“I realized this program builds community as well as providing rides for people.” said Tasha, a citizen researcher for Lawrence OnBoard’s first research ride day. Tasha and 7 other riders met at the Carnegie building in downtown Lawrence last Saturday for a bold experiment in DIY public transportation. They were supported by backup drivers Tim and Tarang. The researchers were driven to locations outside of town- Eudora, Highway 40 to Lecompton, and North on the Wellman road. Their mission- to get a ride back to the command center with a passing stranger. They were asked to keep track of how long they waited and how many cars drove past before someone picked them up.
You will be happy to learn that every one of them made it back safe and sound. These fearless riders were prepared to wait for an eternity as aloof drivers whizzed past, leaving them shivering in the cold. Instead, the average wait time was a mere 5 minutes! One rider, Seth, got picked up by the first car that drove by. Bob got a ride with people he recognized. Rolf and Aaron squished into the cab of a pickup with a couple of young fellows like themselves. Connie and Huan got a ride in a minivan with a mom, kids, baby and grandma. Tasha not only got a ride into town, she also made an important business contact. Only Jason failed to get a ride from his stop. His backup driver,Tarang, circled around and noticed that it was really hard to see him at that stop, and the cars were going by too fast. She picked him up and took him to another stop, where he got a ride in under 4 minutes.
We had a lot of fun, took a bunch of notes, collected some impressive data, and ate a tasty lunch. Thanks to all who participated, and to Strelly and Saskia, my young assistants.