Join us this Friday for our monthly coffee chat. We will be meeting up at 8 a.m. at the Scooters on 30th and Ames. This month, we talk with Kim Schnitzer, vocational coach, about the challenges her clients encounter accessing effective transportation. We asked her five questions . . .
1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
My personal vehicle is my preferred mode of Transportation. I live in Bellevue and there aren’t many affordable choices for public transportation that I qualify for, as most are based on disability. I do use uber and lyft when my car needs service. They are good in a pinch, but are not sustainable, the total is about $40 per day by the time I drop my son off at school and pick him up.
2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
It seems to me that the Omaha Transit system has operated on the premise “If people use the system we will expand” that being said, it is difficult for people to use a system that fails to provide access to huge areas of the city. I think when we look at transit systems in cities of similar size, we can see that they are designed to move the workforce from their homes to their places of employment. In Omaha there are huge gaps in the location of employers and the places were public transit goes. This deficit has forced employers such as OTC, PayPal and Embassy Suites to work with other entities to provide affordable transportation to their work force.
3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I think Metro has done a good job of keeping riding the bus affordable. When compared with other Midwestern cities (Minneapolis, Chicago, Des Moines, Denver, Kansas City, Wichita) the Metro bus passes are $ .50 to $3 less. That may not seem like a huge difference, but many of my clients live on a fixed income of less than $1000 per month, $ .50 can truly be a huge amount of money.
4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
I work with individuals who are blind or visually impaired, most of them do not drive and rely on public transportation. These clients face real life challenges when trying to navigate the city for jobs and services. I would like to advocate for a bus system that truly provides equal access to everyone in the city.
5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
I would love to see our transportation system more closely modeled after the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I love the light rail and how it works in conjunction with the bus system to expand and provide transportation all over the city. I would love to see a system that provides efficient transportation from the northeast corridor of Omaha to the south west corridor and West Dodge