By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
It is one thing to travel around the country, exploring the transit systems found in the nation’s various metropolitan areas. It’s quite another thing to embark upon that journey when you’re 83 years old.
Yet that’s the story of John Moore, the self-dubbed “Travelin’ Grampa,” who publishes a newsletter covering the country’s mass transit networks. The octogenarian’s monthly publication, which is also called The Travelin’ Grampa, focuses on how the various systems support senior citizen passengers, with the newsletter providing helpful hints and resources for older residents. The issues, which typically include eight pages of articles, photos and helpful facts, have been in circulation for nearly a decade now, and are aimed at helping seniors who rely on public transit.
Moore has been involved in the publishing industry for nearly his entire life, either as a journalist, editor or printer. He earned his start in the business early—very early.
“My dad told me I put my first newspaper out when I was nine years old,” said Moore, who resides just outside of Philadelphia. “I don’t quite remember that, but you get the idea. This is something I’ve been doing for a long, long time.”
Moore worked for several trade publications during his lengthy career in the industry, a situation that offered him the opportunity to travel across the country. He said that every time he visited a new place, he would explore its public transportation system.
“I don’t know why, but I’ve just always enjoyed public transportation,” said Moore. “There is something about taking the bus or the train or the streetcar that really appeals to me.”
When he retired nine years ago from his full-time job, Moore was still itching to stay busy. A few friends suggested various ideas for his post-career life, but after careful consideration, Moore decided on the “Travelin’ Grampa” idea.
“I thought I could help some seniors out and write about the things I care about,” said Moore. “I didn’t want to just hang out and do nothing. I wanted to die with my boots on.”
The newsletters are more than just tidbits for seniors. Last month’s issue zeroed in on the public transportation options offered in New Orleans and east Texas, where Moore was in town to experience the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Moore covered the ins-and-outs of the Jefferson County Transit and New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority’s bus systems, while also touching upon more esoteric topics, like the origins of the word “krewe,” a local term for groups or organizations involved in the Mardi Gras parade.
Moore is now in the Bay Area, where he plans to spend 10 days exploring the public transit system, from the buses operated by SamTrans, Muni and the Valley Transportation Authority, to the trains run by Caltrain and BART and the ferries systems operated by Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry. Those experiences—plus information gleaned from interviews with public transit representatives—will help comprise the material for his March newsletter.
Because he has relatives in the region, Moore is a frequent traveler to the Bay Area. He said he always enjoys a trip out West.
“Public transportation seems to run great out here,” said Moore. “The buses are clean, the trains run on time and the connections seem to work out pretty well. I truly look forward to my visits to the Bay Area.”