I’ve ridden public transportation (or my bicycle) back and forth to the jobs I’ve held for 19 of the past 20 years. And the one year where I had to drive to my job at an ad agency in the ‘burbs, I hate-hate-haaaaated the daily commute. White-knuckle wheel gripping, getting stuck in rush hour logjams on I-75, watching all manner of reckless driving (and mind you this was two decades ago… texting has take distracted driving to an entirely new level).
Riding the bus is so much less stressful. I’m blissfully unaware of traffic as soon as I take a seat, put on my headphones and bury my nose in a magazine or book. It’s not a bus, it’s a chauffeur-driven limo. It’s my Uber, only cheaper.
When people try to guess my age, they usually guess quite a few years lower than I actually am. Some of that is genetics (none of it is Just For Men, I swear), but I think some of it can also be attributed to the fact that my daily commute has been considerably less stressful.
Because I’m a tree-hugger, I also like the fact that public transportation is also better for the environment.
Because I’m a cheapskate, I like the fact that riding the bus saves me cash on gas, parking, insurance and wear and tear on our cars.
Because I grew up in Arkansas, where snow was a rarity, I feel much safer riding inside a ten-ton machine instead of driving a puny car when winter weather hits.
But retired police officer turned urban living/mass transit advocate Derek Bauman brought up an interesting point that I’d never considered about public transportation: it also saves lives. Please read his great CityBeat article here (a quick excerpt is below). It’s written about Cincinnati, where we just added a streetcar to our public transportation options, but it applies in any major metropolitan area.
Buses and trains have fatality rates far below cars and trucks. A 2013 study in Research in Transportation Economics titled “Comparing the Fatality Risks in United States Transportation Across Modes and Over Time” found that busses and trains have a fatality rate of between .11 and .15 per billion passenger miles, while cars and light trucks have a fatality rate of 7.3 per billion passenger miles.