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.

15 February 2017

Shuttling Between

Once upon a time, I rode a Greyhound bus from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Indianapolis, Indiana, and then a few days later back to Lubbock, Texas. Believe me when I tell you: I never, ever want to do that again.

So... this is not a bus station. But this pic is from a trip to
Dallas last year, and at the end of the trip I took the train
back downtown to get back on my Megabus home.
That's what this photo is from.
However, I do willingly hop on cross-country buses for short segments between Midwest cities, including the Greyhound from time to time. It seems the presence of low-cost carriers (near me, we have Megabus and Barons Bus) have pushed Greyhound to up its game from back when they were the only outfit in town. I don't know how other folks make the choice between the two, but I choose Megabus when I have a couple weeks' advance notice and they have reserved seats available. Megabus is great for saving some cash, but is less great when passengers spread out over two seats and insist that their seatmate is just in the bathroom. To avoid a Forrest Gump scene: if I can't get a designated seat, I don't ride. So in those instances, or if I have to do a last-minute thing, I choose Greyhound. 

And I will add, while on the subject, that my last couple of Greyhound trips have been fantastic. Agents in the bus stations and drivers on the buses are all wonderful. However, that won't stop me from choosing Megabus when it can save me some cash. (I have no opinion on Barons Bus yet. Maybe soon.) The benefit of any of them, of course, is that I can read or sleep or whatever instead of driving.

This is on my mind right now because I went to Greenfield last weekend to visit my living grandmother and visit the grave of my not-living grandmother, but I wanted to be back in Cincinnati on time for church on Sunday. No bus option worked for me getting back without causing massive inconvenience to my family, so I took a Zipcar instead. I had the flexibility to get back on time, but unfortunately it costs four times as much as the Megabus on a busy day. It is as Terry Pratchett wisely noted in Unseen Academicals, "The less the money, the slower the travel," although when I consider that I'll have to work four times as long to have a little bit of flexible time--for most visits, it's not going to be worth that tradeoff.

Obviously, I want transit in the U.S. to keep getting better, faster, and more convenient, without sacrificing affordable prices. An Amtrak that came through Cincinnati not in the middle of the night, and that maybe would take fewer than 14 hours to get me to D.C. (plus another five hours to NYC, for goodness' sake), would be a dream. What would it take to get that?

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