Community, Cottage Grove, Creswell

We’ve all got some place to be… Jane Rapier gets there with LTD

In the fast-paced day-to-days we often find ourselves in, it’s easy to buzz by someone walking down the street without ever considering where they’re going.

But we’ve all got someplace to be. We’re all going somewhere. 

And if you look close enough, you’ll spot do-gooders quietly, yet persistently, en route to making our communities a better place to be. 

Like Jane Rapier. 

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE
Jane Rapier makes her way on the bus to Creslane Elementary School, where she volunteers.

For 12 years, Rapier, 85, of Cottage Grove, has volunteered at Creslane Elementary School. Donning an Elmo beanie, she’s an eccentric, cheery woman who has no trouble making friends and chatting up strangers.

For 12 years, four days a week, Rapier has traveled in 20-minute stints: 20 minutes on the Lane Transit District Bus, followed by a 20-minute walk to Creslane. After that, it’s a 20-minute walk back to the bus station near Creswell City Hall, followed by another 20-minute ride back to Cottage Grove. 

In 20-minute stints, four days a week, like clockwork, you’ll see Rapier on her way to volunteer at the school’s library.

“Well, what else am I going to do? I’m a person that likes to keep busy, and it seems like a good way to do it,” Rapier said.

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE

Steffanni Lee, Creslane librarian, called Rapier “a sweet spirit to have around.”

“It always amazes me that she chooses Creslane to come to,” she said. “I think part of what keeps her young is her volunteering and her exercise. She’s definitely a picture for what (public transportation is) good for. That’s how she gets around.”

Brian Dorsey has been an LTD bus operator for nearly 10 years. He said learning real people’s stories as to why they’re using public transportation gives him a sense of purpose. 

He recalls that, early in his career, a man did not have bus fare but looked like he was dressed for something important.

“He came up, and he was like, ‘Look, I need to get here because I have a job interview,’ and he had a situation with child services or something, so he was in a tight spot. I was just like, ‘Have a seat. I’ll take you where you need to go,’” he said.

“Fast forward to a little bit after that, he catches me and reminds me of who he is, and he said, ‘By the way, I got that job interview. I was able to keep my kids,’” Dorsey said. “That’s a good example of the things we do that help our community. There’s people who don’t have a ride for whatever reason, and they just need to get around. There’s students that are trying to get their degrees, and (transportation) is one less burden they have to worry about.”

BOB WILLIAMS / THE CHRONICLE
Bus operator Brian Dorsey said Lane Transit District (LTD) bus operators have many responsibilities. “There’s a lot to what we do, and some people don’t see that or realize that. It may not look like we’re doing much, and I’ve actually heard people say, ‘Oh, all you guys do it just drive the bus.’ Yeah, we do. If they only see us sit in the seat and drive, then I think we’re doing our job properly,” Dorsey said.

He said he met Rapier in his first year or two working at LTD and that the duo hit it off immediately. 

“She’s outgoing; she’s comical,” Dorsey said. “I like seeing Jane around Cottage Grove because she makes me smile.”

Rapier has been an avid bus rider since she stopped driving 12 years ago.

“I’m at a point where I’m not safe to drive anymore, and it’s a very convenient way to get around,” Rapier said. “The bus gets me to where I want to go … It’s dependable. You know when you’re going to get there. You know where you’re going.”

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