people exit a city bus

Behold the Winona Transit in action!

As the snow finally begins to melt and we are freed from our arctic prison, it’s time to venture back outside and explore all the scenery and downtown life that Winona has to offer.

Now, this won’t be a post about where to go and all the fun events going on in Winona because there are already many posts about that! I’m actually here to help you figure out how to utilize one of Winona’s most underutilized resources — the public transit options.

If you’re like most students at Winona State University, you don’t have a car of your own right now. This can make trips to the doctor, food runs and retail shopping seem like an enormous undertaking.

Using the Winona Public City Transit can make these errands much easier. I started using the public transit when I caught a bad case of strep throat first semester. I had put off seeing a doctor for almost a week because I didn’t have access to a vehicle, and stubbornly thought I could sweat the fever off, but when that didn’t work I took the plunge and tried navigating the public transit.

Since there is a lot of timing to figure out and different shuttles to catch, getting started with the transit system can seem intimidating at first.

I certainly had an awkward adjustment period, and my first attempt was pretty pathetic. I got on the wrong shuttle and ended up at Shopko. The second time I managed to strand myself at Walmart by missing the last shuttle to Winona State University.

But with just a little bit more practice I was hooked! Now I have can visit the hospital when I need to, take weekly supply runs to Walmart and visit friends over at St. Mary’s University. I quickly got the hang of it, and I’m sure you can too.

To help you out, here are a few tips so you’ll be fully prepared to tackle the Winona Public Transit system:

1. Make Sure You’ve Got the Funds

One of the best things about the Winona Public Transit is that it is an extremely inexpensive mode of transportation. If you decide spur of the moment to take the transit, you’ll only need to pay one dollar for your ride to your location and then another dollar for your ride back. However, if you prepare in advance, you can visit one of the transit’s 3 selling locations and purchase a student token.

A student token will knock your fee down to only 80 cents, but the tokens must be purchased in advance. If you plan on using the public transit often, a monthly pass is probably the best bet! The cost is unlisted on the Public Transit’s homepage, so you should call in advance or stop by one of their purchasing locations for more information.

2. Map Out Your Destination(s)

You’d be surprised at how far the transit can take you, but just to be safe make sure you know you can get to where you need to go. The city bus stops at Wal-Mart, Shopko, Hyvee, Winona Health Clinic & Hospital,and lots of other places around town.  I’ve used the transit for all sorts of trips!

If there isn’t an exact drop of point for your location, you can pull the “Stop Here” rope along the walls to get as close as possible. So pick a destination and carry on!

3. Know the Details of Your Bus
Winona Public Transit is not just one bus that travels the city, but actually four buses that cover different sections of Winona. There’s the Green Line East, Green Line West, Red Line and Blue Line. Once you’ve identified what line(s) you need to take, make sure you know the time and pick up location as well! The transit is pretty much always on time and leaves shortly after arriving at its stops. There isn’t much flex time so it’s better to get to your stop sooner than later.

Once you’ve got your shuttle picked out and you are at your stop, navigating the transit is actually quite easy. If you need to transfer from one line to another or are unsure as to where your stop is on the route, don’t hesitate to ask the drivers!

The drivers over at the Public Transit are very nice and know all four of the routes very well. If I hadn’t spoken with them, I would have had a lot of trouble figuring out what shuttle to take get where I was going. If you have any questions they’ll know the answers.