Bata bus riders, as well as carpoolers, bikers and walkers can enjoy a free breakfast or even a yoga lesson when they arrive in downtown Traverse City the morning of June 9. The free breakfast, catered by the Warehouse Lounge, will be served to Smart Commuters when they arrive at the downtown BATA Transit Center, on Hall Street, between 7 and 9 a.m. The nearby Yen Yoga studio will offer quick, free morning sessions.

While they travel to work that morning, bus riders are likely to bump into transit agency officials, community leaders, or celebrities who are riding, too, to promote the region’s bus service. Upon arriving at the transit center, they’ll have a chance to mingle with other commuters and participate in a panel discussion about bus service in our part of northwest Lower Michigan. 

And, after work, the Right Brain Brewery will host a Smart Commute Week Happy Hour, and BATA will offer special 7 p.m. late runs on their “Village Connector” lines to Northport, Empire, and Fife Lake.

“We’re excited to be able to include commuters who live outside Traverse City, but who work here, by promoting these reliable and convenient buses available in so many of our villages”, said Missy Luyk, Smart Commute Week coordinator with TART Trails.

There are now regularly scheduled bus lines connecting 17 different villages throughout Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, and Kalkaska Counties to downtown Traverse City. From there, commuters can transfer to in-town Cherriot buses that serve the rest of Traverse City.

Try Transit Day is a part of Smart Commute Week, which runs from June 7 to 11, and is coordinated by TART Trails. This year the Michigan Land Use Institute is assisting with promoting the expansion of the event to include bus service to neighboring counties.

Last week, the Institute produced a brochure meant to help find their way on the bus on Try Transit Day. The pocket guide describes the region’s growing schedule of bus routes and stops connecting Traverse City to points throughout Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, and Kalkaska counties.

Copies of the brochure are available at businesses in downtown Traverse City and along the five bus routes. There’s more information at

Smart Commute Week aims to encourage more people to walk, bike, car pool, or take the bus to work in order to reduce traffic congestion, cut air pollution, save gasoline and money, and help local communities become more “walkable.”

Walkability and public transit do seem to be catching on in the region. Evidence of that includes the responses of the thousands of people who participated in the six-county, citizen-based, ongoing Grand Vision planning project. Participants clearly signaled that they want to see improved local and regional transit service.

Last fall, the Michigan Land Use Institute responded to that finding by convening a Transit Subcommittee of the Grand Vision Transportation Working Group, which aims to promote and enhance the regional transit system. The directors of the five county transit agencies—BATA, Benzie Bus, Kalkaska Public Transit Authority, Antrim County Transit, and Cadillac Wexford Transit Authority—operating within the Grand Vision region have begun regularly meeting together as well.

Below is the complete schedule of activities for Try Transit Day, June 9, 2010:

Morning Commute Activities•    Free Commuter Breakfasts 7-9am, at the BATA Transit Center, catered by the Warehouse Lounge and at Hagerty Insurance
•    Buses begin arriving in Traverse City at 7:20 (Benzie Bus), 7:30 (BATA Village Connectors), and 7:45 (Kalkaska Public Transit).
•    Bus agency directors, other community leaders, and local celebrities will be riding buses to the Transit Center in the morning.
•    At 8:15 a.m. a brief press conference and panel discussion with transit directors and community leaders to discuss the regional transit system
•    Two free yoga classes at Yen Yoga, 330 E. Front Street. 8:00 a.m. Hot Yoga, 8:30 a.m. Vinyasa Flow.•    Great opportunities for media coverage

Commute Home Activities•    Smart Commute Week (SCW) Happy Hour at Right Brain Brewery, 5-7pm
•    BATA will run a special late bus on their three Village Connectors departing the Transit Center at 7:00 p.m.•    Happy hour prices at Right Brain for smart commuters who wear their Smart Commute Week button until 7pm all week

Contact: Hannah Clark, Michigan Land Use Institute, 941-6584 ext.26
Missy Luyk, TART Trails, 941-4300
Carrie Thompson, BATA, 941-2324
Ron Kea, Kalkaska Public Transit Authority 231-258-6808Susan Miller, Benzie Bus 231-325-3000, ext 5