When I travel outside of southern California I often enjoy public transportation. When I visit a new place I want to interact with locals and take in as much of the city as I can. I also don't want the hindrance of constantly having to find a parking spot for my ride.
So why don't I use public transit at home in southern California? Gas prices ascended past $4 a gallon. Automobiles are not the only option for getting around. Public transit in southern California is worth trying.
A friend told me recently of his stigma associated with bus riders. He perceives bus riders to be the "duller knives in the drawer"; the kind of people who wear sweatpants all day ride the bus. I do not see myself as that kind of person and am ready to fight that stigma head on.
Economically the bus (the only public transit option for my daily commute) makes a lot of sense. Driving my car to work costs about $10 per round trip (24 miles one way). A day pass for the bus costs $3.50. Everyday I the bus I save $6.50. The environment is also spared my fuel emissions.
OK so I like the flexibility that having a car brings so I still drive sometimes. I often spend late evening hours with my friends near work. The last bus leaves my work at 9:00pm and sometimes that's when the fun is beginning. So at least on Fridays I do not take the bus!
Timeliness is another downside to bus riding. I can drive to work in 30 minutes, that's at least a 75 minute bus ride. On days when every minute counts the bus is a bad choice.
On the plus side riding the bus gives me free time. I have time to write this essay. I have time to check email/facebook/surf the net on my iPhone. I have time to watch a movie or read a book. I even journal and read the Bible in this open slot of time.
Viewing my neighborhood from the bus provides me with a different perspective on the world around me. Sometimes its good to see our surroundings in a new way. Lastly bus riding gives me the chance to interact with the people I live alongside.
I am glad I explored public transit options in my daily commute. Bus riding saves money, the environment and provides more free time. Though it may require some sacrifices public transit is an option that I hope more southern Californians begin considering.