I feel so… non-American.

You’ll never guess what I did on Monday.

My co-worker and I bought a commuter sticker. I found out that I can ride the bus to campus for $10/semester with my Campus ID card. The bus leaves one block from my house, drops me off on the opposite site of Campus and I’ll have to walk about 15 minutes across to my office. Awesome! I totally want to do that [at least half of the time]…. and I feel so non-American right now.

While everybody is bitching about the soaring gas prices, I keep thinking to myself…. gas is cheap, people. Have you been to Europe lately?

And still. Taking public transportation does not seem to be an option for most people. I have to say that I feel quite lucky to live in one of the few American cities where the public transportation system is somewhat decent. There is a light rail net and a relatively good bus system.
Did I mention that I took the bus to the airport a couple of weeks ago for the fare of only $1.50?
I really don’t mind using public transportation, in fact, I enjoy it and it feels like the right thing to do. Public transportation is what I used to get to and home from College back in the days and I never really owned my own car in Germany [except for a couple of years when I shared a car with my sister].

They do have to improve the bus schedules though: To get to work somewhat on time, I have to catch the very first bus in the morning which leaves at 6:40 a.m. and gets me to work about 20 minutes later than I usually start, but that’s fine. No big deal. The problem is: If I work late, which I usually do, I have to leave at exactly 6 p.m., because – you can probably guess it – the last bus back to downtown runs at 6:20 p.m. LAST bus of the day. After that, it’s walking or hitch-hiking.

I mean, this is ridiculous. Seriously. 6:20 p.m.? How many students leave Campus by that time? How many employees might work later than that?
So why not have the bus run later?

Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot. The majority of people are still using their cars. That’s why. I am so stupid.

  1. Wow, that truly is cheap and sounds like a great alternative to taking the car. If they would just run a little longer. maybe they will in the future if more people change their behaviour along with gas price increases. Gothenburg has a really bad public transport system for being in Europe. All buses go via the center and seldom and often enough delayed. It’s very expensive, too. So if you need to go from the peripherie to another place in the peripherie it may take you 1,5 hours compared to 15 min by car. That’s why we keep on taking the car and continue whining about gas prices :-(

  2. Wow, thats great about the bus ticket.
    I whish something like this would exist here.
    I could take the train, but I would have to pay 120€ per month and I am currently chaning my car over to gas. So it is cheaper for me to drive.
    And: the train in the morning is no problem, but in the afternoon I could take on at 15:30 (too early) or at 17:30 (too late). And there is none in between.
    And: I would have to walk bewteen 15 and 20 minutes from the station to my work.
    All in all: I keep on driving by car and be more independent.

  3. They should really improve public transportation here and put high taxes on SUVs and other cars which literally “eat” gas. If people think they need such big cars, they should pay the price for it. Raise the gas price here in the States a little bit more and people are going to think.

  4. if the bus system would be better scheduled in my area i wouldn’t have a problem using puplic transportation, but since it never was and prolla never will, since it didn’t change in like 20 years, i am depended on my car. but since i can walk a lot of things, i rather do that. i am glad mike is very non-american when it comes to that, since he knows that americans better stop bitching about gas prices, compared to us poor europeans;-) (1,52€/l) craaazeeeyy!!! and he likes to take the train or the subway.

  5. wow you are lucky! i would never take the bus here cause its very unsafe. just as walking through some parts of our city. well, lets say J would not let me take the bus, i would probably try it. or the bicyle if i had one. but then i would be stuck at work with the baby and without transportation…so its tough. but i am proud of you for being a part of a greener earth! :) love ya

  6. Unfortunately, most USA towns don’t have public transport. I live in the back woods of New Hampshire and there is nothing here, but me and the Moose!
    A transport to Logan Airport would be about $45.00 each way. Cheaper than driving and parking there.
    My big thing this year is to do more planning and car pooling with Hubby on things.

  7. Yeah for doing something for the environement!!!I use my bike all the time even though we have very good public transportation here in Heidelberg but I just feel better using my bike! Great workout, too! =) But I guess if you would use a bike you´d be even more un-american! ;-D

  8. 1) People need to stop bitching about gas prices and forwarding those stupid emails that say “don’t buy gas on this day” or “don’t buy gas from company x or y”. That will send a message, blah blah blah…

    2) Take a bus. Walk. Bike. Carpool. Give it a try. There’s nothing to lose. Sure it takes a change in lifestyle but you can read on the bus, get some fresh air while walking, possibly even lose some weight. It’s the habit of DRIVING EVERYWHERE that people need to break.

    3) Governments really need to take the lead here. People aren’t going to use inefficient public transportation… there needs to be more investment in alternatives so that we can wean ourselves off this gas we’re so dependent on.

    Finding alternatives isn’t complicated… you just need to do it! But yes, it is a change in lifestyle. Suburbs are currently built to cater to those with cars. How often to you see a bus weaving it’s way down those oh so lovely bendy suburb roads??

    Gas isn’t going to get any cheaper because GAS IS RUNNING OUT! There is a finite supply and we’re all going to have to learn to live without it. Possibly during our lifetime.

    Can you tell that you’ve struck a chord? Hope I’m not to preachy… :)

  9. taking a bus in PHX is pretty unsafe as well. also, you gotta change bus lines a couple times to get anywhere and the different bus schedules are not coordinated very well.. meaning you usually wait an hour for a connection. so yeah, no bus for me, but good for you that you can save some gas money!!

  10. Good for you Sannie! Berkeley and the Bay Area of San Francisco is pretty safe to take public transportation – I am just too lazy to figure out the plan so I rather walk.

  11. Out here, I wouldn’t even know where the next bus stop is, to be honest with you. In Manhattan though, I usually ride the subway and/or the bus. You are right. It’s fun and it feels right. But sometime, I have to admit, when I’m in a rush, I just hail a cab because it’s easier.

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