Comfy Commute

A premium bus plaza promises to keep riders warm and (mostly) wind-free.

 

 

At Eastern, one’s EagleCard identification doubles as a bus pass for rides on any Spokane Transit Authority route. It’s a benefit meant to encourage individual Eagles, particularly those living up the road in Spokane, from fouling the air, congesting the highways and clogging campus surface lots with single-occupancy vehicles.

For those taking advantage, the pluses are obvious: gas money is saved, maintenance is deferred, parking is not an issue and any traffic headaches accrue to a driver who isn’t you.

Thanks to a recently completed bus plaza, one that includes outdoor heaters, wind barriers and real-time scheduling screens, leaving the driving to them just got even more desirable.

The downside? Bus stops, particularly those exposed to Cheney’s sometimes bitter winter winds, can make even a short wait for the No. 66 a bone-chilling bummer.

Mercifully, that is changing. Thanks to a recently completed bus plaza, one that includes outdoor heaters, wind barriers and real-time scheduling screens, leaving the driving to them just got even more desirable.

The 1,500-square-foot, $1.3 million Eagle Station, funded by the Washington State Legislature through its Regional Mobility Grant Program, opened in February. According to transit authority officials, its goal is to make commuting by bus more attractive to potential riders, especially those commuters who make the daily trek back and forth from city to campus.  

“It’s exciting, really,” said one of those commuters, Alisyn Waite, a graduate student in creative writing. “I would love not having to stress about what time my bus is coming. And the heaters are so cool. I used to freeze while waiting for the bus!”