As you may (or may not) know, the new RTS Transit Center in downtown is about to open its doors for the very first time - operating a full schedule of buses - on Black Friday. Yep, that's this coming Friday after Thanksgiving, November 28th. If you don't think this has anything to do with you, or if you think, "what's the BIG deal?", then just take a look at what's inside to see for yourself - and how you can take advantage of this brand new era in downtown-Rochester history.
Just like a TV remote with extra large buttons, when you enter the Center, a few of the first things you'll notice are the large directionals used throughout. This includes the road signs on each end of the building so a visitor will know which way St. Paul Street is at and which way is Clinton Avenue...
…to the "Welcome" lettering in multiple languages, the large, easy-to-spot route displays with up-to-date information on bus departure times and gate locations, and the you-can't-miss-it numbering system of each gate.
Won't have to hold it anymore!
Yes there are public (and family) restrooms, and THIS is a BIG deal - since there are no facilities in the current hubs out on Main Street. Not to mention all the FREE water you could sip down!
Movement, beautiful displays, and no echoes!
Another stunning part of the new facility is the design of the interior space, made in part for its visual beauty (for you photographers, looks like a slow shutter speed shot of stars in a clear night sky), but mostly to create a feeling of flow and movement, to energize the traveling public on the go - as the Center is expected to filter out nearly 20,000 riders per day. We're told the ceiling panels were designed, in part, to direct airflow - both A/C and heat - and are made up of sound absorbing materials to help with the acoustics. The last thing we'd want is have someone over the Public Address system shouting muffled announcements about bus changes…ever been to NYC on an older subway car?
And speaking of subway...
There are now multiple automated booths to purchase bus tickets, just like the automated subway-card vending machines.
And friendly help all around -
And just in case you're not that savvy with all the new technology, or you have specific questions regarding your upcoming trip, there are friendly customer service agents in the center of it all. And they are there for good reasons - safety is certainly one of them - but another is because there are new and improved service and schedule changes taking place starting opening day.
Catch a little TV too, while you wait
If you're waiting for your next bus, you can check the departure board. This is where you'll find what's playing on TV that day as well…but don't expect to get all picky and have it on the channel you want - the Center wants to keep you moving, so you're only going to get little snippets of Meredith, or Ellen - or if we're lucky, maybe even some Judge Judy!
Sittin' on your keister...
Yes, there are areas to sit down in the Transit Center...
…and priority waiting areas for the disabled. But notice, this is the NEW symbol…signifying an active and engaged person with a disability - very PC!
And then there are the HEATED floors!
Ok, so the floors don't really glow yellow and gold when they heat up, but it certainly does feel like you're walking on comfort as the heat travels up your legs. This is going to be a huge plus in these cold, frigid winters of ours!
And lastly, while you may never have taken the RTS bus before in your life, or you don't think that there's room in your diet to consume public transportation - FREE rides through the end of the year (the RTS 'fare holiday') should at least entice you to try it once - and at the very least, see the new RTS Transit Center in action.
With the new schedule and service changes being made, as well as the Transit Center becoming the downtown hub for our city, we all may just be surprised as to how much this will change our urban experience here in Rochester - and get us to rethink our current vehicle-centered culture in our city.
Jason is co-Founder and Editor of the Rochesteriat. The opening of the new RTS Transit Center is a positive, historical event for downtown. Our city is changing, make sure you're a part of it! Check out more @JaySchwingle or Facebook.