Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The wonders of public transportation

I used to dream about some above ground tunnel that could shuttle me "to and fro" school when I was around 10. I think I was imaging something like the Jetsons tunnel.  While Cincinnati has buses downtown they don't have a good public system.  There wasn't a bus that went from I lived to downtown for example, in fact there wasn't a single public bus where I lived.  They don't have trains or subways either.  You either have a car or you don't get around in Cincinnati.

I live in Montreal now and the are very well equipped with buses, trains and the subway. People want to live close to public transit and having a train or metro station nearby means increased property rates.  Half the people I work with take the metro and the others either taxi or drive.  Driving yourself is quite expensive here, due to parking being both expensive and hard to find.  The city encourages the use of metro and the rates of metro passes are subsidized.

A lot of people don't care much for the metro but I love it.  I live at the end of the metro line and then work all the way on the other side of town.  I average 2 hours a day on public transport.  Normally I get a seat because of where I live and where I work, so this means that each trip I get a chance to catch up on a good book, listen to a pod cast, or my new favorite artist.  It's time I claim for myself.   I get to think and plan my day if need be, and I let the conductor drive.

It's a time saver too depending on where you live and where you are going.

The financial benefits of using the metro are huge.  At the moment my partner and I sharing our bus pass because he is working the night shift while I work the day shift.  A monthly pass costs us 72 dollars.  We use the pass 80-90 times a month on average.  If we bought each pass individually this would cost 3 dollars a trip.  Even if we both worked day jobs and therefore had to buy two passes, we'd still save money with the metro. If I parked downtown the parking would average 15 dollars a day.  I'd have to keep leaving work to pay the meter or move my car.  If I forgot to do that, I would get a ticket that would cost 50-80 dollars.  Plus, I would have gas costs, repair costs, and time lost looking for parking.  I think its simplified my life taking the metro and I know I save a lot of money with it.

Public transport is the great equalizer.  It allows someone with minimal resources to go to and from work everyday.  I can't imagine my life with out it.  I wouldn't work at my current job which is too far away to consider walking. It allows my family to save money to spend on other things.  As an example we'd probably not been able to pay for that cruise we took this year had we not both been able to use public transport.  Its also a great source of entertainment for my daughter, who raves about the bus and metro.  If you haven't tried it you definitely should see what it is like in your city.

If your public transports not safe or you don't have one.  You may want to consider moving.

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