Public transportation

I think I figured out why so very little people take public transportation in this country, even when it is available. It’s just a big huge pain in the butt, this is why.

Who in their right mind would give up the convenience of their car in exchange for a public vehicle which is notoriously behind schedule (or early, which is even more annoying! Bus driver, you have to freakin’ wait at the bus station, if you’re early) and operated by someone who obviously won his license in the lottery and is constantly switching between stepping on the gas and slamming on the brakes. No, I have not puked today. And I wasn’t planning on it, thankyouverymuch.

Admittedly, I am exaggerating. Although the bus driver who drove me home a couple of days ago was a little wacko and another time I missed the bus (or rather the bus “missed” me), because it was ahead of schedule and didn’t bother to wait at the bus station until the scheduled time.

I’ve been really trying to take public transportation more in the last few weeks months and – as I mentioned before – with a $10 semester ticket obtainable through the university, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I think, as a European, I am more used and willing to accommodate myself to the bus schedule, rather than expecting the bus schedule to accommodate my needs. I do however see (albeit not quite understand) why so many refuse to take public transportation, unless they absolutely have to.

It’s inconvenient and sometimes unreliable and for many people that is reason enough.  Oh, and of course the stigma… oh, the stigma… because only poor people take public transportation, right?  WRONG.

But rumors are tenacious.

And on top of that,  instead of improving connections and expanding the schedule, the cities are cutting back on bus routes and frequency. How the heck do they expect to attain more customers?
Oh right, they don’t expect that. Like, at all.

  1. How frequent do the buses come for you?

    Here in the DC metro area it is completely different. They just evaluated the route that I am on and actually added more buses. Right now there are buses coming every 5 to 10 min during rush hour. It's pretty nice. Of course they are late or early because of the tremendous traffic in DC but the frequency makes up for it.

  2. I remember how completely awful bus service was where I lived in the States. They were operated for the university students and only ran Monday-Friday. Too bad if you didn't want to stay at home all weekend long. I am so glad all of my friends there had cars. But my roommate and I hardly ever got to do anything just the two of us because neither of us had a car and going anywhere in town could easily take up to an hour when it was only a 10-15 minute drive.

  3. Oh…now you're talking about something I know a little something about! I have worked in Public Transit for the last 5 years.

    One of the main reasons that it is so bad and inconvenient here in the U.S. is because roughly over half the public funds (both federally and locally) allocated towards transportation is funneled into state and local highway. The money that a transit district charges for a single bus ride isn't even enough to pay the driver. A transit company relies almost entirely on the public funds that they receive to operate.

    The general public normally doesn't tend to care for and/or champion an institution that is not a necessity to them and even less, if it only benefits the lower class.

    As for the stigma…that can only be turned around with more money to have and maintain rail that will appeal more to the young working adult!

    SORRY!! I had a lot of info….I hope it somewhat helped!

  4. Wow, this sounds really bad. However, public transport has been cutting back in Germany, too. Where I live, trains are always behind schedule, except when you're late and need them to be. Plus, you won't find a seat, even more you'll be lucky if you get in the train, because it's so full…

  5. Oh I hear you on this again ;( I tried to take the bus a couple of times because of the weather condition but now I'm back on the motorcycle….It's too dificult and annoying to take the bus and it takes forever!

  6. dackelprincessmaribeth

    January 28, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I know here in the northeast, the biggest problem for many people is that they are worried about the crime, the grime and the overall safety. When I lived in Boston, I always felt like I was risking life and limb taking the T. I was, in fact, mugged outside of a T station.
    In New Hampshire we have small buses, mostly for the elderly. In Concord, they do have some bus service, but it's very limited.
    In fact most of Massachusetts and New Hampshire tore up their perfectly good train tracks and made nature bicycle trails! Nice, but let's face it, pretty crazy when you think of the ability to move people from point A to pint B efficiently.
    I think that the driving your own car epidemic is world wide.

  7. you are SO right. I just don't get it. I wanted to take the bus one time but it would have taken me 1 hour and 50 minuts to university. I only need 30 minuts by car. Why in the world would I wanna use the bus? (and the bus ticket was almost as much as gas)

  8. I'm not a huge fan of riding public transit but I've been doing it for about 9 years. We have two cars but as if I'm going to pay $20/day to park in downtown Edmonton when I can take the bus for $40/month, ya know? It does take a lot longer (an hour to get to and from work on the bus as opposed to 15 minutes in a car) but I deal. And you meet some pretty interesting people on the bus, ha ha … It's always an adventure :)

  9. I can finally join your site!! Hooray!! :-)

  10. I installed the “Join this site”-widget just for you ;)

  11. Yeah, I deal, too. It doesn't bother me as much that it takes longer, it only annoys me if I don't catch the last bus or something like that.

  12. Thank you for the input, Caro. That was helpful.

  13. I guess it really depends on where you live, too.

  14. It would be interesting to see what you would say if had a chance to use public transport in Ukraine. :-D And lots of people just do not have an opportunity to drive their car, because they don't have one.

  15. How is the public transportation in Ukraine?

    In Germany, I didn't own a car and used my bike and public transportation ALL THE TIME. It was just normal.

  16. The buses here in Richmond are SO scary. I would fear for my life if I had to ride in one. One bus recently hit and killed a woman crossing a crosswalk in downtown Richmond. And, as sad and horrible as it was, I wasn't that surprised.

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