.

Public transportation has always been a part of my life, as has using all different ways to get where I need to go. Lots of days, I ride my bike to and from work. It’s only two miles, and it’s easy enough for me to do.

When I was young, public transportation afforded me a lot of freedom. I didn’t have to rely on my parents to get around. Here in Missoula, our transit system gives lots of people that same kind of freedom – folks who can’t drive, folks who can’t afford a car, and folks who just plain want to get on a bus to go where they want to go.

I like Route 1’s Bolt!, Mountain Line’s  service that ensures wait times of 15 minutes or less. With Bolt! I don’t need to know the bus schedule. I can just show up at my stop and the bus comes shortly. Also, I’m excited to use Mountain Line’s new phone app. With the phone app, Mountain Line’s bus tracker, route maps and rider alerts are at my fingertips, no matter where I am. I also love the fact that all Mountain Line buses have free WiFi.

As a pastor of University Congregational Church, I’m part of a community that has made a commitment to help people have access to bus transportation. We sponsor free bus tickets through First Call for Help (211). That commitment was born out of a desire to help people in a time of need, and also our commitment to promote green, sustainable life practices because of our concern about pollution and climate change.

When people don’t have a car or are unable to drive, they really are isolated and marginalized.  Mountain Line provides transportation for people who don’t drive or don’t have the financial means to have access to a car to get around.  For me, as a pastor, it’s an environmental issue, but it’s also an issue of caring for the most vulnerable people in our community.

I have always believed in and benefited from public transportation. That’s why I’m On Board!