Too Many Conferences Miss the Bus

Nonprofits often advocate for local transit spending, but when we gather, we seem to forget these values. How would we know what the transit of a given city is like if we never ride their buses?

1 minute read

December 25, 2018, 9:00 AM PST

By Keli_NHI

San Francisco Muni Buses

Pi.1415926535 / Wikimedia Commons

Last May, I got my first glimpses of Louisville, Kentucky, from the windows of a public bus. As we crossed railroad bridges, passed a campus, and slid between blocks of neat Victorian homes, we learned from the bus driver about how many more jobs there were in Louisville compared to Toledo where she’d come from, and we chatted about the royal wedding. Approaching the hotel on foot from the bus stop two blocks away, I was welcomed by some of downtown Louisville’s ubiquitous street art, including gigantic walk-through bourbon barrel staves, and I got a quick look at the Ohio River before heading inside.

The 30-minute ride cost me $1.75, which for the penny-conscious nonprofit business traveler is a pretty good deal compared to a taxi, ride-hail, or airport shuttle.

I don’t know if I was the only attendee who arrived at that conference from the airport by bus, but I wouldn’t be surprised, given that neither the conference organizers nor the hotel listed it in their transportation from airport options. And they are not alone. In my eight years of attending at least half a dozen conferences a year, the number of conference logistics emails or travel FAQs [frequently-asked questions lists] that I’ve seen include information on bus routes from the airport is small, if indeed there were any.

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