Buses and bikes: Getting around in Brownsville

This story is part of photo series on transportation in the Rio Grande Valley. It has been edited for clarity and length.

Photo by Brittany Mendez

Nayelli Bautista, Brownsville, Texas

I had some pieces to put up in a collective art show and because I had no one to take me I took the MetroConnect from Brownsville to Mcallen. I was going to take my bike with me but the driver said he couldn’t so I had to leave it at the bus terminal and it was stolen.

That bike was really sentimental for me because of the memories with my friends, going to my parents’ house, and crossing over to come to school. At first, my mom didn’t like the fact that I was riding the bike to get to places, but since she noticed I didn’t like to cross over walking she decided to give me the okay to ride the bike. It would benefit her because since I would go to the mall and places she liked I would get her things whether that be clothes, food, or dog treats.

Photo by Brittany Mendez

She tells me to not ride the bike as often since I’m living on my own, but, I have to. Sometimes I have no choice. I don’t have my driver’s license or a car, and I don’t want to walk.

If you are someone with a car, I would recommend taking the bus once in awhile. It will help you to actually realize the number of people that live here in this town. I think there is this weird preconceived notion that taking the bus is bad.

Photo by Brittany Mendez

Photo by Brittany Mendez

For me, you are just using another transportation that isn’t common, and you are telling the city “hey I want you guys to keep up with this and improve it” even if it means just adding two more hours to the bus times. That can open a lot more opportunities.

The bus I think is an important tool for the city. Not everyone can afford a car or just don’t want to even though the schedule is a big issue. I would like to see more time slots to go to places so that people can use it when they need it. It doesn’t have to feel like you have to adjust your schedule.

Photo by Brittany Mendez

There are times I don’t go out and can’t support local events at night since I don’t feel safe going on my bike alone, and usually, I have no one to take me. These are small life experiences that I’m not gonna get if I just stay at the house.