Please introduce yourself
I’m Joe Laha. I grew up in Wisconsin (Go, Pack, Go!). I moved across the St. Croix in 1993 for college, where I met Bridget. I work in downtown Minneapolis for an event technology company. We live in the fabulous North Loop neighborhood. In addition to mobile transit apps, I enjoy homebrew, sci-fi geekery, and general outdoorsiness.
And I’m Bridget Kromhout. I grew up in St. Paul in a hockey-fan household, and eventually came to love the Green Bay Packers. I just started working remotely doing tech operations for DramaFever, the largest streaming video site for international content. (I probably should watch some K-Drama soon.) Mobile transit apps are what get me to the airport on time, which is good, since I love speaking at tech conferences and they aren’t all held in the Twin Cities (yet).
How do you get around town?
We’ve been car-ownership-free since December 2011 (and you can watch Joe discuss this at Ignite Minneapolis). We try to bike as much as we can, commuting and running most of our weekly errands by bike. Joe’s been a year-round cyclist for the last five years. When cycling won’t work (like when putting in our garden), we use carshare services like HOURCAR and car2go.
Favorite mode of transit? Second favorite?
Joe asserts that a bike is the best way to get around the city any time of the year. Bridget agrees (in the absence of ice), and her second favorite is the Blue Line LRT because it removes all hassle in getting to and from the airport.
Funniest/craziest/scariest transit experience?
Joe: It seems that every time I have some sort of mishap on my bike, from flat tires to hitting a concrete planter in Loring Park (sober, and on a bright sunny day; I swear!) Nice Ride is there to save the day and get me where I need to go.
Bridget: I was in New Orleans when the concrete planter incident happened, and Joe texted me a picture of his Cross-Check’s mangled top tube. I immediately wanted a picture of him! Since he had to get to work right after wrecking his bike, it’s a good thing Nice Ride was available.
Have you used OMG Transit, and if so, what's your favorite thing about it?
Joe started using it first, and it became a race to see who could get info faster, with Bridget heading to the Metro Transit mobile site bookmarks on her home screen or opening Spotcycle. Turns out, Joe was getting more complete info before Bridget’s choice would even load.
Integration of all the alternatives into one app is our favorite thing. Often we’re open to taking whichever transit alternative is going to be fastest, so being able to quickly see that answer is exceedingly helpful. Also, the map view for finding bus times is easier/faster than trying to remember or look up MetroTransit’s stop numbers.
Joe is a dangerous opponent in any game of trivia. Bridget can travel for at least two weeks (perhaps indefinitely!) with only a 30-liter day-pack.
Anything to add?
The Twin Cities has been at the forefront of the movement away from car dependence. Local investment in cycling infrastructure; the rise of the sharing economy seen in the popularity of Nice Ride, HOURCAR, and car2go; and innovative apps like OMG Transit that help to create one seamless point of access have made it more practical than ever to live without owning a car.