For a seasoned rider like Jeremy Whiting, talking about public transportation is an easy task. In fact, his New Years’ Resolution for 2019 was to use public transportation as often as he could. Jeremy frequently rides SMART buses, taking the 430 and 740 12 Mile routes from his home in Royal Oak to his job as a photographer for the City of Farmington Hills. “I drive as little as possible”, he says. Riding the bus has always been a part of Jeremy’s life, and when asked, he appears proud of his years waiting at the bus stop.
While growing up in Ann Arbor, Jeremy’s parents took him on the bus at a young age. Riding for him was exciting and new. Once on a childhood trip to New York City, he accidentally got on the wrong subway, and was whisked away from his parents. Luckily, a good samaritan noticed the young boy “stomping his feet like a cartoon”, and helped Jeremy find his family. Looking back, Jeremy says this is when he realized he values a “localized lifestyle”, where urban community and culture is readily accessible. Wanting the same “breath of fresh air” after high school, Jeremy moved to Detroit and started his degree in Urban Studies at Wayne State.
“I like being able to do things that are mentally stimulating…rather than just stare at 696”
During and after his time at Wayne State, Jeremys’ relationship with public transportation began to serve a more functional purpose: getting him to work safely and on time. He recalls trying to catch the bus downtown during college as frustrating, blaming the then-recent Detroit bankruptcy for shortening pickup times. While he admits bus times could be more consistent, Jeremy feels that said shortcomings are more of an “inconvenience, rather than a career threatening” issue.
Jeremys’ previous job required him to commute long hours exclusively by car, an experience he describes as “soul-crushing”. “I like being able to do things that are mentally stimulating” when commuting, Jeremy explained, “rather than just stare at 696”. Riding public transit gives Jeremy valuable time back from his busy day, which he often spends reading or catching up on work.
Jeremy also spreads his love of transit to those around him. His wife accompanies him, and Jeremy says he is always trying to “plant the seed” of riding into his friends’ minds. For Jeremy, not only is choosing the bus relaxing, but it gives him a sense of personal freedom. And with the introduction of a combined DART pass and new transit app, Jeremy believes bus transportation in Detroit is “becoming increasingly competitive with driving”. TRU agrees with Jeremy’s observations, and thanks him for joining our advocacy efforts.