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ON BOARD: Many Happy Years Without A Car

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

Kimberli Binschatel
  Judy Furstnau has used Sault Ste. Marie's Dial-A-Ride bus system for over 20 years.

Judy Furstnau is an Up North kind of woman. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, she’s lived there all of her 50 years. She’s never owned an automobile, so she’s been a fan and dedicated user of her hometown’s Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) service for about 20 years.

Ms. Furstnau lives at The Manor — a senior citizens’ apartment on Meridian Street near Sault Ste. Marie’s city limits. She’s spent many a cold morning getting downtown on a warm DART bus instead of trudging through the snow or relying on someone else for a ride.

“In the winter there can be waits when it’s snowing hard,” she said. But she thinks that’s understandable and that, “in summer and spring, it’s right on time.”

She sees the bus as a friendly way to get around; she even has some frequent “bus mates” who she can count on for good conversation. “When Natalie is riding,” she said, “we talk back and forth the entire trip.”

Ms. Furstnau has had jobs all over town, including washing dishes at Penny’s Kitchen and, most recently, at Hiawatha Behavioral Health, where she shreds paper and helps out around the office. DART has taken her to and from these and other jobs; along with running errands and shopping at Glenn’s Market, it’s another way she depends on the city’s buses.

“I’d be lost without it,” she says “I’m always on the go and the bus helps me do things.”

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