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ON BOARD: Choosing The Bus Broadens A Family’s World View

February 17, 2003 | By Johanna Miller
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Kimberli Bindschatel
  Lisa Skelton and her daughter, Mae, take the bus to some of their favorite Ann Arbor stores and shops.

Lisa Skelton depends on the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s No. 5 bus in the same way most people depend on their car. For the 42-year-old preschool teacher, taking the bus is a lifestyle choice. “It’s less hassle,” she said. “I can read on the bus, look out the window, collect my thoughts, not have to worry about parking.”

Ms. Skelton and her husband, Logan, moved to Ann Arbor in 1996 in part because they preferred the walkable lifestyle the city offers.

Ms. Skelton said that, as it turned out, her seven-year-old daughter, Mae, also loves riding the bus. “I can sit and read to her, talk to her, hold her. It’s a much more fun experience for her than riding in the car.”

“When you’re in a car all the time and live in a certain neighborhood, you don’t get a sense of the community at large,” she said. “Riding the bus gives you a sense of people beyond your friends, your circle, your world. My child gets to see that there are lots of different kinds of people in the world, gain a comfort with that, and not be so sheltered.”

The proud mother muses and reminisces. “When my daughter was about three she looked at me and said, ‘Mom, when I grow up I want to be an opera singer, a doctor, and a bus driver.’ How many kids can have that experience?” Ms. Skelton asked, giggling. “I laughed and told her that being a bus driver would work just fine for me.”

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