Thursday, November 20, 2008

Riding The Bus

Amanda's right that there's a degree of social stigma attached to bus riders, but it's also the case that short distance buses aren't... awesome. They're slow. They stop and start a lot. It isn't a comfortable ride. You have to pay attention so you don't miss your stop. Schedules aren't always followed very closely. They just aren't an extremely pleasant way to get around.

But the general issue - do people stick with public transit - has a lot to do with whether people have the potential to reduce the number of cars in their household. Much of the costs of using an automobile are fixed - insurance, payment/lease, etc... - and aren't reduced (or not reduced by much) if you start commuting with mass transit. Maybe you save a bit relative to your gas cost, but those savings for most people aren't going to be tremendous. You also might enjoy the train a bit more than driving, but the real savings come when you can actually get rid of a car. And in most places in the country, that doesn't come close to being an option. Still, I highly recommend looking for places where it is! But I won't force you to. Not yet, anyway. Not yet.

...addding that while I live in a zero car household, that likely wouldn't be the case if not for a quality local car sharing program. Cars are very useful things! Even in my urban paradise they come in handy quite frequently.