Rider profile: Ilka Iwanczuk

Ilka Iwanczuk is a transit enthusiast in Lawrence. She does not own a car, has never owned a car and likes the independence of not owning a car. She says that Lawrence has a great transit system, and along with walking, she uses the bus to get everywhere she needs to go.

As a library employee, she has helped people who come in to the library learn how to ride the bus and navigate the system. She believes that reading the bus schedule and learning the texting feature to find out when your bus is coming is important for bus riders to understand.

How long have you been riding the bus?
Since 2000 when the Lawrence Transit System started. I started riding public transit in Philadelphia when I lived there and really liked it. When I moved here in 1999, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a transit system here, so I rode a bike or walked everywhere. I was very relieved when the transit system started in Lawrence in 2000.

Which bus route(s) do you ride?
Mostly routes 6, 7 and 11. I ride most days, but mainly for running errands. If the weather is bad it is even more helpful to be able to take a bus. If I need to go to Kansas City, I take Amtrak.

Where do you ride?
I take the bus to shop at Target, World Market, Dillons, Walmart and many other places. I also use the bus to run errands and to meet up with friends.

Is there anything you normally do while riding the bus?
I like to read on the bus, but I also like to talk to people on the bus. I have met a lot of people on the bus over the years, and I have made a lot of bus friends.

Is there anything you like to take with you on the bus?
I like to take my coffee or tea (in a sealed container), my phone, bus fare and a book. Sometimes I will pay it forward if I see that someone does not have money for their fare.

What is your favorite thing about riding the bus?
I love the sense of freedom and independence, and the fact that it allows me to have an enjoyable life in Lawrence without having to own a car. I also love the texting feature to find out when the bus is coming.

How do you benefit from using public transportation?
It saves me money and gets me to where I need to go quickly. I also love the fact that many buses run every 30 minutes now making it more convenient.

Do you have any advice about using Lawrence Transit for riders or non-riders?
I like to tell people to keep an open mind and be patient. You will enjoy riding the bus. You meet different people from other countries and from a different way of life. You also get to do things like read and text which you cannot do while driving a car!

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your experience using the bus?
The bus is my car. The T is vital to this town and is invaluable. Everyone should try riding the bus. The library staff used the city bus to go on a tour and they loved it. I loved being their tour guide!