Get To Know – Molly Oliver, Vanpool Coordinator, Commuter Connect
1. What is your position and how long have you been with Commuter Connect?
I have worked at Commuter Connect since April of this year as the Outreach Coordinator for Madison, West Marion, and Hamilton Counties. I also am the Vanpool Coordinator.
2. How did you get started in the industry?
I was an AmeriCorps member in 2006 and had just moved to Indianapolis from a small town in Northern Indiana and was in a car accident that totaled my vehicle. I found myself dependent upon public transportation and that is where my passion for alternative forms of transportation began. I rode IndyGo for over a year as my only form of transportation. I landed a job working at Connect2Help 2-1-1 where I wore multiple hats, one of which was providing resources to the community. I often found myself providing information on IndyGo, Commuter Connect, and transportation services for those with disabilities. It was evident that transportation wasn’t available for everyone. From 2-1-1, I was hired on the Outreach Team at IndyGo where I was able to engage with different communities in Indianapolis and see where the needs were for transportation. I was able to be a part of the launch of the Red Line and a part of the conversation for upcoming Bus Rapid Transit Lines. I was offered an opportunity to work with Commuter Connect helping match people with carpools, vanpools, and promoting alternative forms of transportation. It was a great fit for my next step in helping people gain access to transportation. I aim to keep the momentum of seeking transportation for everyone at the forefront of my mind.
3. What is your favorite part of the job?
I love being able to connect people to transportation. It can be a huge barrier when you don’t have access and knowing that I can help connect and hopefully make someone’s life a little easier is a wonderful feeling. I, thankfully, had a friend who came alongside me when I didn’t have transportation and introduced me to IndyGo. I am forever thankful that she helped me gain access to opportunities when she recognized my barrier to transportation.
4. What is your best commuting tip?
I would say that when you are seeking a place to live, look for somewhere that has access to a bus line, bikes, walkable sidewalks, and is close to the places you like to visit regularly with easy access to where you work. You never think about how difficult commuting can be until you realize your only option is to walk or bike and your destination is in another city. I would say planning ahead and knowing your commute options is important.
5. How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and two toddlers playing outside! I also like drive-in movie theaters, late night movies with snacks on the couch, and learning about how people, places, and things work.
6. What is one thing you want to do when the pandemic is over?
I think I would enjoy going to get ice cream with my family, dining in, and then taking a shopping trip for new shoes and toys! We haven’t taken our children anywhere besides the park since the pandemic began so I will find this activity to be very fun!
7. What are you reading or watching right now?
Mainly I read online articles on topics about the pandemic, politics, racial injustice, and children’s stories haha. I do enjoy a few television shows at the moment: In the Dark, The Chi, Ray Donovan, and Baby Shark.
8. What is your favorite destination/activity in Central Indiana?
I am a huge fan of Tibbs Drive-in Theater and Garfield Park. Both hold good memories for me. My husband and I used to frequent Tibbs prior to having children and still go with our children. It hasn’t stopped fitting our lifestyle. Garfield Park is beautiful with so much space to explore and I used to frequent there with my nephew and now with my own children.