Monday, October 25, 2010

The Benefits are Marginal and the Costs are Just Annoying

Every quarter or so I get struck by the inspiration to incorporate the city bus into my transportation planning.  Yay environment, yay the ease and convenience of letting someone else drive for me, and all that.

Every time I do this, I am hopeful of having something remotely resembling the quick, easy, and novel experiences with public transportation that I have had in other places.  I was once pleasantly rewarded when returning after a previous long absence to find that they had finally started announcing when the bus would be approaching the next stop, as well as what the next stop would actually be--since this doesn't coincide with what the maps indicate as often as one would expect.  

Other than that, however, these three things always happen:

1) The bus is at least fifteen minutes late, except for that one time when it was twenty minutes early

2)I get hit on

3)The bus driver is unpleasant to me

(note: number 3) occurs in direct proportion to number 1), but so does passenger irritation, so we're just a whole busload of irritable people)

Couple this with one-hour frequency and a late bus resulting in missed connections at the transit center, and the fact that even without the extra time factored in it still costs me more to ride it than it would to drive, and the obvious question is why the heck would I rationally chose to do this?

Because the commute to my new work is 99% bike-able (flat and bike lanes the whole way, even!), except for that 1% that's on a steep, curvy, narrow road in between two very sharp banks in a location where the speed limit doesn't seem to concern anyone much.  That is incredibly frustrating, because this is about 90% Windowless Basement Office Job and if I can't bike to work then I worry I'm never going to get any outdoor exercise again.  So I was hoping the bus, with its handy snap-em-on bike rack in the front that the city planners keep raving about, could take me across that 1%.  And it can and I care, you know, and really, what's the point in whining about my little annoyances when some folks don't even have a car they have the luxury of trying to leave at home for the sake of air quality, exercise and frugality?

Those three factors still make me not want to do it though--and so I know I won't.  I'll start braving The Narrows instead.

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