Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Old Lady and the Bus...

...and the light rail and the subway.

Because of a recent health problem, my doctor has insisted that I do no driving for a month, so today I returned to work via public transportation. I live on the east side of Pasadena, and I work in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles, which is about 19 miles each way. While I was driving, that meant surface streets, two freeways, and then surface streets to work, the reverse coming home in the afternoon. With the hours I choose to work, most of the time my commute took about 30 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon. If I had a later afternoon appointment, the drive home usually meant an hour and half or more.

I was pretty sure that the commute by public transportation would take longer, especially in the morning, and I was right. Still, it wasn't all that bad, and with a little tweaking on the first bus I take, I think I can get it down from the hour and fifteen minutes it took this morning. The afternoon really isn't going to change. The bus, light rail, and the subway were all clean, well-lit, and really well air-conditioned. Because of the rules on music players, it was reasonably quiet with only the occasional cell-phone interrupting the peace. I was too nervous about making the correct connections, or I would have read, just as most of the other passengers were doing. I'll take a book with me tomorrow.

The cost? Comparable to driving. My day fare was $3 for all the busses and metro trains and subways I wanted to take. Gasoline is currently at $2.62 per gallon, which means that I would have spent slightly than $3.75 for the 38 mile round trip. My employer pays for my parking at the office, so that doesn't enter into the equation.

The one thing I noticed both when I got to work this morning and when I got home this afternoon was that I wasn't as frazzled feeling. I actually came in the door whistling. I didn't have the start of a headache. On balance, the extra time the public transportation plan cost me was probably worth it.

So, why don't I do this all the time? I need my car for my job. My employer is willing to work with me for the appearances I have to make out of the office (our gopher is really going to be a gopher as he drives me around) for the time being. The reason I need the car is that Southern California hasn't quite figured out how to cover this megalopolis with adequate links yet, although apparently they're beginning to work on it. Still, given the price of gasoline (which I don't believe will ever go down) I think more and more people will be driven to public transportation. I just hope that the local governments in this and surrounding counties can gear up fast enough for it.


Blogger konopelli/WGG said...

that answers all my questions, dahlin...thanks...

4:16 PM  

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