Up until recently, the bus picked me up just past my driveway at about
8:52am and delivered me to the front door at work about 3 or 4 minutes later. And did the same in reverse bringing me home. The total cost of my daily commute was about $2.66. (The bus route has changed starting this month, but just adds a block or two walk to get to my new stop, nothing major.) I bought a carshare membership last year too, so now when my husband's car isn't available to borrow, I can use the carshare car that's kept in my neighborhood as well.
It's really worked out great for me. Prior to being a bus-rider and carshare-er, I had a 14 year old beast of a car that was eating a couple hundred dollars every quarter in repairs, not to mention the cost of gas & insurance and all that crap. I had to spend at least 15 minutes letting it warm up (and usually digging it out from all the snow) before it could handle the 2
Sure, relying on public transportation takes a little bit of forethought. You need to have your moves planned in advance. But that's a good thing. It requires you to think about where and when you're going and do so in the most efficient way possible. I've learned to lump all my errands together when I have the opportunity, as opposed to making multiple trips for one or two things.
Of course, there's the environmental impact. I'm really proud that I've taken one car and all its emissions off the road.
And I enjoy riding the bus. I like to leave the responsibility to someone else, especially if the roads are bad. For a people-watcher and writer who is fascinated by characters, the public bus system is a veritable GOLD MINE. It is also just about the only way I will make it to work on time. Left to my own devices and not the bus schedule, I'm almost always a couple minutes late. But if it's the bus taking me, I have no choice but to be on time. Which I do greatly appreciate. It also forces your attention to stay focused on work. Once delivered to work, I have to stay there until my bus arrives to get me. There's no popping out to pick up treats at Dunkin Donuts or grab a latte at the coffee shop up the road. To do so using the bus would mean a major chunk taken out of my day that I really can't justify. But when I have a car at my disposal (and not the carshare car which I am charged for the mileage) I'm free to be as gadabout and spontaneous
My husband went to Utah for a conference/film festival this week, leaving me with the car. I was late just about every day to work; I ducked out whenever I felt like it to swing by the aforementioned Dunkin Donuts or Dolce Delight. And I nearly crumbled under the responsibility. Did I remember to lock the doors? What if I parked too close and the people in the next car scrape the door? Did I remember to close the garage door? What if the roads are slick from the snow coming down right now? I realized how many worries are taken care of for me or are not applicable when I ride the bus.
And my winter coat does not help matters. I have a heavy, calf-length fleece-lined winter coat that is a
To be truthful, I've never liked driving. I put off getting my license until two months before I turned 21 and I really only wanted it so I could get into bars. I took Driver Ed in high school (is it Driver's Ed? never was sure). We had a larger group for classroom instruction and then broke into two groups for driving time, boys and girls. The four girls in my group were by no means experts. One girl never could figure out where the indicator was for what gear you were in and played that damn thing like a slot machine. It was an utter surprise to her every time- you'd see her grip the handle and know she was thinking, "Come on… drive!"
"No, that's reverse. Try again."
"No, that's park. Try again."
My best friend, Mrs. Schmenkman*, was in my class and one day she slammed on the brakes so hard to avoid hitting a toad in the road, that it threw us all over the car and left our heads bobbling on our necks.
Mrs. Schmenkman knew this story as we climbed into the giant gunboat of a Driver Ed car our school had. During my turn behind the wheel (sitting on a piled up blanket so I could see over the dashboard) the teacher told me to go ahead and pull out onto the road. As we were going along, the teacher told me to relax and just "drive like you'd ride a bike." Mrs. Schmenkman started screaming and looking out for motorcycles.
* not her real name.
** Disclaimer: I did not take any of these pictures. You would be amazed at what you find when you google "weirdos on the bus."