We'll get there when we get there
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
My son LOVES buses. Telling him we are going to take a bus ride is like telling him we are going on a rollercoaster. I guess in San Francisco they are somewhat similar.
I have had a more mixed relationship with public transportation. I took it everwhere growing up. In Europe, public transportation is in general much better defined, has broader coverage, is more reliable, cleaner, faster, and cheaper than here. It was a luxury to have a car there. And a car was for long distance trips, not a run around the city.
Over the years, I’ve tried to keep some of this attitude towards public transportation alive in me, but the truth is, the buses here are dirty, infrequent, and the price keeps going up. And my mornings before work often turned into work at home and then race to work time: the bus prevented me from being totally plugged in, something I could ill-afford.
Once I had a kid, I focused more on walking +car than car+bus. A lot of my errands became closer, local. My pharmacy, my grocery store,the bakery, the green grocer, the book store, are all in walking distance. I know where the potholes are, which side of the street is better for walking. I have watched a mural being painted, Jaime at La Victoria worries if they don’t see me on Monday morning.
But with a toddler or larger packages, I’ve been defaulting to the car. It just seems easier, faster. Of course, it also costs to park, and gas prices just keep going up. Not to mention, we only have one car.
So this past week I’ve made an effort to get back to the bus. For fun I can check out google's estimated cost of trip -- in San Francisco they compare gas and average gas mileage to bus fare. Often, my trips are about $1.50 in the car versus $2.00 on the bus. Of course, this doesn't include the cost of parking or the cost to the environment.
With a stroller, it’s great. If it’s slow coming, we can walk to the next stop. Everyone smiles and laughs at J. Muni actually goes to most of where I want to go-- and if we have to walk, that’s fine. We have the time, and there is so much to see.
We come out ahead taking the bus, no matter how I do the math.