Why I Ride: Deborah S.

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Why I Ride - Deborah S

About me:

I was an elementary school teacher for 22 years, and I’m now retired. Today,  I am a flower gardener, an oil painter, and a writer. I have been legally blind for over 40 years. Quite truly, I could not have achieved what I was able to do without a bus system. The history of what was available to sight impaired or blind people is a sad one, but as a bus traveler I could be involved and working despite vision loss.

“I have been legally blind for over 40 years. TriMet is my lifeline to the world outside my home.”

My post-secondary education was funded by the Oregon Commission for the Blind. The State of Oregon and TriMet assist hundreds upon hundreds of people with physical disabilities, far more than people know. It is the unspoken, quiet efficiency of public agencies forming the necessary network that can result in more and more folks being able to achieve equal opportunities and self-reliant lives.

Why I ride:

TriMet is my lifeline to the world outside my home. I rode to PSU with my young sons, rode to my teaching job with Portland Public Schools for 25 years, and now retired, I use the system for essential needs, but also for fun all over Portland! TriMet gets me to medical appointments, many favorite restaurants, theater events downtown, and theater guild readings at The Old Church.

I also ride TriMet because it is the best financial choice for getting where I need to go and because it is less harsh on the environment. We are a very progressive city, and I love seeing Portland used as a model transit city around the globe.

TriMet took me within walking distance to visit and assist my aging mother at her assisted living centers and nursing homes. I made decisions of where to place her by their access to TriMet. She enjoyed the last ten years of her life so much more because we could ride for hours just to see the sights. I was able to get her to many doctor appointments and senior services because of TriMet. It gave us an independence we were grateful to have.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

You can easily live in Portland without the expense of a car, or if, like me, you cannot drive, you can get pretty much everywhere drivers can go. Parents with strollers, students with tight budgets, people in wheelchairs, the elderly with walkers—all can get around town and retain independence living in Portland.

My advice to other riders:

Always be alert. Make note of the bus number or the number of the MAX car you are on in case you ever need to report something. Take care with your personal items, and keep them in one carry-on bag that has a strap you can put over your head. Don’t spread out all your things on the seat next to you to get better organized. Do that before you leave home. Don’t assume everyone is honest, so don’t reveal that you are carrying several high-priced items like laptops, e-books, iPhones, iPods, or a wallet full of credit cards. Common sense is wise and keeps theft down and safety up. Always be sure your belongings are with you when you get off the transit you are on. You are in charge of your safety and in charge of your comfort as you travel. And don’t forget to relax and enjoy the ride!

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