For most people, taking mass transit is a choice that makes a lot of sense. Rising gas prices don't really mean much when $4 will get you anywhere Valley Metro goes for a day, and we cover a lot of ground! Taking mass transit also takes a BIG bite out of air pollution, and of course it's much less stressful to simply ride in comfort and leave the driving to our experienced bus and light rail operators.
But, I understand why some people might look at all the benefits of mass transit and think to themselves that it's not worth the extra time it's going to add to their commute. I'm here to say it IS worth the extra time, because now your commute time is YOUR time. Here are some of the great things you can get accomplished while you're leaving the driving to us:
1. Read a book - Luckily, I'm not one of those people who gets motion sickness while trying to read in a moving vehicle. I have polished off many books during my commute to work. My best piece of advice here is that your library is your friend! Chances are good you've got a bus or light rail line that'll deliver you near the doorstep of a library so that you can pick up a book. However, my secret weapon is the digital collection at the Phoenix Public Library. You can choose from thousands of digital titles that are ready to download in seconds.
2. Play a video game - If I'm not reading during my commute, I'm playing a video game on my phone. Of course, everyone has different options here, whether it's something simple like solitaire , a match-3 game or something far more complex. Nintendo's latest portable console, the Switch, makes high-end gaming on-the-go very easy.
3. Get some work done - Why not get a head start? Check and respond to emails, do some research, and even draft that report (or blog) that's due in a few days while riding on Valley Metro. Now, I understand that not everyone has a laptop computer that they can just pop open during a commute. Here's another one of my secret weapons: bluetooth keyboards. They're battery-powered, affordable almost to the point of being disposable, and can link up to Bluetooth-capable phones and tablets. It's a great way to be productive while also staying mobile.
4. Crochet - I'll admit, I have no first-hand experience with crocheting. However, I know people who do, and I've watched them go into what seems to be a calming, meditative trance as they slip, stitch, and pass. A few patterns, a pair of crochet hooks and some yarn is all that's needed to turn your rides on Valley Metro into a scarf or hat!
5. Podcasts - Who doesn't love a good podcast? I've got a dozen or so that I have in constant rotation on my phone. If you've got an obsession, chances are someone has made an entertaining podcast about it. If you need a head start, why not listen to Valley Metro's Storylines podcast? I'm on a first name basis with the hosts, and let me tell you, they are amazing people with a passion for connecting communities and enhancing lives. Just make sure to listen with your headphones or earbuds so that you're not interrupting someone who may prefer some peace and quiet during their commute.
6. Chat it up! - Sure, we're all wearing masks these days, but that doesn't mean you can't strike up a conversation with someone nearby. After all, you've already got something in common with them - you're both taking Valley Metro! If you're on the light rail, you can always have a chat with one of our friendly Customer Service Coordinators. The "CECs" are dressed in bright uniform, so they're easy to spot. They know the light rail corridor inside and out, so keep your eye out for them if you want advice on a great place to eat or just a friendly person to talk to!
Of course, this isn't a complete list of all the things that riders can do during their commute to stay informed, entertained and productive. If you've got something that you love to do to turn your commute time into "your time," let us know on Twitter at @valleymetro.