OpenBag: I Heart M15

O, the bus.  The poor beleaguered bus.  Ridership is down, routes are being cut and perceptions are low.  Sure, sometimes its slow, it’ll leave you waiting, and sometimes, especially when you’re really late, it just doesn’t show up. But for the large number of people who rely on the bus for at least some of their commute, they will tell you – the bus can be pretty great.  You get a view of the street, it can take you directly to your destination and you see the same riders, drivers and other denizens each day.  (And have you ever riden a bus late night? no one’s on it, its like a humongous private taxi.)   But with all these positives, the bus still doesn’t just get a whole lot of love.  Kathleen Fitzgerald and Lizzy Showman set out to build a platform to change that.

The project, entitled I Heart M15, was conceived during professor Stefan Sagmeister’s course “Can Design Touch Someone’s Heart?” at the School of Visual Arts. They created a social network for riders, drivers, residents and whomever else to share stories and experiences regarding the M15. They launched the site by giving a gift for NYC bus drivers—a customized seat cushion. A video of Katie and Lizzy handing out the padded presents to unsuspecting drivers on the M15 line was recently featured on on CNN iReport and has been making the rounds online.

“I Heart M15 is the first social network for the bus community. Here you can share your appreciation for our dedicated M15 drivers or some of the funny stories and videos you’ve experienced on The Second Line. Happy Bussing!”
“Not only is the M15 line the second busiest in the nation, it is also a big part of our own daily commute,” Showman said. “Witnessing the long hours and sometimes hectic atmosphere the M15 bus drivers experience is part of the reason we connected with the bus line and decided to do something to show our appreciation.”

I Heart M15 from Videographer NYC | New York on Vimeo.

Who speaks at OpenBag? Those who are engaged in transportation, programming, mapping, diagramming, public space and urban issues and are taking the creative steps to push their respective field forward. Or just anyone who is doing something we think is interesting – being that we’re all nerds here, it tends to be tech, planning or transit related.
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