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Take the Bus


yabadabapal

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I know gas prices are coming down but I wanted to report that I have only driven my car once this month. I take the bus everywhere or the train. We have lots of trains in Portland. Cost wise though it has added up to be about the same. $120.00 dollars in public transportation costs and or 120 if I had driven my car. But I did save on parking costs. Other savings theoretically could be less aggravation, no risk to accidents, social time meeting and talking to strangers at the bus stops and on the bus. Downside is as it was last night. I started work at around 12 noon and didn't finish until 4 this mourning. Buses were not running so I started to walk the 5 miles home until I was meeting to many doped up crazies on my way, so I jumped into a cab.

Would any of you consider taking the bus instead of driving.

When is the last time you used public transportation.

How good is the public transportation where you live and work.

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russell_bynum

About 8 years ago, we lived in Orange County and I had a job in LA. I used Public Transit sometimes.

 

It took longer than driving due to all the stops.

 

It did cost a bit less (not a lot, but a little).

 

It was a big pain in the ass having to be on a rigid schedule.

 

It sucked standing out on the street corner in the rain as the busses would drive right on by instead of stopping like they were supposed to (Usually because they were full.)

 

I've never encountered a more dense gathering of incredibly rude people as on a city bus. The doors would open and I'd have people throwing elbows in my ribs to get on ahead of me.

 

Once enough busses went by without stopping that by the time I got to the train station, the last train had already left and I had to make other arrangements.

 

Then there's the fact that the decay of Western Civilization seems to congregate at mass transit stops. My favorite was the lady with a walker who would sit on the sidewalk begging for money. When her shift was up, she'd stand up, fold up the walker, count her "earnings" and walk away (without the aid of the walker.)

 

The bus was by far the worst experience. Followed by the subway and then the Metrolink train. Even though the train was worlds better than the bus or subway, it still sucked. There would either be some jerk sitting next to you stealing the armrest and read a newspaper with his arms fully extended so he took up half of your seat and you were sitting there staring at his sleeve. Or there would be some asshat sitting next to you talking on the phone as loud as possible. On the off chance that you found a quiet seat where you could sit quietly and read a book/listen to music on your headphones, or get some work done, some sociopath would sit down next to you and try to strike up a conversation.

 

I wanted to like public transit. Keep the miles off my vehicles, save the stress of dealing with traffic, etc. But when it takes longer, doesn't save me much money, and is a giant pain in the ass? No thanks.

 

The biggest problem with public transit? The public.

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I live in the way out 'burbs of Chicago and take the commuter train nearly every day. I figure I've done about a quarter million miles on the train over the past 20 years. That may be a cause for celebration or a reason to cry . . . I'm not sure. But the convenience is great and the cost is negligible; I can't imagine driving to work.

 

Chicago has a public transportation system that is extremely comprehensive, but, at best, utilitarian. The trains and buses in the city are noisy and not always terribly clean. But they're fairly plentiful.

 

The availability of public transportation diminishes in direct proportion to the distance from the City of Chicago, so buses are pretty few and far between out here. Having said that, the regional commuter rail system that radiates out from the stations in downtown Chicago is clean, efficient, and reliable. The express trains run at 70 mph-plus during much of the trip. They're definitely getting more crowded.

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Would any of you consider taking the bus instead of driving.

When is the last time you used public transportation.

How good is the public transportation where you live and work.

1) No

2) 12 years ago in Hawaii on vacation (a bus) when we had not rented a car.

3) Varies between unusable to nonexistant where I live / work

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There is little public transportation where I live as it is basically rural and isolated from public trans (except small local commuter van schedules). That said, I went to a Caps hockey game last weekend and drove the hour drive to most the outlying Metro station and then took it.

 

A few years ago and for a limited time, I commuted 82 miles one way. There was no combination of public trans that didn't take 3 hours one way. But if I had lived inside that urban area, I would taken public transportation if it was efficient enough (i.e., ran often enough to be convenient, was cost-effective, saved headache of commuting rather than created new ones).

 

So, if you are asking whether I would do it out of a sense of duty or conservation ... well, let me be honest and say that wouldn't be anywhere near my primary motivation.

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My main problem is that I could walk to work faster than going through all the transfers to get to work via bus. I could walk the 4.2 miles or travel 30 miles via bus and make 3 transfers and still have to walk a mile.

 

The last time I successfully used public transport was the subways in Manhattan nearly 2 years ago (I actually really like the subway there. I still think I like the Tube better, but not by much.) We did try to take a trolley in SF last year, but it was too full, so we walked.

 

The light rail in SLC isn't bad (though Portland's is better) but I haven't taken it since getting a motorcycle as it's more convenient and cheaper.

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No public transport where I live and work, in the country outside Baltimore/Washington. OTOH when going to New York, we drive the car to the train station, covered parking at AMTRAK station at BWI airport, and take the train. In New York a taxi to the hotel with bags, then subway to anywhere else.

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We did try to take a trolley in SF last year, but it was too full, so we walked.

 

Many of the individual systems here aren't bad and have good coverage. The problem is, they're made up of many individual systems.

 

It's a 12-mile drive to work for me. However, to do it by public transportation, I have to take a 4-mile SF Muni bus ride the wrong way into San Francisco. Then, I have to walk through the horrifying Transbay Terminal. Then, it's 4 blocks to a different transit system, BART. I can take BART back across the bay, through Oakland and into Berkeley, after which I have to go find my employer's shuttle stop. Then, after waiting 10 or 20 minutes for the shuttle, I have a 5-10 minute ride up to my complex (and a short walk to my building.)

 

Last time I did it, it was around 2 hours end-to-end to take public transportation versus 20 to 25 minutes driving. I'm not willing to donate more than 3 hours of my day to keep a car (or motorcycle) off the road.

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The cost, inconvenience, inefficiency and incredible poor manners of about 10% of the other users of the system, is what has largely kept me off the transit system in the Greater Vancouver area in the 25 years I have lived here. These reasons led me to commute by motorcycle in city traffic all year in all weather for 5 years. Now I ride when the weather is at least mediocre, and drive the truck otherwise.

Example (one way times and distances): my current drive (RT when the weather isn't too bad) is 25km to work, and usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Transit would take 90 minutes best case because of routing and connections.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Back when I lived in New Jersey and worked in NYC it was simple. I could take a bus within 1 block of my house and then a subway from the bus terminal to my workplace, again a 1 block walk.

 

I moved to the burbs and it was pretty much the same.

 

Then I moved to Tennessee and there was zero available to get me to the airport.

 

Then I moved to Florida. To make my 4.4 mile by car trip to work, I would have to take no less than two buses and would still have to walk 2.2 miles of that trip. There is a commuter rail station about 1.2 miles from my apartment but it doesn't stop at my cross street for work and would leave me about 5 miles away.

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I live probably 8 kilometers from Frank, and the transit system is hopeless for me. The system works well if you live and work within a certain corridor. Non of it was designed to be Eco friendly, as they have used millions of tons of concrete, and switched cleaner natural gas powered buses to diesel buses, which they have stated produce more pollutants, but are more cost efficient over the life expectancy of the bus

 

I would gladly pay the same costs for transit that I pay for driving, if the system was more efficient

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The transit system (buses) in my area do not support my commute schedule when I do go into work. The other three days a week my commute is 30 steps from my bed to office.

 

I do use the bus when going to the airport, it's quick and saves on the parking expense. If Seattle had a train system similar to Boston's I would be more apt to commute via public transit; We had all we could drink at the Samuel Adams Brewery and still had no trouble figuring our way back to our hotel.

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The other three days a week my commute is 30 steps from my bed to office.

 

Good point - my team at work have been on a one day a week work from home program for about a year now, and we are looking to expand that to 2 days a week each. Works for my crew - they are IT techies, we have good conectivity to our systems from anywhere and we serve a nation wide company so we're working on the phone a lot of the time anyway. The downside for me - I don't get to do this, I need to see each member of my gang at least once a week in person so I get to go in to the office every day.

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Nice n Easy Rider

Would any of you consider taking the bus instead of driving.

When is the last time you used public transportation.

How good is the public transportation where you live and work.

 

Not if I can ride my bike & find a parking space.

Probably about a year ago.

The public transportation is great where I live except it is limited on nights & weekends. Chapel Hill buses are fare-free. You just get on/off whenever you want. Carried nearly 7 million riders this year - not bad for a town of 50K. But I work in Durham - about 10 miles away - and the public transportation between towns is poor.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Would any of you consider taking the bus instead of driving.

When is the last time you used public transportation.

How good is the public transportation where you live and work.

 

Masako and I went to a U of M football game a year ago. The Big House seats nearly 110K people, and parking anywhere near there on game day is an expensive/tedious proposition. We decided to park for free at the shopping mall a mile and a half south of the stadium and take the bus in.

 

We got on the right bus route - but going in the wrong direction. The bus driver himself was fantastic, he saw we wanted to go to the stadium, realized we were going in the wrong direction, and immediately handed us a transfer token and figured out the best place to drop us off to catch a different-route bus that would take us there.

 

He dropped us off, and we examined the schedule for the new bus: it wouldn't come by for about 45 minutes. Screw this, we said, and walked the two miles to the stadium, meeting our friends quite a bit later than expected. (Ordinarily we wouldn't have minded walking even the original 1.5 miles, but we were carrying chairs and beer and stuff for a tailgate party.)

 

And that was the last time I used Ann Arbor's bus system. Russell pegged one problem with public transit, i.e. the public. The other, IMO, is the sparseness of service: buses come too infrequently around here.

 

Also, on workdays I go out for lunch. If I'm on foot, I pretty much have to choose between the four restaurants in the strip-mall next door; that would get old after a while. Car? Far greater options.

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Here in Atlanta I rarely use public transportation. It is completely useless to me where I live and work. My hour commute to work would be more like 3 hours of transferring buses and waiting with weirdos.

 

My employer does organize car pools and shuttle buses from many suburbs. They even provide the big vans and gas, which is awesome. Unfortunately, the timing and locations don't really work for me, but they keep adding new ones all the time so I might switch.

 

When we lived in Skokie, IL we commuted on the train to downtown Chicago every day. I really liked that. Then it was about $1.50 each way and dropped me off a block from work. Chicago's transit system worked pretty well for us.

 

I'll never forget standing on the elevated platforms waiting to change trains. Some days it would be so cold, -10 F with the wind whipping along at 30 mph off the lake. 10 minutes of waiting felt like forever those days.

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About 2.5 miles from work. Bicycle is an option. Walking is doable as well. No bad neighboorhoods, no highways, no traffic.

 

About 60 years ago there was street car service on main street and 2 other parallel street before many owned cars. No need for it now. I think some would cosider a train from some of the nieghbooring towns that are 20-40 miles away. There's plenty of good rail between them and we even have a historic RR station from about 1880 that could use to be renovated. I'd like ot see light rail service return to some rural communities.

 

If pressed, the wife and I could car pool or some people in town could probably share rides... but the commutes are so short for most, why bother. Even at $10/gallon gas for my commute would still only cost around $1400/year even if I go home for lunch each day.

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Quote

"The Great American Streetcar Scandal [1] is a conspiracy where streetcar systems throughout the United States were dismantled and replaced with buses in the mid-20th century as a result of illegal actions by a number of prominent companies, including National City Lines (NCL), a holding company owned in part by General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California and Phillips Petroleum."

 

I thought this was interesting. Here is the rest of the article if interested.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy

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When is the last time you used public transportation.

Today, about 3 hours ago.

 

Just started using the Edmonton Transit System about 3 weeks ago when we moved. We intend to use it almost exclusively. And my new employer pays for a monthly pass on the bus and the Light Rail Transit systems.

 

How good is the public transportation where you live and work.

Excellent, and Edmonton is expanding their LRT closer to our home. Good access to public transportation was one of our key requirements when we were searching for a house to rent in Edmonton.

 

And I have to tell you, if you want a job where you can drive something big really really fast in the city - get a job as an Edmonton bus driver! Those guys scream around town. Much much faster than you could routinely get away with in a cage.

 

 

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The biggest problem with public transit? The public.

Well, true, but it must be to some extent which public where. Because, much to my surprise, and against my expectations actually, what you describe hasn’t been my experience (so far anyway) here in Edmonton. Everyone seems polite and courteous.

 

My biggest surprise – I expected to hear near constant cell phone ringing and conversations. But there seems to be some unwritten rule that phones are to be on ‘vibe’ and conversations, if any, be brief. I’ve even heard a couple people after taking a silent call say, ‘I’m on the bus, I’ll have to call you back.’ Amazing.

 

 

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We have a lot of etiquette rules in Portland as well. In fact if Im not mistaken if you are screaming on the trains or bus you get a disturbance ticket and are removed from the bus or train. Its 9PM here and I am leaving home again to go back to work until around 2AM and will be on the bus again. Its going to be another "hard days night"(Beatles). Now I finally understand what they were talking about. Are there any famous songs about taking the bus.

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Bus Rider

the Guess Who, (Winter)

 

 

Get up in the mornin' get on the bus

Get up in the mornin' like the rest of us

Places to go, important people to meet

Better not get up or you might lose your seat

Bus Rider

 

Leave the house at six o'clock to be on time

Leave the wife and kids at home to make a dime

Grab your lunch pail check for mail in your slot

You won't get your cheque if you don't punch the clock

Bus Rider

 

Grab the evenin' paper and sit down in your chair

Grab yourself a taupe, cause you're losing' your hair

Doesn't matter what you do you've nothin' to lose

I'm so awful goddamn glad I'm not in your shoes

Bus Rider

 

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Hop on the bus, Gus

 

You don't need to discuss much

 

Just drop off the key, Lee

 

And set yourself free.

 

 

Two of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", Paul Simon

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