What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

20 January 2016

Getting There

It's no secret I mostly travel by bike. It's faster than walking, more fun than taking the bus, and cheaper/happier/blood-pumping-er than driving. Despite being a reluctant car owner (I should have just had my sister put it in her name, really) for a few months now, I remain a transportation cyclist. Plus, bikes usually get better parking spots than cars (and wow, do I ever hate hunting for a parking space with the car).

Not what buses in Austin look like.
However. Sometimes it's so freeing to just take transit. Especially when my destination is downtown--I take something to read en route, and at the other end I just hop off and walk a block or two to my destination. No bike lock, no parking space, no traffic jams, just an easy trip.

Alas, not every trip is downtown. Not every trip can be laissez faire, I'll-get-there-when-I-get-there. People who rely on transit need it to get them to work, to the doctor, to the supermarket, and back home again in a reasonable amount of time.

Unfortunately, there are stigmas attached to public transportation in much of the U.S., including here in Austin, which have contributed to people not riding, or lack of funds for transit agencies, or both. Even more unfortunately, as long as transit is seen as 'for poor people' or taking money away from other forms of transportation-- or both-- it will likely remain underutilized, underfunded, and under-useful.

So, why talk about it here? Because I think the stigmas are silly. I think the aversions are overblown. I think people who complain every day about having to sit in traffic without even bothering to research solutions maybe need a gentle reminder that if they take the bus instead, they can at least get some working or reading or listening to music done while someone else drives, which might get their workday off to a less stressful start.

I would love for public transportation to always show up on time and go all over the place, for the sake of those who have no choice and for those who do, so that it's the easy transportation choice when someone just doesn't want to hunt for a parking space. I don't know how we get there from here. But I wish we would.


Sharlan Proper said...

Well said. I'll be downtown today, near the terminal. I'll pick up a route map.

Barb Chamberlain said...

Absolutely. It extends my bike reach and gives my bike a lift when my legs say no thanks. I carry earbuds so I can use Duolingo to practice my college French a bit, my Kindle to lose myself in a good book, and of course you can blog or tweet while you ride too. And last night I enjoyed a conversation with a 4YO boy who told me all about his jungle full of invisible animal friends. Lots more life lived than if I were clutching the steering wheel and cursing fellow humans.

Su Wilcox said...

@Sharlan: Yay! Your bus system has considerably more room for improvement than mine does, alas, but one can dream.

@Barb: Convos with kids on the bus are the BEST.

RicW said...

Over here they have an app for your phone and can list favourite stops for quick and easy timetable check and a lot offer free WiFi.

J E Oneil said...

It would be really nice if everyone stopped focusing on cars and there was more accessible public transportation. It would definitely need a major shift in American thinking. Plus a total change in infrastructure spending (although we need that anyway).

Su Wilcox said...

@RicW: Austin has an app... um. Ish. Some of the buses have wifi, but they're all the fancy buses.

@JE: Yes! All of those.