Learning to Appreciate Public Transit When You’re a Car Enthusiast

Ryan Pferrer

Prior to working at DoubleMap, if someone asked me, “Do you use or like to use public transit?”, I would have definitively answered no. This is because public transit sounded to me like something to use only as a last resort option for transportation. If I had any opportunity to drive myself anywhere as opposed to using a transit system, then that’s what I would be doing. After all, I liked driving anyways.

Not long after I turned 16 and started driving, I had caught the automotive bug and started constantly browsing aftermarket parts for my car that I could buy and install. My first car wasn’t a sports car or even a car that most anyone (especially car enthusiasts) would ever consider “modding” which was funny (it was a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe). I ended up constantly thinking about how fun it would be to own a car that was more focused on the driver’s experience. Through the end of highschool and into college I was lucky enough to get handed down a newer car twice from my mom when she bought herself a new car (a 2004 Chevrolet Impala followed by a 2008 Chevrolet Impala). They were certainly not driver-focused cars any more than the Hyundai, but nonetheless I still liked them for being able to drive myself were I wanted to go and my interest in cars continued. I even started following automotive blogs/sites, car enthusiast youtube channels, and kept up on news in the industry. Along the way my interest in cars themselves consistently transferred over into the driver’s seat which resulted in always liking driving more than any other form of transportation.

Then, only 6 months ago, I found myself starting a new opportunity at DoubleMap. I had known a little bit of what DoubleMap does prior to my first day since I used their mobile app while attending Purdue (Boiler Up!), but there was still a lot to learn about the company and the transit industry. In my support role, I’ve had constant direct contact with a number of people who use our system at different levels on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Over the months I’ve come to have a better understanding of how public transit systems are a huge part of many people’s lives. Whether those people work in a transit company or rely on one for regular transportation, public transit is an important function in their daily routines. This really changed my view on shared transit as someone who only had some light experience with using a bus-service and loves driving whenever possible. As a result, I find myself not only having a more well-rounded and better perspective on the public transit industry, but curious as to how much more there is to learn and appreciate.

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