Finding love on the bus

Feb. 20, 2013 @ 05:15 AM

Travis Pierce and Tamel Evans have found their way to a wedding chapel through a PART Express bus.
Five years ago, Pierce and Evans met on the black-and-red bus while making the same 18-mile commute between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. At first they exchanged a few words and glances, then spent months in conversation sitting next to each other. They started dating a little more than four years ago and will marry this spring, all thanks to the power of mass transit.
“We consider it as a blessing,” Evans told The High Point Enterprise. “You never know where you may find love at, and we found it on the PART bus.”
Evans, 32, and Pierce, 30, lived in Greensboro but worked in Winston-Salem when they met at a Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation bus terminal. The two graduates of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro decided to give the region’s mass transit system a try to save money on gas.
Pierce and Evans made their commutes along the same route at the same time, but for different reasons. Evans was traveling from Greensboro to downtown Winston-Salem for a job at GMAC Insurance, while Pierce was traveling between the two cities while working at Winston-Salem State University.
Actually, a chance, passing encounter between Pierce and Evans at a mall in Charlotte, where they now live, led to them making a connection at the PART Express bus stop.
During Memorial Day weekend in 2007, Evans and a friend were at the Charlotte shopping center when she noticed Pierce in the concourse. They both looked at each other, wondering about the odds of a such a meeting.
“The following week, I saw him at the PART bus,” Evans remembers. “And I said, ‘Didn’t I just see you this past weekend in the mall?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, you did.’ It just started from there with small talk.”
Evans, who typically read the Bible or listened to music on headphones on the bus, instead started sitting with Pierce. They got to know each other as friends. Indeed, Pierce was informally dating other young women, and recalls seeking advice from Evans about dating.
“I was giving him advice and didn’t think anything of it,” she said.
By July, the casual dates that Pierce had gone on hadn’t panned out into anything special. So Pierce began wondering if his seat mate on the PART Express bus might be the lady for him.
“We really had a friendship, and we were light-hearted about it,” he said.
As they spent months getting to know each other, Pierce and Evans began drifting toward another perspective on their friendship. But Pierce was still hesitant to ask for that first date.
“I kept wondering, when is he going to ask me out?” Evans said.
Finally, in November 2007, Pierce took the plunge. He asked, she accepted. Once they started seeing each other regularly, the relationship that had inched along through friendship became something permanent quickly.
On New Year’s Eve 2007, Pierce asked Evans to go to a party with him to welcome in 2008.
“At that party, we had a good time. At the end of the party, she said, ‘I don’t think I want to be single anymore.’ And I said, ‘Hey, sounds good to me.’ We’ve been together ever since,” Pierce said.
They got engaged July 1, 2010, and their wedding is April 20.
The irony of how the couple met each other isn’t lost on Pierce. In this age of social media and dating websites, Pierce said, he and Evans fell in love the old-fashioned way.
“It one of those classic things,” Pierce said. “To me, something like this happened back in the ‘50s or ‘60s — a throwback.”
As far as PART staff can determine, no two people who’ve met on a PART Express bus have ended up getting married.
Pierce and Evans are arranging with PART staff to return to the Triad from Charlotte before their ceremony. They plan to have a picture taken on their bus. The photo would become a treasured inclusion in their wedding mementos. 
“It has sentimental value to us,” Evans said. “If it had not been for the PART bus, we probably would have never met.”

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528